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Wayne T. Smith, a 1968 and 1969 graduate from the Auburn University College of Education and a 31-year veteran of health care administration, returned to his alma mater in February 2003 to become the College's inaugural Keystone Leader-In-Residence.
"Wayne Smith is a wonderful example of someone who knows the value of education and was able to use the degree he earned in education to take him down a different career path," said Interim Dean Frances Kochan. "Because he has established himself as a leader within the field of healthcare, we felt he would offer a wealth of knowledge to our students and his accomplishments would inspire them to set high goals."
Smith, who earned both a bachelor's and a master's from the college, credits his experiences here and the "good general education as well as an understanding of what education is" to the successful career he has had in healthcare.
During all his years of hard work in the healthcare industry, Smith's commitment to the College of Education and Auburn University has remained true. Seeing the need to bring recognition to the College's outstanding professors and to provide scholarship support to education students, he made possible a leadership gift in 1996 of more than $1 million to establish the Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professorship Endowment, the Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professorship Endowment and the Humana Endowment for Scholarships. He is also a former member of the College's National Advisory Council and was awarded the College's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996.
As the Keystone Leader-In-Residence, Smith met with the College's Administrative Council to discuss his thoughts on education, leadership and similarities between education and healthcare.
"In terms of demonstrated quality, it is absolutely required in both education and healthcare. Education is life and death. Healthcare is life and death. For teachers, what they can do in the classroom determines life and death for those they are teaching," he said. "Preparing for a task in business is similar to the way teachers prepare lesson plans. For both, I think the overwhelming problem is defining the main objective—the most pressing need—and learning to do more with less."
Smith also gave a presentation open to faculty, students, staff and others interested in hearing about his experience as a leader in his field.
While Smith said he didn't necessarily have any pearls of wisdom, he did offer some good advice.
"Academia is not an exact science, and the only challenge I will leave you with is to think in terms of what you are trying to accomplish and articulate that in a clear, concise way," he said. "Someday some of you may be writing the policies that change education, so my advice to you is to not make life so complicated, but do things that simplify the process."
Smith's Career Highlights
Last Updated: Jun 16, 2011