M.A., Journalism, 1973
In over three decades of distinguished service to her students, her colleagues, and her community, Ms. Ging Smith has inspired excellence at every turn. Leading by example, she has made a lasting impact on the economic, educational, and social well-being of her community. Whether illuminating a concept for students in her journalism classes, leading fundraising efforts, or mentoring hundreds of individuals along their own paths to success, Ms. Smith has dedicated her life to giving back.
A native of the Philippines, Ms. Smith earned bachelor’s degrees in English and Education from the University of San Jose Recoletos and a master’s degree in English from the University of San Carlos. She came to NIU in 1972 as a Fulbright Scholar, completing her master’s degree in Journalism in 1973 and earning a certificate from Harvard University’s Management Development program in 1998.
Ms. Smith’s career in higher education has spanned more than 30 years. She spent over two decades as a journalism and technical writing professor at Kishwaukee College, serving as head of the department and then Dean of Development and College Relations for the last eight years of her career. Her role included that of media adviser for the student newspaper, Kaleidoscope, and the student creative writing publication, Kamelian, both of which won industry recognition – including first place awards – under her guidance.
Upon retirement, she joined the Northern Illinois University Foundation as a major gift officer, raising “friends” and funds for the NIU Libraries. Through her efforts, the principal of the Friends of NIU Libraries Endowment Fund tripled in just four years. Her hard work, integrity, generosity and endless optimism certainly contributed to her success and, ultimately, have benefitted the NIU Libraries and their patrons.
Ms. Smith’s husband, Jerry, and son, Eric, are also proud alumni of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For Ms. Smith and her family, living in a community means giving back to and supporting that community whenever possible. Over the years, she has held leadership roles and been involved with many key community groups, including the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb County Housing Authority, DeKalb Women’s Club, Family Service Agency, Hope Haven, Kishwaukee College Foundation, Kishwaukee Symphony, Main Street DeKalb, and the NIU Alumni Association. In 2005, Ms. Smith co-directed the Public Relations activities associated with the new Kishwaukee Hospital Campaign.
She has received many awards and accolades for her service, including the NIU Journalism Alumni Award, the DeKalb Rotary Club’s James Forster Community Service Award, the Salute to Heroes Award, and Kishwaukee College’s Award of Excellence. She received the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, reserved for women who have achieved the highest levels of professional accomplishment, have engaged in meaningful work in their community, and have paved the way for others. Ms. Smith serves on the Advisory Board of DeKalb’s Invironments magazine. She is one of 13 people featured in DeKalb’s “Communiversity” Sesquicentennial Mural, chosen because she so aptly symbolizes the fulfillment of the dreams of many immigrants.
Ms. Smith’s first name, “Agapita,” means “love for humankind.” It is an especially fitting moniker for one who has so generously devoted her time and talents to serving her college and her community.