Prince to Pursue Postgraduate Studies
Jason E. Prince, a Davidson student leader and varsity swimmer from Boise, Idaho, has been awarded the collegeís first W. Thomas Smith Scholarship.
Tom Smith, a 1948 Davidson graduate from Greenville, S.C., created the scholarship with a $1 million planned gift to recognize a graduating senior for outstanding academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and service to the community. Similar to other prestigious postgraduate awards such as the Rhodes Scholarship, the W. Thomas Smith Scholarship provides for two consecutive semesters of study at a major university outside of the United States.
Prince will use the award for a year of study at Cambridge University in England. He has applied to its Masterís of Philosophy program in American Literature.
He is an English major with plans to pursue a career in law "looking toward civic leadership roles." Prince said his career path could settle in anything from politics to the non-profit sector. "Wherever Iím most useful is where I want to be," he said.
He is an outstanding student who was recently named as one of 20 national USA Today "All USA Academic All-Americans"(click here for full story), and was a regional finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. He holds a McGaw Scholarship, John I. Smith Scholarship, National Honor Society Scholarship, Tylenol Youth Leadership Scholarship and Discover Card Gold Tribute Award Scholarship. He has been a resident advisor in a Davidson residence hall, and served as a hall counselor for freshman students.
Prince has been a varsity swimmer all four years of his college career, and was elected by teammates as co-captain of the team for the past two years. He has also served as vice president of the athletesí executive committee of United States Swimming, an organization which represents more than 197,000 competitive swimmers from the novice to Olympic levels, and served as editor of that organizationís journal, "United States Swimming Athletes' Quarterly."
He founded the Davidson Special Needs Mentoring Program, which provides mentally and physically handicapped students at North Mecklenburg High and Mooresville High with the opportunity to socially interact with Davidson students. Prince is fluent in Spanish and has done volunteer work in Charlotteís Hispanic community. He has also written a policy paper for a Davidson political science class about the availability of legal aid to illegal aliens, particularly in Idaho.
The scholarshipís benefactor, Tom Smith, has a long and loyal involvement with his alma mater. A lifetime member of Davidsonís Board of Visitors, Smith played an important role in the planning and fund raising for the Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center. As director of the John I. Smith Charities, which was established by his cousin, the late John I. Smith '24, he has overseen grants of more than $2 million to Davidson in support of such programs as the John I. Smith Scholarship and the Vail Residency. In 1997, Tom Smith received a Davidson Alumni Service Award for his part in making the college better able to open its doors to students with talent and need, and for his loyalty to alma mater over five decades.
Hansford Epes, professor of German and a member of Davidsonís graduate fellowship committee (click here for related Davidson Journal feature) for the past 25 years, sees the W. Thomas Smith Scholarship as a great incentive for Davidson students considering graduate study. "To his credit, Tom Smith took a broad view of the scholarship's purpose when making this gift by stipulating that it be open to students in every discipline," said Epes. "A gift of this importance and this magnitude doesn't just benefit one student, it benefits the entire college."
Davidson College is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,750 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 22 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by "U.S. News and World Report" magazine.