KINGSTON, R.I. – March 2, 2023 – The Paul Cuffee School in Providence is honoring Earl Smith, a former assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rhode Island, through a memorial scholarship fund.
Smith, who graduated from URI in 1989, held several roles at the University before being named assistant dean in 2007. He died in March 2022 following an illness. A Good Five Cent Cigar article published at the time of his passing described Smith as a “beloved faculty member” and “a community pillar of social justice, student support and the Talent Development program.”
In addition to his role as assistant dean, Smith was a member of the faculty in the Department of Africana Studies and a founding member and director of the Cape Verde Summer Study Abroad Program that took groups of students there to engage in service-learning opportunities.
A proud Talent Development alumnus, Smith began his professional relationship with the University shortly after his graduation when he returned as a Talent Development pre-matriculation counselor. During this time, he also obtained a master’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College. In 1993 he became an academic advisor for the Talent Development program and served for three years before leaving to pursue his doctorate at Howard University. He returned in 2004 as an academic advisor for University College, eventually rising to assistant dean for student affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Smith also played football at URI and helped lead the Rams to the Yankee Conference championship in 1985. He was active with the Black Student Leadership Group and the Alumni of Color Network.
Smith served on the Paul Cuffee School Board of Trustees and held the role of board president. The school is a public charter school that serves a diverse community of students in kindergarten through high school. The school’s curriculum follows a maritime theme that it says “cultivates independence, initiative, and a respect for the environment.”
The Paul Cuffee School is accepting donations to the fund in Smith’s memory—the Earl N. Smith III Memorial Scholarship Fund—which will provide scholarships to graduating seniors from the school. The fund was launched to honor Smith’s legacy and “his example of integrity, humility, and perseverance on the pathway to success.”
To learn more, or to donate, visit https://www.paulcuffee.org/support/earl-n-smith-iii-memorial-scholarship-fund/.