SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH, THE NEW ALUMNI SECRETARY
The Board of Directors of the Alumni Association were fortunate to
find at liberty to accept the position of Alumni Secretary, a man so well
qualified as the newly elected officer. The duties of the position are such as
to call for an unusual range of ability and training; and these are to be increased still more the coming year. As will be seen, however, the new Secretary is peculiarly well fitted for the place. Among the many duties of the
position are included the editing and publishing of the Alumnus—in itself
no small undertaking; an extensive correspondence with Michigan Alumni;
attendance and participation in local alumni meetings all over the country;
the solicitation and management of the gifts of Alumni to the University.
To these will be added next year the editing and publishing of the University
News Letter, and the management of the work on the General Catalog of
Alumni. It is no exaggeration to say that on the careful and systematic
performance of the duties of this office depends in no small degree the future
of the University.
Mr. Smith had three years' experience in the office of a large manufacturing establishment before entering college. In the University he soon
became known as one of the strong men in his class, doing especially good
work in English. At the close of his junior year he spent the summer
abroad, taking a bicycle trip through the British Isles and across the continent in the capacity of special correspondent for a number of papers. He
was on the Daily Board; wrote the class poem in his sophomore year; won
the masterpiece prize offered for the best story by the Inlander during his
junior year. He was managing editor of the Bulletin and President of his
class in the senior year, and devoted the class day address to a plea for the
establishment of University Fellowships by local Alumni Associations.
After leaving college, Mr. Smith completed his business training by a
year in the assistant management of the manufacturing establishment where
he had formerly worked. During this year he was instrumental in the organization of a University Fellowship by the Alumni Association of the
Hastings high school, from which he was graduated.
The next year he was called back to Ann Arbor by his Alma Mater and
asked to take a teaching position in the English department. This was in
the fall of 1898, since which time he has taught in the University. In 1900
he was granted the degree of A.M.
It would be noticed then, that Mr. Smith has been in rapid succession, stu
dent, businessman, college teacher, and graduate student. He has also kept
up his keen interest in literary work. These things have fitted him well to undertake the varied duties of his new position. In addition to them he possesses to an unusual degree the graces of public speech. He is well known among his friends as a famous storyteller, and he will make a valuable addition to the program of Alumni meetings.
Mr. Smith was born in Hastings, Michigan, in 1875, and so begins his
work at the advantageous age of 26. He is a son of Judge Clement Smith,
of the fifth Michigan judicial circuit. He was graduated from the Hastings
High School at the age of 15, and took the degree of B.L. at the University
in 1897. He was married in September 1898 to Miss Sara Spencer Brown, also of the class of '97, and they have one son.
Those who know Mr. Smith best, believe that with his peculiar fitness
for the place, and the marked success which has attended his career so far,
together with the high character and ability of the man, the work of the
Alumni office will be continued with a high degree of success, and they be
speak for him a hearty welcome and strong support from every loyal Michigan graduate.
The Michigan Alumnus, July 1, 1901, Page 423, by Herbert M. Rich, '01m
SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH, NAMED VICE PRESIDENT
New Offices are Created to Aid President Ruthven's Administration
Plans for the adoption of a
new system of administration
of University affairs, in which
certain administrative duties will be
divided between two newly-appoint
ed vice-presidents, were announced on March 13 by
President Alexander G. Ruthven. The positions of vice
president will be held by Shirley W. Smith, '97, A.M.
'00, Secretary and Business Manager of the University,
and Professor Clarence S. Yoakum, formerly Director
of the Bureau of University Research.
In accordance with the statement issued in "The
Ruthven Platform" at the time of the President's elec
tion last fall, the new organization is formed "to re
lieve the President of several duties last year delegated
to the Dean of Administration, and
permit him to give more time to
Mr. Smith's official title is now
Vice President and Secretary of the
University, while Professor Yoa
kum is Vice President and Director
of Educational Investigation Ac
Mr. Smith has been Secretary of
the University for twenty-two
years, having assumed that office in
1908, following a term as General
Secretary of the Alumni Associa
tion. During this time he has serv
ed under four different presidents,
Dr. Harry B. Hutchins, Dr. Marion
L. Burton, Dr. Clarence Cook Lit
tle, and President Ruthven, and has
seen the University develop enor
mously, the property value increase
many times its original value, and
the enrollment practically doubled.
He is a native of Michigan. He
was born in Nashville in 1875, the
son of the late Judge and Mrs.
Clement Smith. Judge Smith was a
member of the Law Class of 1867.
Shirley Smith enrolled in the University from Hast
ings, Michigan, receiving his degree in 1897. In 1898 he
was added to the teaching staff of the Engineering College, as an instructor in English. He also continued his
studies at the same time, and received a Master's De
gree in 1900. A year later he became Secretary of the
Alumni Association, a position which he retained until
1904. At this time he severed connections with the University, and was for four years in the President's office of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company in
Philadelphia. In 1908 he returned to
become Secretary of the University
of Michigan. In comparatively re
cent years the title of Business Manager was bestowed upon him.
Professor Yoakum, until his
resignation last summer to ac
cept the position of Dean of the
College of Liberal Arts at Northwestern University, was a mem
ber of the University of Michigan
faculty, with the title of Professor
of Personnel Administration and
Director of the Bureau of Univer
sity Research. He was born in
Leavenworth County, Kansas, and
received his A.B. degree from Campbell College, in that state.
Some years later, after teaching at
the college from which he gradu
ated, at Hiawatha Academy, and at
the University of Chicago, he obtained the degree of Ph.D.
from Chicago. He was head
of the Department of Phil
osophy and Psychology at
the University of Texas
from 1908 until 1919. From
1919 until 1924 he was at
the Carnegie Institute of
Technology, and in 1924 ac
cepted a position at the Uni
versity as professor. Three
years later he was made Di
rector of the Bureau of
University Research. Al
though the change in ad
ministration becomes effective at once; Professor Yoakum will not be able
to assume his duties until
July, owing to his connec
tion with Northwestern.
Other changes incidental
to the main reorganization
of the administrative system
of the University provide
for the preparation of the
budgets and handling of
problems of faculty personnel directly by the president.
The faculty committee to the Director of Alumni Re
lations has been made an administrative committee,
composed of President Ruthven, William W. Bishop,
Librarian, Dean John Robert Effinger, Professor Lewis
M. Gram, of the Department of Civil Engineering, and
Dean G. Carl Huber, of the
Graduate School. The recently organized University
Press has been given a com
mittee with administrative
powers. The University
Press does not provide a
printing establishment; but
merely indicates a supervisory element over all University publications. It is
headed by Dr. Frank E.
Robbins, Assistant to the
The reorganization of the
administration of the Uni
versity into a corporation
plan is the third important
change, which has been effected by President Ruth
ven within the past month.
The first of these was the
initiation of changes in the
administration of the Medi
cal School. The second was
the appointment of Miss
Alice C. Lloyd, '16, as Dean
of Women, in place of the committee of three advisers,
created by Dr. Clarence C. Little in 1926.
The office of Dean of Administration, which the
new system is putting out of existence, was established
in 1927 by Dr. Little, and was held by President Ruth
ven from July. 1928, until he took office as President.
The Michigan Alumnus, March 22, 1930, Page 427
SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH, MEMOIR
Thirty-seven years ago, on July 14, 1908, Shirley Wheeler Smith was elected by the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan to be their secretary. The institution at that time enrolled 5,000 students; its property was valued at only $4,152,000, and its annual budget amounted to $1,113,000.
In the intervening years thirty-one individuals have been members of the Board of Regents; there have been five Presidents and one Acting President; and the material facilities of the University have grown and its educational programs have expanded in a way never imagined in the early years of this century.
Its student body has reached a maximum of 19,500, its property is valued at $61,500,000, and its annual operating budget is $11,000,000. Of this, the period of greatest change in the University's history, Shirley Smith has been a living part; his good judgment has been a guide in times of crisis; his integrity has ensured that the operations of the institution should never suffer from suspicion and harmful criticism; his ability to organize large enterprise and to work with others in its execution has been a secure and dependable asset upon which the Regents could at all times rely; and beyond the bounds of our own campus, among the universities of the whole country, he has rightfully become known as one of the leading educational administrators of our time.
His capacity for staunch friendship, his delightful humor, and his entire devotion to Michigan and those connected with Michigan has made his able service as the University's chief financial officer yet more noteworthy and effective.
Difficult as it is to give appropriate expression to their appreciation for a record so distinguished and memorable, the Regents of the University of Michigan have nevertheless adopted the foregoing preamble for inclusion in their Proceedings and transmittal to Vice President Smith, together with the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the profound thanks of this Board be extended to Vice President and Secretary Shirley Wheeler Smith for his noteworthy services to the University of Michigan, together with their cordial hope that the period of his retirement may be a long and happy one, and be it further
Resolved, That he be permitted to retire from his active status on June 23, 1945, with the title Vice-President and Secretary Emeritus, and with retiring allowance as provided by the Bylaws, and be it further
Resolved, That Mr. Shirley Wheeler Smith be invited to avail himself of all the usual courtesies extended to officers emeritus, and in particular to consider himself a welcome guest at the meetings of this Board at such times as may be convenient to him.
Regents' Proceedings, June 1, 1945, Page 954
SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH RECEIVES UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HONORARY DEGREE
DOCTOR OF LAWS
SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH. A graduate of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in the Class of 1897; Master of Arts in 1900; formerly Instructor in English; for the past thirty-seven years chief financial officer of the University. In his long association with Michigan he has shown unrivaled competence in administering the complicated tasks entrusted to his care. His acumen in matters of business and finance has promoted the material well being of the University; his devotion to its ideals has been a source of spiritual strength. The stamp of his vigorous personality will long remain firmly fixed on the institution which he has served with such singleness of purpose and enduring results.
Regents' Proceedings, June 1 1945, Page 962
SHIRLEY WHEELER SMITH, OBITURARY
The Regents adopted the following memoir in honor of Mr. Shirley Wheeler Smith, Vice-President and Secretary Emeritus of The University of Michigan, who died February 16, 1959:
Death came February 16, 1959, at age eighty-three, to Shirley Wheeler Smith, Vice-President and Secretary Emeritus of The University of Michigan.
His association with the University covered forty-seven years, first as Instructor of English, then as General Secretary of the Alumni Association, and last as Vice-President and Secretary.
After he retired from his official duties, Mr. Smith wrote the biographies of Harry Burns Hutchins and James Burrill Angell, literary labors that would test the powers of a much younger man. Plain in his own wants and habits, he reflected these characteristics in his writing.
Jealous of the University's good name, he added much to her reputation for frugal living and high thinking. In his last years he played the part of elder statesman to his community. Young and old sought his sound judgment, valued highly his prudent advice, and treasured his keen wit.
The Regents mourn the death of Shirley Wheeler Smith, respected citizen, wise counselor, and trusted friend of The University of Michigan. They express their deepest sympathy to his family, and mourn with them and with the University alumni a great loss.
S. W. Smith: Regents Bonisteel and Power paid special tribute to Shirley Smith. Tributes to Regent Bonisteel characterized him as "a great alumnus, whose life spoke for itself, in all its many phases of his relation to the University, in the Rotary Club, and in his association with the Ann Arbor Bank. He was keenly alert to everything about him. The community will miss him greatly." Regent Power remembered that he himself was "one of the young men who came for advice and counsel to Mr. Smith and who was helped and enlightened."
Regents' Proceedings, February 1, 1959, Page 780