In October, 2010, a woman from Maryland's Eastern Shore--visiting a friend in New London--dropped by Proctor's Development Office on a personal quest. Joan Katz knew that her mother had lived in Andover in the 1970s, and that her stepfather had served Proctor for a while as a trustee. They had lived in what we now know as the Head's Residence. Did anyone at Proctor--all these years later--know anything of her remarkable mother, Betty Smith?
In the Development Office, Joan was greeted by Bonny Morris. She asked Bonny if she recognized her mother's name. Imagine her surprise when Bonny informed her that we have a scholarship fund named for Elizabeth W. Smith!
She had never known that her stepfather had established the fund in June, 1976, two months after her mother succumbed to cancer! She had never known that--over all these years--a Proctor student had been honored as the Elizabeth W. Smith scholar!
This encounter was also meaningful to us in the Development Office, because--since Betty's husband, Gail Smith died--we have had no one with whom to steward a relationship regarding the fund and the student recipient of the scholarship. Today, Joan and her brother are generous supporters of a scholarship fund that has doubled in size since their discovery of its existence!
Joan Katz has written a wonderful tribute to her remarkable mother. Born in Buffalo in 1921, Betty Smith eventually established the first bookstore in New London and went on to be assistant to the Dean of the English Department at New England College. Long-time Proctor teacher Dale Milne recalls Betty as an inspirational mother and friend, and says of the scholarship, "...I thought it a perfect memorial for a woman who mentored teenagers so quietly and so well in her life. She lives on through the lives of students who benefit from Proctor."
The Elizabeth W. Smith Scholarship is one of thirty-four endowed funds benefiting specific financial aid recipients. Over the past fiscal year, sixty people made gifts totaling $200,000 to these scholarships. Like Joan Katz and her brother, they take comfort in the knowledge that an actual human being is able to attend Proctor through their generosity and the existence of a fund memorializing a loved one.
Elizabeth W. and Gail Smith's resting place in Proctor Cemetery.
Allie, pictured working with Connor, is the current Elizabeth W. Smith Scholar.