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For over a year, members of the Kappa Omicron Chapter of the Gamma Sigma Epsilon National Chemical Honor Society and Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society raised funds to purchase a memorial plaque honoring the life and contributions of Associate Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Betsy Smith. Smith was a beloved professor who sadly passed away in August 2021 due to complications during childbirth.
The plaque was recently installed in front of Kolker Hall next to a tree that Smith planted years before.
“Betsy meant a lot to her students, and they were determined to raise the funds themselves through our science honor societies,” said Dr. Corey Stilts, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Mathematics and Natural Sciences Chair. “I am very proud of them for their hard work and the memorial they chose. The plaque will provide the Elmira College community with a constant reminder of her legacy as they enter Kolker Hall.”
Smith joined Elmira College in 2014. Over her career, she played an instrumental role in the development of the Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Environmental Science programs. She was known for her reliability and was invested in making EC an exceptional experience for students.
As a professor, Smith was ever-present on campus. Beyond teaching, she was a club advisor and could often be found teaching her taekwondo students proper kicks. Students knew they could stop by after dinner, find her in her office, and that she would listen to and counsel them no matter their questions.
"Dr. Smith was always a source of encouragement and enthusiasm for her students,” said Ryan Hardy ’23, who grew close to Smith in his first and second years and spoke at her memorial service.
“She pushed us to be our best and her mentorship is something we will carry with us as we pursue our professional and personal goals. We want this plaque to represent her legacy and to show our gratitude for all the lessons and memories we shared with her."