Remembering Mark Smith

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Mark Smith, former Midcoast Senior College President and long-time supporter of the college, died on Friday, October 18.  Mark was actively involved in MSC for over ten years, and he will be greatly missed by the MSC community.  A service will be held this Saturday, October 26, at 1 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Brunswick.

Mark attended Williams College and received graduate degrees from Harvard and Columbia.  He had a long career as a public school teacher, administrator and school superintendent. 

He and his wife, Judy, relocated to Maine in 2003, living for a number of years in Day’s Ferry in Woolwich, moving to Brunswick about five years ago.  Mark became involved in MSC in the early 2000s joining the board in 2006 and later serving as board president. Mark received the Wheeler-Thompson Award in 2017 for his significant contributions to the college.

When Mark became president of MSC’s board, the organization was at a crossroads.  In order to meet the expectations of its membership fully, it needed to sever ties with the University of Maine system.  Mark led the effort to transform MSC into an independent charitable, 501(c)(3) educational organization. 

Mark was uniquely suited to move the organization forward given his blend of interpersonal skills, commitment to the liberal arts, and career-long experience in educational administration.  Drawing on individuals reaching back to MSC’s founding, along with support from those he carefully recruited for the board, he skillfully oversaw working groups tasked with programmatic development, securing non-profit status, and the identification of new facilities to meet instructional and administrative needs.  Mark’s efforts to create a dynamic, fully-autonomous organization were remarkably successful.

Mark’s youthful involvement in sports gave him an understanding of the necessity for, and high value of, teamwork among volunteers and board members.  When confronting a problem before the board, he would often form ad hoc committees of three and four members to address the issue.

The academic thrust of MSC was Mark’s main focus, and he gave the Curriculum Committee a great deal of encouragement to recruit our fine faculty.  As a former teacher and administrator, Mark understood how essential skilled faculty were to the learning experience.

He also believed volunteers must have occasional social time together.  During his tenure, he knew board members and other volunteers felt a kinship born of believing in a shared purpose and feeling comfortable with each other. 

As former board member David McKeith said:  “Priscilla and I were both on the board while Mark was president, and we feel without question his unique style of leadership set a high tone for untold voluntary efforts to provide quality life-long learning.  His was a welcome environment in which to work.”

An obituary may be found here: