Richard W. Smith
Named CSUN's 1991–92 Professor of the Year, two-time Distinguished Faculty Award winner Richard Smith was responsible for the care and development of many students' minds during his 41-year career at CSUN. Even now, his aim remains to open up those minds, to make his scholars think like cultural psychologists, "from the perspectives of other peoples, other cultures."
In establishing the Richard W. Smith Endowment for Cultural Studies through his estate plan, Professor Smith will continue to look after his students. The endowment will support activities within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences promoting the study of non-Western culture, including the Richard W. Smith Professor in Cultural Studies, the Richard W. Smith Lecture in Cultural Studies, and the Richard W. Smith Student Award in Cultural Studies.
In 2006 Professor Smith explained his motivation for creating this gift in in this way: "I thought a professor could continue the things I tried to do, inspiring people to think for themselves, to be more logical." Professor Smith focused his teaching and research on social influences, the pressure to conform and deviation from the norm. The bequest of his Northridge property, he said, will enable scholarship delving into "cultures very different from ours."
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dean Stella Theodoulou has called Professor Smith an excellent teacher, "caring and dedicated to what we do here at CSUN, in the classroom, and the community at large. "His bequest is a further example of his commitment and dedication to our students and our institution," she said, "and is an investment in our future."
Twice nominated by his students for "Who's Who Among American Teachers" and twice the recipient of the CSUN Student Ambassadors' Polished Apple Award, Smith is credited with a "profound and lasting impact" on the lives of those he taught. His plan will extend this legacy for many future generations.