In Saint Michael's Corner -- a Champion
Time and again through Everest Smith's life, people called his dreams impossible, but the determined former Golden Gloves boxing champion always found a way to answer the bell and make admirers of doubters.
So when a recent life-threatening illness caused Everest '56 to take stock of his past, he knew it was time to act on another of his life's most persistent "impossible dreams." In a noble gesture of gratitude all the more striking for the donor's relatively modest lifestyle, Everest established a planned gift that will ultimately result in a $1 million scholarship fund.
Everest said the Edmundite fathers of Saint Michael's College took up where Sacred Heart teaching brothers in Rhode Island left off as his early inspirational father-figures, steering him narrowly clear of reform school with good religion, academics and coaching. These men placed him on a solid path to conspicuous achievement as an athlete, U.S. Marine officer, championship high school coach, educator and family man.
To make such a substantial gift seemed barely feasible to Everest at first glance until he got down to work with financial advisers and Saint Michael's staff experts to create a novel planned gift arrangement involving life insurance and annual support.
The eventual net effect will be creation of the Everest P. Smith Jr. Memorial Scholarship, which will honor the donor's legacy of perseverance and hard work. The fund will provide financial assistance to deserving students who are sophomores or older with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and who are involved in campus ministry, preferably chapel worship activities. Then preference will be given to students involved in varsity athletics, theater, ROTC or Fire and Rescue. The award will be renewable through the recipients' senior year, with a minimum award of $10,000 per student per year.
Everest said he struggled to make ends meet during college, causing him to miss out on the full experience of campus life, though he was still able to play football for two years while participating in boxing, drama and Catholic groups along the way. He hopes recipients of his scholarship can "take advantage of the opportunity to grow through faith, education and teamwork as well as experience campus life to the fullest."
"My wish is that these scholarship recipients will be inspired to give back when they are in a position to do so," he said.
Terri Selby, director of parent programs for Saint Michael's, said that while she and Everest worked out the particulars of the scholarship, Susan Moses, director of planned giving, played a central role in fine-tuning the technical aspects of funding. "That's what makes this so special. Ev really researched this, enjoyed the process, treated it as a project, and enjoyed meeting with us and discussing different avenues of funding," Selby said. "Ev wants to serve as an example to others who may think they can't make a gift of this size to Saint Michael's when in fact they could. To me this is a gift from the heart. He loves Saint Michael's so much that he wanted to find a way to give a million dollars, and he did, to the benefit of future Saint Michael's students."
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