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Ernest and Bernice Smith Award in Engineering
Current 2nd Year
|Occasion:||Deans' Academic Honours and Awards Night|
|Process:||Recommendation by the Department of Engineering|
|Description:||Awarded to a first-year Engineering student who ranks highest academically overall after a full year of common courses and is continuing in the Engineering program.|
|Background:||Motivated by a strong commitment to education, Ernest and Bernice Smith supported their own three sons and nine grandchildren through post-secondary schooling. Ernest and Bernice Smith planned a gift to UPEI to assist other young people to pursue university studies. Ernest Smith grew up on a farm in Pownal, PEI, graduating in engineering from the University of New Brunswick in 1934. He was a professional forester and served as the first superintendent of the PEI National Park from late 1930s to 1947. Until he retired in 1973, he was woodland manager for a pulp and paper company in Nepean Ontario. Bernice Smith was a graduate nurse and full-time homemaker. After retirement, they moved to Tea Hill, PEI, where they lived until well into their 90s. The following story, told by their son, Rick Smith, illustrates the high value they placed on post-secondary education when they were students themselves: "In the thirties times were very tough. The lack of financial resources meant that my Dad could not afford to live in a conventional student environment. He and a classmate built a tar-paper shack in the woods on the campus. They scrounged enough firewood to provide themselves with heat through the winter. An electrical line tied into the university grid allowed them to heat a hot plate and provide a little lighting," he explains. "My mother provided my father with what she could spare from money she made in private duty nursing. Work was scarce and she had to balance what she could get with caring for her ailing parents. Despite the adversity of these times, my father finished as the top student in his graduating class."|