Michigan Tech News

Former Tech President Ray Smith Addresses Graduates

Last Modified 11:36 AM on Fri May 7, 2010

April 23, 2010—

Michigan Technological University honored the achievements of nearly 1,000 graduates at Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 1. The ceremony coincided with Michigan Tech's Founder's Day, the date 125 years ago when legislation was signed to establish what was then the Michigan Mining School.

The University awarded 139 master’s and PhD degrees and 856 bachelor’s and associate degrees.

Ray Smith, who led Michigan Tech as its president from 1965 to 1979, addressed the graduates and received the University’s highest honor, the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction.

Smith came to Michigan Tech in 1959 to chair the Department of Metallurgical Engineering. Six years later, he was president. An enthusiastic promoter of the University who excelled in legislative affairs, he presided over a period of unprecedented growth. Ten major buildings were constructed during his watch, essentially sculpting the modern face of the Michigan Tech campus.

Smith is a fellow of both the American Society of Metals and the Metallurgical Society and is a recognized authority on minerals and metals. His research led to the development of some of the purest iron in the world.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and master’s and doctoral degrees in metallurgical and materials engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the US Army during World War II and later joined the staff of the Franklin Institute Research Laboratories, where he rose to the position of technical director before coming to Michigan Tech.

The Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction recognizes individuals who have had an affiliation with the University and who have exhibited distinguished professional and personal accomplishments.  The Melvin Calvin Medal is named for its first recipient, Michigan Tech alumnus Melvin E. Calvin ’31, who won the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (with Andrew Benson).

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.