The Southeast Missouri University Foundation today announced receipt of a major gift from Dr. Shelton “Butch” and Glenda Smith of St. Louis, Missouri, in support of Southeast Missouri State University’s College of Education and Southeast’s student teacher candidates.
To honor the long-time service and philanthropy of the Smiths, the University has named the EDvolution Center’s technology-learning laboratory in Scully Building the “Dr. Shelton and Glenda Smith Family Makerspace.”
Dr. Smith, director of Missouri Baptist University’s Educational Leadership Programs, and his wife Glenda, a retired counselor, special education director, and executive director of Student Services at Hillsboro R-3 Schools, are Southeast alumni and active supporters of the University. Dr. Smith previously served as associate dean of students at Southeast and is currently president-elect of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. He is past president of the Southeast Alumni Association and served for more than 20 years as an adjunct professor at Southeast.
The Makerspace area in the EDvolution Center is devoted to lesson creativity by providing education students with additional tools emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Among the many resources are a SMARTBoard, Apple TV with 55-inch monitor, 20 Google Cardboard Virtual Reality goggles, a Makeit Pro-L High Resolution 3D printer, a 3D40 Dremel 3D printer, six Osmo kits, four LEGO Mindstorm kits, two LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits, 18 Ozobots, Mobile Padcaster Green Screen capturing kit, and six Swivl bases for iPad capturing.
This state-of-the-art space provides the tools and resources necessary to equip our teacher candidates to be effective educational leaders in their classrooms, said Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of Southeast’s College of Education.
“It is the learning laboratory for our students where they can learn how to design lessons using a variety of technology tools,” she said. “Technologies like 3D printing, Lego robotics and Virtual Reality are pillar pieces of the Makerspace geared towards inspiring our teacher candidates to create informative, exciting and memorable lessons for the 21st century classroom.”
Smith said he was inspired by the University’s leadership and the EDvolution Center’s mission.
“While it is easy to address today’s issues, it is visionary to address the needs of tomorrow’s future teachers, counselors and administrators,” he said. “The is no better way for the University to prepare future teachers for life than by helping undergraduate and graduate students learn to make choices that improve the quality of their profession.”
Their gift will help future teachers develop the capacity to design meaningful and creative curriculum activities they will use when they became teachers, Smith added.
“With the hands-on activities that students will experience in the Makerspace, they will be able to develop tools for smarter thinking that they can then share with their own students when they get jobs in education,” he said.
The new space is meant to inspire them to serve responsibly the needs of others, a cherished Smith family motto, Smith said.
The Smith family’s generosity has not only provided education opportunities for Southeast students, but also has allowed the University to open its doors to local area school district partners, said Rogers-Adkinson.
“We are already beginning to have local schools bring their students to Southeast to use this space,” she said. “We hope in the future to also provide training for our local area teachers during the summer months. We can’t thank the Smith Family enough for opening up the doors for our students and school district partners with this space.”
The Smiths have supported a number of other endeavors at Southeast, and are members of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation’s President’s Council. They also established in 2014 the Shelton and Glenda Smith Trust Education Scholarship.
“Butch and Glenda have been longstanding friends of the University,” said Bill Holland, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “Their generous gift exemplifies their dedication to the preparation of teachers now and tomorrow.”
Dr. Smith’s ties to Southeast have become a family tradition. He graduated from Southeast with
his Bachelor of Science in Education, secondary English education, in 1967, Master of Arts in education, secondary administration, in 1973 and specialist degree in educational administration in 1978 at Southeast. Glenda earned her Master of Science in elementary counseling in 1973. Their daughters, Heather Smith Hamby and Erika Smith Sevic, and two sons-in-law, Drew and Craig, are all Southeast alumni.
“Our contributions to Southeast are our way of saying thanks for the education our family has received and for our future Redhawks, our grandchildren Alyssa, Connor, Karoline and Wyatt, will one day benefit from,” Smith said.
Top Photo Caption: The Smith family celebrates the opening of the EDvolution Center’s “Dr. Shelton and Glenda Smith Family Makerspace” with Dr. Karl Kunkel, Southeast provost, and Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of Southeast’s College of Education.