Nobel Laureate Setting Highest Educator Standards

Credit: Pontus Lundahl AP

This is a heartwarming story which gives great pleasure in communicating to others. You more than likely have never heard of the educator Dr. George Smith. To be honest it is only recently I have become aware of his extraordinary achievements. Dr. George Smith is a college professor at the University of Missouri, he has dedicated most of his life to educating young minds and he gets great pleasure in doing so. He achieved a doctorate in bacteriology at Harvard University in 1971, and he also studied under the late Nobel Prize winner Oliver Smithies, before joining the Missouri University faculty in 1975.

Not only is an inspiration to any budding educator, but he is also a pioneer within the field of biochemistry and more specifically bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) and phage display. Phage display was first demonstrated by Smith in 1985, this is a process he developed to allow scientists to easily harvest certain molecules they want, it is for this contribution to science that he has been bestowed the highest accolade possible, the Nobel Prize.

This Nobel Prize in Chemistry was received by George Smith along with 2 others, resulting in an award of $243’000 for Dr. Smith. To most, a windfall of this sizeable nature would be life-changing, it would open up new doors and possibilities to them. However this is not what this humble and generous educator had in mind, oh no, rather than think how this money could change his own life, he thought immediately about how this large sum of money could be used as a springboard for those younger and less fortunate than himself.

Now to everyone else with a heart as big as George Smiths, donating the money to charity would be enough. But not for this Nobel Laureate, instead he has decided to start the Missouri Nobel Scholarship Fund, which is for students within the College of Arts and Sciences. Another fantastic aspect of this story is that the University of Missouri system has added an additional $300’000 to the fund to bring it to over half a million dollars, and for every further Nobel Prize award for their academics they will add $100’000 to the fund. Lastly to this wonderful story, is that the donation from Dr. Smith came on their annual “Mizzou giving the day”, which is designed to garner support for the university, and the University has stated that they have matched any donation over the course of those 2 days.

The final result has seen the set-up of a scholarship fund designed to assist undergraduate students, however, it is also seen as a celebration to the legacy Dr. George P. Smith has now created, and the memory of his generosity will continue to be a positive influence for generations to come.

I don’t know about you, but this has certainly inspired me to do more for my fellow man.