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Harold C. Smith Program in Christian Studies

Harold C. Smith Foundation Award provides significant opportunity for students to engage in vocational and faith discernment through experiential learning.

Building on the work first initiated under the pilot program launched in 2017, the Harold C. Smith Foundation has approved a new $862,000 implementation grant to support the religious, spiritual, and vocation discernment of students through experiential learning.

The late Rev. Dr. Harold C. Smith ’55, who passed away in March 2017, was a longtime member of the Ursinus Board of Trustees and a champion of Ursinus College.

“At Ursinus, we strive to provide opportunities for our students to explore their faith while encouraging them to make positive change in their local and global communities. The generous support from the Harold C. Smith Foundation allows students to come to a greater understanding of their deepest values, and by providing research and internship opportunities, helps them to discover and unlock future vocational paths,” says Christian Rice ’98, the assistant dean for civic engagement and a member of the faculty in philosophy and religious studies.

Opportunities for students to reflect on values and vocations include:

  • Vocational discernment dinners that will allow students to engage Ursinus Faculty and Staff in the question “What is my calling/vocation, and how do I know?” through discussions
  • Alternative Spring Break Program partnering with Habitat for Humanity
  • Internship Program with local non-profits for students to actively consider one of the core questions: “What will I do” among a peer intern cohort and mentor
  • Religion, Justice, and Peace Summer Research Scholars, a program in which students will be encouraged to design summer research projects that intersect faith and social justice and simultaneously intern with a community partner

Additionally, the Rev. Charles W. Rice Postgraduate Research Fellowship will allow two graduating Ursinus students or recent alumni to design postgraduate experiences abroad. It is named for the late Rev. Rice, the longtime Ursinus College chaplain who served the pastoral needs of the college community, oversaw the chaplaincy program and advised and counseled students. Rev. Rice passed away in April 2017.

The funding will also allow for more opportunities abroad, curricular enhancements, UCARE, faculty development, a visiting professor of Christian studies and a lecture series. and spiritual wellness programming, including a speaker series facilitated by the Ursinus Wellness Center.

At Ursinus, Rev. Smith established the Rev. Dr. Harold C. Smith Endowed Chair in Christian Studies, which supports a faculty member and fosters scholarship and teaching. The Harold C. Smith Scholarship Fund assists United Church of Christ students interested in attending Ursinus College. Smith also supported an annual fund scholarship to help students interested in religious studies.