Edward Smith Jr., historian and SUNY distinguished professor - The Buffalo News
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Edward Smith Jr., historian and SUNY distinguished professor

April 23, 1936 – March 11, 2014

Edward Owen Smith Jr., Ph.D., a historian and SUNY distinguished professor, died Tuesday in his Buffalo home after a short illness. He was 77.

Known professionally as E.O. Smith, he was associated with SUNY Buffalo State for 50 years and was director of the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center at the college.

Born in Philadelphia, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Muhlenberg College, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and obtained his doctorate in history at Lehigh University under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Lawrence Henry Gipson.

Dr. Smith came to Buffalo State in 1963 as an associate professor of history and served on numerous college committees. He was a past president of the Faculty Student Association and parliamentarian of the College Senate.

He also served as chairman of the history and social studies education department and was active as a social member of Sigma Tau Rho social fraternity.

During his tenure as president of the Faculty Student Association, he established an endowment fund for a Distinguished Lecture Series, was responsible for the student lounge in the college’s Classroom Building and was involved in the design of the plantings, fountain and benches at the entry to the building, as well as the renovation of Moot Hall.

Dr. Smith’s many honors included the United Student Government’s Outstanding Service to Students by a Faculty Member Award in 1982, the President’s Award for Excellence in Service to the College in 1989, the SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Award in 1999, the Burchfield Penney Esprit de Corps Award in 1999 and the William Wells Brown Award from the Afro-American Society of the Niagara Frontier in 2008.

He also was a commissioner of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor and a dedicated member of the Harold Peterson Society, Buffalo State’s planned giving society.

He was devoted to his Irish wolfhounds, Cormac and Conner.

Survivors include three best friends, John Kozlowski, Russell Maxwell and Gerhardt Yaskow.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. Louis Catholic Church, Main and Edward streets.

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