Colleges are often challenged to define how they measure success. In so many cases, that standard of measurement is simply the “bottom line”—or what the economists forecast as the net financial gain of any endeavor. At a Christian institution, though, our hope is that an economist can look beyond the balance sheet and appreciate the value in more diverse and humane ways.
For this professor, that value is evident in his attention to the welfare of colleagues, including his persistent work to help the College develop childcare service for faculty and staff. It is evident in his extensive commitment of time to serve on faculty committees, perhaps most notably his two terms on the Faculty Senate, where he often led the efforts to clarify policies and refine standards. It is apparent in his dedication to scholarly endeavors, as he consistently produces articles or presentations for scholarly forums. It is apparent in the nineteen years that he co-edited the journal Faith & Economics, a scholarly enterprise long sponsored by Gordon College. Throughout his time he has collaborated with colleagues from around the country on publications, and has encouraged some of his peers to bring their own scholarly projects to fruition. In recent years, one of his prime collaborations has been co-editing a book on Attacking Poverty in the Developing World, a volume recently published by World Vision.
That interest in global topics is also evident in his support for international students and studies. Raised in Asia, he served for several years as the associate director of our East West Institute for International Studies. Each year he also faithfully offers a tax workshop for our international students. And, as the College’s international economist, he has long served as the co-director of the College’s major in international affairs, often during the same time when he has chaired the Department of Economics and Business.
Let me add a personal note. Just over three months ago, when my mother died suddenly, this professor shared with me a poem that he had discovered, one that mirrored rather remarkably my own struggle to reach home before my mother’s passing. That is one of the rewards of working in a Christian liberal college: that a teacher of econometrics is alert to the power of language and imagery to speak to our deepest emotions. For such gestures of collegiality, and for his dedication to his service and scholarship at Gordon, I am pleased to present this year’s Senior Distinguished Faculty Award to professor of economics Dr. Stephen Smith.