Dana Smith ’79, 2019
Dana Smith’s family ties to the University of Maine began 100 years ago when his maternal grandfather, Dr. John Hoge Ashworth, came to the university to teach economics and sociology.
John Ashworth earned his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University in 1914. After graduation, Dr. Ashworth was a professor at Pennsylvania College (now known as Gettysburg College) until 1918. When he arrived at UMaine in 1919, Dr. Ashworth’s salary was $2,700. An announcement of Dr. Ashworth’s appointment read, “Dr. John H. Ashworth of Ohio Wesleyan has been appointed Professor of Economics and Sociology to succeed Dr. George Ware Stephens . . . He is a man of fine personal appearance, pleasing manners, and a most successful teacher. It is believed that the University is particularly fortunate in securing him.”
Dr. John Hoge Ashworth
Until his retirement in 1941, Dr. Ashworth served as a valued member of the university faculty. Upon hearing of Dr. Ashworth’s passing in 1966, UMaine President Hauck issued this statement: “The university learns of the death of Dr. Ashworth with deepest regret. During his long period of service to the university and the State of Maine, he was widely known and admired by hundreds of students who were in his classes. He served from 1919 until his retirement in 1941, as professor of economics. His contributions to the university and the state will be remembered, and his teaching ability and personal interest in each student have given him a place in their affections that will long remain. He had the pleasure of seeing two sons and three daughters graduate from the University of Maine.”
As noted by President Hauck, the five children of Dr. Ashworth and his wife Mabel attended the University of Maine: Jessie Ellen (Ashworth) Miller ’29, James Peery Ashworth ’30, W. Bruce Ashworth ’33, Mabelle Elizabeth (Ashworth) Smith ’37, and Barbara Rose (Ashworth) Harris ’41. Jessie earned a doctorate from Clark University in 1940, then followed in her father’s footsteps by becoming a professor of anthropology and sociology. James earned a B.A. in history at UMaine, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Scabbard & Blade, Senior Skull Society member, and R.O.T.C. Bruce enjoyed a 40-year career at Travelers Insurance Company after graduating from UMaine with a degree in mechanical engineering. Barbara earned a degree in English at UMaine, where she participated in many activities and earned praise for her high marks, making the Dean’s List many times over. Dana’s mother, Mabelle Ashworth Smith, majored in history at UMaine, where she met her future husband, Roger Smith. Mabelle participated on the All-Maine Basketball Team and the All-Maine Field Hockey Team. Roger majored in zoology, joined the Phi Eta Kappa fraternity, and played intramural basketball. They both graduated in 1937.
Mabelle (Ashworth) Smith ’37
Roger, who grew up on a farm in Aroostook County, also had strong family ties to UMaine. Two of his siblings graduated from the university. His older brother, Irving Kitchen Smith, earned a B.S. degree in education in 1934, and in agronomy in 1941. Irving participated in J.V. Football, was inducted into Kappa Phi Kappa, and joined Phi Eta Kappa. Roger’s younger sister, Mary Elizabeth Smith, graduated from UMaine with both a bachelor’s degree (1946) and master’s degree (1950) in zoology. In 1958, she graduated from Michigan State University with a D.V.M.—one of very few women to do so at that time.
These two strong UMaine families joined when Mabelle Ashworth and Roger Smith married in the summer of 1938, one year after their graduation. They raised three sons, Larry, Bruce, and Dana, on the family farm in Presque Isle.
Their youngest son, Dana Smith, carried on the family’s UMaine legacy. Dana graduated from UMaine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1979. During his time at UMaine, Dana was a member of Senior Skulls and participated in Senior Challenge, was a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, served as president of the UMaine chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and participated in fundraising events to benefit the Pine Tree Society for people living with disabilities. After graduating from UMaine, Dana Smith moved to Minnesota where he met his wife Sheila. They have two sons, Eric and Darren.
Roger William Smith ’37
Although she was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Mabelle lived more than ninety years in Maine. She loved skiing, the Maine coast, playing piano, berry picking, the family camp on St. Froid Lake, and her grandchildren. Mabelle firmly believed in the importance of education. After Roger’s death, she initiated two scholarships at the University of Maine Foundation. The first was named in honor of her parents John and Mabel Ashworth. The second, the Roger W. and Mabelle Ashworth Smith Scholarship, was created in memory of Roger. Both scholarships benefit UMaine students from Aroostook County.
Dana Smith, 1970s
Dana and his brothers continue the family’s legacy by supporting the scholarship funds started by their mother. These scholarships provide substantial financial assistance to UMaine students from Aroostook County. Like the generations-deep legacy of the Ashworth/Smith families at UMaine, these two scholarship funds will continue to provide real and lasting support to UMaine students for generations to come.
Thank you to the donors, Dana and Sheila Smith for contributing this story and for sharing their family legacy with us.