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Delta State honors long-time supporter, Robert E. Smith

(L. to R.) Eddie Willis and Dr. Libby Carlson with Robert E. Smith (center) and the two of the nine recipients of the Robert E. Smith Nursing Scholarships, Holly Brassel, of Sumner, and Megan Tubertini, of Greenville.

Robert E. Smith of Cleveland, a long-time supporter of Delta State University, was recently honored for a $55,000 contribution to the University. Smith generously contributed $30,000 towards the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing Scholarships and $25,000 to the Wesley Foundation.

“Mr. Smith has supported the Wesley at Delta State in many ways that have allowed the ministry to reach greater potential and new heights,” Eddie Willis, Director of the Wesley Foundation, offered. “It has been his wish that college students be given the opportunity to grow closer to Christ while at Delta State.”

Smith’s most recent gift assisted in the purchase and removal of the Jacob House that sat on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Court Street adjacent to the Wesley Foundation Student Center. Willis adds, “Mr. Smith did this to help us expand our boundaries and have a presence directly across the street from the campus.

This is not the first gift Smith has given to the Wesley Foundation. “Mr. Smith has been a faithful supporter of the Wesley Foundation for many years, helping United Methodist students with scholarships, setting up an endowment for the organization and serving as a lifetime member of the Wesley Foundation Board of Directors.” Willis continued.

Reed Abraham, Director of Development for the Delta State Foundation Inc., reported, “In addition to his very generous gift to the Wesley Foundation, Mr. Smith has endowed six scholarships benefiting the University’s School of Nursing. Additionally, he has named the University and the Wesley Student Foundation as a beneficiary to a Charitable Remainder Trust.

Dr. Libby Carlson, Dean of the School of Nursing, explained, “Nine students have benefited from Mr. Smith’s generosity. The majority of our students need financial assistance, and his generosity helps them to become nurses, whereas they may not have been able to.

Enrollment in the Delta State University School of Nursing has grown in three years from 60 students to 200 students. “Mr. Smith’s scholarships and his thoughtfulness in naming the School as a beneficiary to his estate will help us address the critical nursing shortage in the Mississippi Delta,” Carlson contended.

In making the gifts, Smith offered, “I hope the Wesley Student Foundation’s endowment and the School of Nursing Scholarships give encouragement and opportunities to worthy young people in preparing themselves for a better life and opportunities to better serve their community and country.”

“I commend Robert for making such a generous gift to support two causes that are dear to his heart. He is truly a kind and giving person,” Dr. John M. Hilpert, Delta State President, lauded.  

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