Thursday, May 24, 2007

Professor Stephen Smith

Powerline recently posted this article about Professor Stephen Smith. This is what our country is all about.

Professor Smith goes to Hanover

University of Virginia Law Professor Stephen Smith has been elected by alumni to the Dartmouth board of trustees. Professor Smith is the fourth petition candidate in a row to be elected to the board. The great Bill Buckley took note of Professor Smith's candidacy in his column here, as did the New Criterion in an editorial here, and Instapundit proprietor Glenn Reynolds in his New York Post column here.

Professor Smith told his story in his own words:

The path that took me to Hanover almost a quarter of a century ago was anything but ordinary. I grew up in the inner city of Washington, D.C. My mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, raised my three siblings and me on her own, relying on public assistance. A black kid growing up on welfare in a broken home—my future, any sociologist would have told you, wouldn’t have included an Ivy League degree or a tenured position at a Top Ten law school.

My mother, however, refused to tolerate self-pity. “You’re a welfare recipient,” she would tell me, “but be the best anyway.” Throughout my youth, my mother repeated that lesson, insisting that I remain in school, taking my education seriously. Be the best. Because I worked hard—and listened to my mother instead of accepting the low expectations of my environment—I had many fine options for college. I chose the best. I chose Dartmouth.

When I learned that I couldn’t use my ROTC scholarship at Dartmouth, I was inclined to attend a different institution so that I could graduate free of debt. Then the Admitted Minority Student Overnight Program offered to pay my airfare to Hanover. The trip was my first to Dartmouth—and only the second time I had ever set foot on a college campus. When I got home, I knew. I had to go to Dartmouth. I had fallen in love with the College.

During my four years in Hanover, my love of Dartmouth grew still deeper. Studying History and Philosophy, my majors; playing freshman football and, for a time, basketball; making friends at my freshman dorm, Richardson Hall, and my fraternity, Sigma Nu: These experiences enabled a shy sixteen year old black kid from a poor neighborhood to acquire a trained mind, self-confidence, and friendships that endure to this day.

Since graduating from the College, I have clerked at the United States Supreme Court, practiced law at leading firms in Washington, D.C., and become a full professor of law at the University of Virginia—all as my wife and I raised our five boys. All that I have achieved—all that I am—the College made possible.

Now I would like to repay my debt to Dartmouth.

Now Professor Smith will indeed repay his debt to Dartmouth. He will bring great intellect and strength of character to the Dartmouth board. We salute him and our alma mater.

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