Major (retired) Fannie Elise Smith appreciated the value of a high quality education, parlaying her 1935 Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education degree into a career in the U.S. Army, where she served as an Army nurse until her retirement in 1968. Prior to her August 2008 death, she expressed her wish to establish a scholarship at Cameron University that would support local students. Last week, CU President Cindy Ross accepted a $15,000 donation from George Moses, Chip Kimball and Cherry Phillips of the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation to establish the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation Scholarship to assist deserving full-time students enrolled at Cameron University.
CU President Cindy Ross (third from left) celebrates the establishment of the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation Scholarship with (l to r) Albert Johnson, Jr., CU Vice President for University Advancement; Dr. Wayne Johnson, Vice President Elect, Cameron University Foundation Board of Directors; and Chip Kimball, Cherry Phillips and George Moses, all of the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation.
"We are truly indebted to the late Major Smith, who understood so well the importance of a quality education," said Ross. "Her education opened countless doors for her, enabling her to visit 68 countries - including Antarctica at the age of 88 - during her lifetime. This endowed scholarship in her name will provide support to generations of Cameron students."
"Although Elise did not attend Cameron, she had a great deal of respect for the school," said Chip Kimball, longtime friend of Major Smith and board member of the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation. "Her longstanding ties to the Lawton/Fort Sill community included her admiration for Cameron, and the Foundation is pleased to carry out her wish to establish a scholarship for Cameron students."
"Because we want Cameron students to benefit from this scholarship immediately, the Foundation is happy to provide an initial endowment of $10,000 as well as $5,000 to be used to award scholarships for this academic year," said Cherry Phillips, also a board member for the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation and close friend of the late Major Smith. "That way, the endowment will have time to build, yet scholarships can be awarded this fall."
Major Smith served in World War II and in Vietnam in addition to several overseas deployments. Her awards include the Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), the Army Commendation Medal, four Overseas Service Bars, two Bronze Star Medals, World War II Victory Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal with first Oak Leaf Cluster. Following her retirement from the Army, she volunteered at the Fort Sill Museum and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. A member of the Friends of the Wichitas, she was honored with the Oklahoma Volunteer of The Year Award for contributing more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service. She also gave presentations on photography, travel, and wildflowers to various groups in the area.
The Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation Scholarship will be awarded annually to qualifying CU sophomores who have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or better. Once awarded, a recipient may retain the scholarship until degree completion if he/she remains a full-time student, meets the 2.75 GPA criterion for retention, and remains committed to a goal of degree completion or a maximum of eight semesters.
Commencing with the sophomore class of 2010, this scholarship will follow recipients through to graduation. The only CU scholarship awarded to sophomores that continues through commencement, the Fannie Elise Smith Charitable Foundation Scholarship is yet another element that assists the university in maintaining its position as the University of Choice for southwest Oklahoma.
August 18, 2009