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Maxine Smith named Foundation’s Laker of the Year


As a retired high school teacher Maxine Smith certainly sees value in education and is a strong supporter of Southwestern Oregon Community College.

In recognition of her support, the Southwestern Foundation has named Smith the 2008 Laker of the Year. This Oregonian graduated from the University of Oregon with a baccalaureate degree in Foreign Languages in 1934 and became a teacher, working in Enterprise, Springfield, Oregon City and Medford over the course of her career. The Gladstone native said one of her proudest career achievements was serving as president of the Oregon Education Association.

“Back when I was starting out and going to college there weren’t a lot of things a woman could do except be a teacher or a nurse,” Smith said, expressing excitement for the advances women have made in the workplace over the years.

Smith is doing her part to help women achieve their career goals. Last fall, she generously donated to the Southwestern Foundation to endow the Maxine Smith Scholarship. The American Association of University Women, of which Smith is a member, also contributed to her endowment. The scholarship is for female Brookings-area students who are 21 or older. Smith – who taught Latin, German and French in Medford before moving to Brookings in 1978 – was inspired by a former teacher’s aide who worked with her in Medford. The young woman ultimately returned to school to become a teacher herself.

“Throughout the past year, the Foundation has been supported by many remarkable people; at this time, the Southwestern Foundation is so pleased to honor Maxine Smith for her contributions to Southwestern Oregon Community College and her passion for education and helping women succeed in reaching their education and career goals,” Interim Foundation Director Marie Simonds said.

I think it is a wonderful honor...”

Each year, the Southwestern Foundation selects an outstanding supporter for the Laker of the Year honor, awarded at the Foundation Annual Dinner. Maggie Dean was the first Laker of the Year recipient, in 2006, and Dorothy Heagy was honored in 2007.

“I think it is a wonderful honor,” Smith said, “a surprising honor.”

Published Apr 29, 2009

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