The Mark D. Smith - Magistra Vitae (“Life Teacher”) Student Scholarship Fund
We all have one of those teachers who changed us, who taught us things that were beyond the books and impacted who we are. For Rensselaer, that was Mark Smith, who served as Dean of Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for 30 years.
To ensure Mark's legacy continues to inspire students, we need your support for this annual scholarship fund.
“I have stayed at Rensselaer…because of the opportunities to learn, to teach, and to change the lives of those who become so important to our future—young men and women who cross Rensselaer’s threshold.” - Mark Smith, 2002
This annual scholarship fund has been established in memory of Mark Smith, former Dean of Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in recognition of his long-standing service to students- promoting and supporting both academic excellence and personal development through his expertise, wisdom, and empathy. Mark left an indelible impression on students throughout his three decades at Rensselaer. The fund will support undergraduate scholarships at Rensselaer, to continue to fill the pipeline with students exhibiting strong character, dedication and a desire to serve and better the world around him/her -- characteristics all too familiar to Mark.
Throughout his time at Rensselaer, Mark was at the forefront of curriculum development for pre-college and pipeline initiatives to attract talented high school students to the school. As Dean of Students, he oversaw student judicial affairs, and international and disability student services. He dedicated his efforts to promoting and supporting academic excellence, personal development, and continuous improvement programs for our students, while creating a compassionate campus environment. As a result, many of our alumni have positive memories of their experience at Rensselaer.
Impact of Your Gift
Your contribution will support worthy junior or senior Rensselaer students from underrepresented minority groups and in need of financial assistance. The scholarship will be awarded on a one-time basis, depending on the need of the student(s) and the institute’s spending guidelines. As many scholarships as can be accommodated by the fund will be awarded.
Why Support Us?
To many students, Mark was their connection to Rensselaer and to success.
With a mission to ensure every Rensselaer student graduated, Smith made it his top priority to create an environment that eliminated as many obstacles as possible for students to complete their degrees. And he hoped that, along with their diplomas, they’d take with them positive memories of Rensselaer.
Wearing many hats in his role(s), Mark served as counselor, problem solver, miracle worker, financial-aid officer, grant writer, and friend—to name only a few. This fund looks to carry his mission forward by supporting future waves of Rensselaer students with financial need. By removing obstacles to the education and vibrant future of students who do Mark’s legacy justice, his life’s work lives on.
About Mark Smith
Mark served as a student life professional in the Division of Student Life for 30 years at Rensselaer. He cared very deeply for students, and placed them at the forefront of all he did. His many contributions have had and will continue to have a lasting impact. Mark joined Rensselaer in 1986 as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Academic Support Programs. In 1995, he was appointed as Director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) after a nationwide search, and in March 2000, he was appointed as Dean of Students. He retired from Rensselaer in February of 2016 and passed away on May 1, 2016. Mark received a bachelor's degree at Northwestern University. He earned a master’s degree and certification as a biology and chemistry teacher at the State University of New York at Albany. As Dean of Students, he oversaw Office of Minority Student Affairs, International Services for Students and Scholars, Greek Life, Judicial Affairs, and Disabled Student Services.
This scholarship, founded by an alumnus, Hector Enriquez, with a platinum gift in April of 2017 in honor of Mark D. Smith, offers a means through which Mark’s mission can live on.
Please note for those whose employer offers corporate match program, the match would follow your gift to this fund.
Recognition of your donation will be applied to The Patroon Society of Rensselaer where eligible.