FLORENCE---Robert Sethfield (Seth) Smith of Florence has been selected the J. Lorin Mason Distinguished Professor for the 1999-2000 year at Francis Marion University.
Announced at a campus dinner Thursday night (April 13), this award has been given since the 1975-76 school year and is based upon a faculty member’s contribution to teaching, professional service and scholarly activities.
The award, named in honor of the former chairman of the FMU Board of Trustees, will be presented at FMU’s spring commencement Saturday, May 6, and carries a $3,000 cash prize, sponsored by the FMU Foundation. The cash award is doubled from previous years.
As a result of his selection, Smith will be the Francis Marion University nominee for the Governor’s Professor of the Year Award competition next fall.
“Seth Smith takes a personal interest in each student’s development. He is respected by his students for his advice and counsel and by his colleagues for his dedication to the teaching profession,” said Fred Carter, president of FMU.
“He is a true scholar as reflected in his exemplary teaching and his strong commitment to research and service to the college and community,” he added.
A professor of physics, Smith has been a member of the FMU faculty since 1989. Prior to that, he taught at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville and at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
A native of Baltimore, Md., Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Francis Marion in 1983, and received a master’s (1985) and doctorate (1987) in physics from Louisiana State University.
Among his scholarly activities, he has received eight research grants of more than $241,000 during his FMU tenure, including three from the National Science Foundation. His primary research interest is laser physics. He is author of numerous scientific publications and has served as a proposal reviewer with the National Science Foundation Young Scholars Program.
At FMU, he is vice chair of the Faculty Senate, president of the Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, a member of Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society, the Academic Committee, the Task Force on Faculty Handbook, the Task Force on the Faculty Constitution, and the Subcommittee on General Education. He also is adviser to the FMU chapter of the Society of Physics Students.
In the community, Smith was active in the effort to rezone Florence District One schools, served as coach at Saint Anthony’s Catholic School and was active in Boy Scouts.