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Residence Hall on the Cal U campus. Residence Hall on the Cal U campus.


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Posted on April 16, 2013

California University of Pennsylvania will hold a ceremonial dedication and naming of the G. Ralph Smith II Honors Hall at 11 a.m. May 3 in the entry courtyard of the building known until now as Residence Hall A.

The building’s new name honors Professor G. Ralph Smith II, who was a member of Cal U’s English Department for 30 years.

Upon his death on May 28, 2010, Smith donated his estate to the University to endow the G. Ralph Smith II General Scholarship.

His gift of $1.95 million is believed to be the largest in the University’s modern history.

Smith’s bequest will provide assistance to students who qualify for the scholarship based on merit and financial need, regardless of their major area of study. The University expects to make the first scholarship awards in the 2013-2014 academic year.

In her invitation to the campus community, Interim University President Geraldine M. Jones noted that “the G. Ralph Smith II Honors Hall is home to the University Honors Program, a dynamic living and learning environment that Professor Smith would have appreciated and encouraged.”

About Professor Smith

G. Ralph Smith II (1940-2010) served as an assistant professor of English at California University of Pennsylvania for 30 years, from 1964 to 1994. He was a 1958 graduate of Germantown Friends School in Germantown, Pa., and earned his bachelor’s degree three years later from Franklin and Marshall College. He completed coursework for his master’s degree and Ph.D. in English at Villanova University and Temple University.

Professor Smith lived in the Borough of California during his career at the University and afterward, a span of nearly 40 years. An active member of the English Department and the University community, he was personally committed to enhancing the English Department’s library, and for many years he helped to pay the tuition of incoming freshman students.

Through his estate plan, Professor Smith used virtually his entire life’s savings to create and endow the G. Ralph Smith II General Scholarship. The scholarship provides financial support to students from any major who demonstrate both financial need and academic merit.

At the time of his passing, Professor Smith was described as “a brilliant, unassuming, quiet charmer with a kind and generous heart, and an extreme wit who made you think even if you didn’t think you could.”

About the renaming

The campus community is invited to attend the ceremonial dedication of the G. Ralph Smith II Honors Hall. The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. May 3 in the entry courtyard of residence Hall A. 

Representatives of the University, the Emeriti Faculty Association and the University Honors Program will be among those participating at the naming ceremony.

Light refreshments will follow the dedication.