With the global demand for scientists and engineers rising, it is more
important than ever to interest the nation’s youth in careers in math, science,
engineering and technology.
Missouri University of Science and Technology now will be able to give
elementary and secondary students a chance to explore these fields, thanks to a
$100,000 endowment from Missouri S&T graduate Ellis J. Smith, who earned a
ceramic engineering degree in 1955. Smith’s gift will provide need-based
scholarships for Missouri S&T’s pre-college summer programs.
“I think that these programs are a very good idea,” Smith says. “It allows
kids to see whether or not they would be interested in a career in science or
Since graduating from Missouri S&T, Smith has supported the university
in a variety of ways, including making regular donations to the university’s
Solar Car Team and creating the Ellis J. and Carolyn Smith endowment to support
Missouri S&T’s ceramic engineering department. He also is a member of the
Order of the Golden Shillelagh.
“Missouri S&T is my only alma mater,” Smith says. “I got a lot from the
university, and I believe I should give something back.”
This summer, Smith’s endowment will yield about $3,000, which will be
divided among about a dozen students in need of financial aid. These students
might just turn out to be the next generation of scientists and engineers.
“Summer enrichment is probably the number-one way to spark a kid’s
interest,” says Will Perkins, director of Missouri S&T’s Center for
Pre-College Programs. “Sometimes, that is the beginning of that kid’s love for
math, science, engineering and technology."