The Nancy Arthur Smith Distinguished Visitors-in-Residence Series, a new program that will bring noted artists and scholars to campus, has been established at Coastal Carolina University to honor the legacy of Smith, a long-time supporter and advocate of the university.
The program, funded through a gift bequeathed to Coastal by area education and community activists Nancy A. Smith (1918-2002) and her late husband, Dr. R. Cathcart Smith (1914-2001), will support campus residencies for artists and intellectuals who have distinguished careers in the arts, history, archaeology, international affairs or philosophy.
According to preliminary plans, a visitor-in-residence will be chosen every other year to join the university community for a period of months, ideally a semester. In alternate years, he or she will be on campus for a period of three days to one week. During their residencies, the visitors will conduct seminars for students and faculty as well as interact with the local and regional community as appropriate to their area of expertise. A public lecture will also highlight their visit.
To recognize her gift, Coastal officials decided to create a new program that would reflect Smith's high intellectual standards and her interest in the community. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, Smith moved to Conway in 1947 with her husband. Their lives were characterized by a deep sense of civic duty, and they were both keenly interested in higher education.
"We thought really hard about the best way to memorialize Nancy Smith's contributions to Coastal and to our community," said Coastal President Ronald R. Ingle. "This program will bring some of the brightest lights in the arts and humanities to Coastal-not just for one speech but for weeks and months of meaningful student and community interaction."
Candidate selection for the program will be determined by Coastal's Provost according to recommendations and advice from Coastal's Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The first program is planned to begin in the spring of 2005.
Rebecca Lovelace of Conway, one of Smith's four children, said her mother had wide interests, from literature to archaeology, and that she enjoyed people who stimulated her mind. Lovelace feels that "variety will be important to the success of the series. Students need to be challenged to think in new ways."