Ralph G. Smith Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was endowed in 1997 through the generosity of Dr. Smith’s past students, colleagues, friends and alumni of the University of Michigan. All students meeting the AIHF general scholarship criteria are eligible for this scholarship. However, preference is given to students attending the University of Michigan

Introducing Dr. Smit​h 

Dr. Ralph G. Smith was Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Industrial Health at the School of Public Health, University of Michigan, when he passed away in 1996 at the young age of 76. Born January 11, 1920, in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, Smith became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Wayne State University in 1942, and then served until 1946 as a meteorologist in the U.S. Air Force, rising from a private to the rank of captain. He received a Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry in 1949 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1953, both from Wayne State University. As early as the 1950s, Dr. Smith led the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society, an anchor in the early formalization of our profession. 

In 1955, Smith was appointed associate professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, at Wayne State. He became professor and assistant chair of the department in 1963, and acting chair in 1967. He hosted, while at Wayne State, an annual “Toxicology Workshop”, popular with professionals from universities, private industry and government. He joined the University of Michigan as professor of environmental and industrial health in 1970 and retired in 1985. The excellence of his teaching is attested to by the success of his students. Ralph continued to initiate programs that helped the working student. At the University of Michigan, he started the on-job/on-campus program where students could come to Ann Arbor for a long weekend once a month and meet the academic requirements for a master's degree, without giving up their daily jobs.  

Professor Smith had a deep interest in education and a particular dedication to students. His able leadership was an important factor in the evolution of the School's Industrial Hygiene Program into one of the most outstanding in the country. He gave generously of himself and contributed greatly to the maintenance and growth of the University of Michigan’s excellent reputation in this field. Smith was also an active part-time consultant in occupational and environmental health. Ralph Smith's research focused on the general problems of air sampling and analysis, biological sampling and analysis, and occupational exposure to substances such as beryllium, lead, carbon black, mercury and chlorine. These consulting activities blended with his research interests and produced a steady flow of research funded by government and industry alike. All segments of the profession and society could rely on his research to be of the highest quality — focused and scientifically excellent. In turn, this research served as fertile ground for the growth of his many graduate students. 

Throughout his career, Smith was active in numerous professional societies, authored more than 120 scientific papers and contributed to numerous books. In addition, he took it upon himself to publish abstracts of American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal articles to enable industrial hygiene’s greater exposure outside our profession. He was President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association in 1982 and received the Association’s coveted Donald E. Cummings Award in 1985. He also served as President of the Smelter Environmental Research Association (SERA). 

Many leaders in the profession benefited from Dr. Smith’s conservative, gentle wisdom, usually blended with his unique sense of humor that made you remember the time you spent with him and the knowledge he imparted. Dr Smith, while legendary in his professional contributions, was perhaps best remembered for his quick wit and playfulness, his thoughtfulness and unfailing integrity, and his consistently applied generosity to everyone with whom he interacted. He was a generous mentor to many! 

Recipients of the Ralph G. Smith Memorial Scholarship  

  • 2014 - 2015
    Walter A. Askent, University of Michigan

  • 2013 - 2014
    Emily A. Yu, University of Michigan

  • 2012 - 2013 
    Kendra R. Broadwater, University of Michigan

  • 2011 - 2012 
    Mary Ellen Hicks, University of Michigan

  • 2010 - 2011 
    Vivek Patel, University of Michigan

  • 2009 - 2010
    Bufford A. Ang, University of Michigan

  • 2008 - 2009
    Wendy Guo, University of Michigan

  • 2007 – 2008 
    Pamela Dopart, University of Michigan
     
  • 2006 – 2007 
    Ryann Fisher, University of Michigan 

  • 2005 - 2006
    Matthew Johnson, University of Michigan

  • 2004 – 2005 
    Joshua Bennett, University of Michigan
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  • 2002 – 2003 
    Marissa Vieno, University of Michigan

  • 2001 - 2002
    Lynn Zwica, University of Michigan

  • 2000 - 2001
    Sonja Rawie, University of Michigan
    Shanna Schmiesing, University of Michigan

  • 1999 - 2000
    Carrie Ziehl, University of Michigan

  • 1998 - 1999
    Therese H. Franco, University of Michigan

  • 1997 - 1998
    Andrea F. Sevier, University of Michigan