Reed Smith

I was raised in a home where I went to church every Sunday, but in the week between I spent no time reading the Bible and there was no evidence that I was a Christian. Christianity seemed like a series of do’s and don’ts, which I often violated. I was shy, my grades were poor, and I failed at almost everything I tried -- an underachiever. I was unclear what my life was supposed to be about. I attended a trade school after high school, almost joined the Navy, then worked a series of menial jobs for a year. Then I took a public speaking class at an Ohio U regional campus. I did well enough to enroll for additional courses the following fall. While registering for classes, a young lady -- who would later become my wife -- introduced herself. There was something different about Bev, and we became friends before becoming romantic. Although she did not initially tell me, I soon realized she was a Christian and the most giving person I had ever met. I met her family, and it became clear that her parents were special, too. They were neither wealthy nor sophisticated, but they opened their home, and shared their faith and hearts with me. I had never experienced a family that was so loving and honest. Bev’s dad epitomized the saying: “He would give you the shirt off his back.” Such selflessness was alien to me. He talked openly about the joy he felt as a Christian. I began attending church with her family It was a new experience, one that was more intimate and Bible-centered. At about the same time, I landed my dream job as a part-time radio announcer, my grades improved, and, most importantly, and I gave my life to Christ. Those events represented a turning point in my life. After earning my BS, then MA, Ohio U hired me to teach. From being a directionless teenager and mediocre student, to becoming a college professor, was a most unlikely scenario, given my past. During the next few years I became more active in my church, serving in a variety of roles. However, I still was not allowing Jesus to fully control my life. Spending little time in Bible reading and prayer, I was known as a “nice” professor, but I never mentioned my faith to students or colleagues. In my late-thirties, I earned my doctorate and moved to a large, residential university. I tentatively started sharing my faith by writing inspirational quotations on the blackboard before each class. The practice connected me with students, and I met with some of them outside class to discuss life, values and faith. A couple years ago I became the leader of a Faculty Commons group on our secular campus. It is exactly what I had been looking for as a means of linking with like-minded faculty. I now freely let students know I am a Christian. I remain a work in progress, but I enjoy a peace and direction I have never experienced. I am more impressed each day by Jesus’ wisdom. Integrating Christ into my career, I see how God had a plan for my life long before I did, and I praise Him for it!

My Life

Favorite Quote

"Great Minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Friends describe me

Quiet, adventurous, a "doer"

My hobbies

Exercise, travel, acoustic guitar

Fantasy dinner guests

Paul, Joseph, Edward Murrow

Best advice I ever received

Don't listen to those who say, "you can't"

My undergrad alma mater

Ohio University

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

A VW Bug

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be a radio announcer

Favorite books

Holy Bible KJV, The Road to Character, Union with Christ

Favorite movies

Lilies of the Field, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Last of the Mohicans

Favorite city

Saint Simons, GA

Favorite coffee

Hot Chocolate

Nobody knows I

Pray for my students every day

My latest accomplishment

Publishing a biography about radio newscaster Cecil Brown

Current Research

History of the WW II Japanese Internment Newspapers