Springfield College Dedicates the Harold C. Smith Room
May 23, 2012
Springfield College dedicated the Harold C. Smith Room during a ceremony on May 18, at 4 p.m. at the Stitzer YMCA Center in Judd Gymnasia. The Harold C. Smith Room, formerly known as the YMCA Multipurpose Room, is named after the College’s longtime trustee and YMCA visionary. Many prominent leaders from both the YMCA and the College attended the event.
"Harold Smith's energy, vision, intelligence, and integrity have greatly benefited the two organizations with which he has been most closely connected - Springfield College and the YMCA,” said Richard B. Flynn, president of Springfield College. “This room will serve as a permanent symbol of his legacy and all he represented. It is one of the best ways we know to express our deep gratitude and abiding love for this man."
The Harold C. Smith Room has a special history that dates back to late 19th century – James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, played his sport here, and William Morgan demonstrated his new game of volleyball here. The room has a special current significance as an integral part of the collaborative programming between Springfield College and the YMCA.
After President Flynn and Smith unveiled the plaque that will be placed in the room, Smith spoke about his commitment to Springfield College. “I am deeply honored and appreciative of having my name as part of the Stitzer YMCA Center,” said Smith. “Springfield College’s mission of spirit, mind and body attracted me to serve as a trustee nearly 30 years ago. Since then, I have valued my affiliation with this institution and gained a deep appreciation to its devotion to service and leadership.”
Smith has been a valued member of the Springfield College Board of Trustees for nearly three decades, including exemplary service as chair of the board’s investment committee and as a member of the executive committee. He was awarded an honorary degree in humanics in 1998.
The current chair of the Springfield College Board of Trustees, Doug Coupe, said of Smith: “I know I speak for the others on our board of trustees when I tell you what a truly profound influence that Harold has had on our deliberations as a board. This includes his oversight of our investment committee, as its chair for many years. Those of us who have served with him on that committee have seen his remarkable investment expertise in action, and of course his deep wisdom and strong commitment to the values of the College.”
Smith began his career with the YMCA Retirement Fund in 1958, and rose through the ranks to become president & CEO and chief investment officer in 1983. During his 17 years in that leadership position, the fund experienced unprecedented growth in membership and assets under his management. In 2001, he was enshrined in the YMCA Hall of Fame, which is located at Springfield College.
Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of the YMCA of the USA, called Smith a trusted advisor. "The discipline and the intellectual rigor he brought to each conversation helped move the YMCA organization to what it is today and we are eternally grateful. Harold is quite simply an icon."
An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, he has served the national UCC organization in several capacities, and was voluntary senior pastor at Unity Hill United Church of Christ in Trumbull, Conn., from 1958-2000. He holds a bachelor or arts degree from Ursinus College, a divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, and an MBA from New York University.
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