The act of philanthropy can lead to any number of positive outcomes. But it always begins in the same way — with an act of kindness.
“It’s all about being human,” said Dr. Sandy Smith, professor of emergency management and head of the Arkansas Tech University Department of Emergency Management. “Kindness is what we’re called to do and to extend to each other. It’s about community. We’re all on this boat together…all humans and all creatures. Kindness matters.”
Smith and her husband, Roy Smith, have established the Bea Patterson and Roy Hull Smith Student Travel Fund through the ATU Foundation in memory of Roy’s parents. The endowed fund provides emergency management students at ATU with access to funds for travel to department-related conferences and training.
“Humans live well when they’re bound together in community,” said Roy, who serves as senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock. “Part of how we live well is to be kind, care for others and share that which we have been given to use. It’s a sense of my own understanding of who I am as a human being, how I was created and how I can make a difference in the world. I seek to be known as a person who is making the world a better place, and for me better is kinder.”
Roy’s mother was a teacher, while his father was an accountant for Arkansas Power and Light and later Entergy.
“I think that both of them would be humbled, honored, satisfied and grateful,” said Roy. “They lived grateful lives. Education was really important to both of them. They had been the first in their families to attend college. When we began to think about ways to make a difference in their honor, we began to look at this endowment as a way to do that. It is in keeping with their values of education and helping make it possible for others.”
After a decade of service on the faculty, Sandy knows that gifts made through the ATU Foundation open doors for Arkansas Tech students that would have otherwise remained closed.
“Our students (at ATU) don’t always have the means to travel and get beyond the boundaries of campus,” said Sandy. “The more that any individual has a chance to get outside their walls, it expands them and it pushes them. I’m hopeful this fund means that students are able to take advantage of opportunities that come before them.”
Information about giving in support of Arkansas Tech students is available at www.atualumni.com.