Friday, October 16, 2015

An internationally known scholar and a generous benefactor recently received the University of New Hampshire’s most prestigious awards for their history of continued support and service to the university.

John H. “Jack” Smith ’50 was presented with the UNH Foundation’s Hubbard Family Award for Service to Philanthropy during a campus celebration Sept. 25, 2015. The award recognizes individuals whose philanthropic leadership and gifts have strengthened UNH and/or who have promoted philanthropy throughout the state.

Professor David Finkelhor was awarded the Charles Holmes Pettee Medal, given to honor the kind of devotion to service shown by the medal’s namesake, the late Dean Charles Pettee, who, beginning in 1876,  served the college for 62 years.

Of Smith and Finkelhor, UNH President Mark Huddleston said, “They have been selected for these prestigious awards because they represent the highest qualities of character and passion in their longstanding service and support for this great university.”

The founder and director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center  at UNH, Finkelhor and the center are internationally known for research on child maltreatment, bullying, abduction, dating abuse and sex assault. Among the center's most salient contributions are studies indicating the widespread occurrence of violence and abuse in children’s lives, and the ways such experiences impact development.

Finkelhor is widely cited for his work showing that many forms of childhood victimization have been declining in recent years, in contrast to widespread public perceptions. He has been a member of the UNH community since 1976, working as a research scientist before becoming a professor.

Smith, of Scarborough, Maine, received the College of Engineering and Physical SciencesAlumni Society Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012, and is a past recipient of the university’s prestigious Alumni Meritorious Service Award. He also is a member of the Milne Society, which has contributed more than $1 million to UNH.

In 1999, he established the John H. Smith '50 Scholarship, the first of six scholarships he would go on to fund. Others include: The John H. Smith '50 Endowed College of Engineering & Physical Sciences Student Project Fund, the John H. Smith '50 Endowed Fund for Hockey, the Barbara Bridle Peyser '50 Athletic Scholarship Fund, the John H. Smith ’50 Endowed Northeast Passage Fund and the John H. Smith ’50 Undergraduate Marine Science and Ocean Engineering Scholarship Fund. 

Smith received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UNH in 1950. His engineering career began at Curtis-Wright and Thiokol Chemical Corp. In 1973, Smith founded Portland Valve Incorporated. He retired in 1985.