Jessie Allen · June 16, 2011
President Rodney K. Smith today announced that the Glenwood Apartments will be renamed the Gayle Smith Apartments in honor of the woman who recently donated the complex to the university.
“We are most grateful to Gayle for her strength of spirit and her generosity to the university,” said President Smith, who is not related to Gayle. “As fitting a tribute as this is, to name the apartments after a woman who has greatly blessed this institution, Gayle’s lasting legacy at Southern Virginia is her love for learning and for helping others along the path of spiritual and academic development.”
Since 1998, Gayle Smith has actively helped Southern Virginia University as a volunteer and donor. She has served as the assistant dean of admissions, as an instructor and tutor, worked in the counseling department and is currently the advisor for the multi-cultural club and involved with alumni relations.
“I’ve rededicated my life to helping my brothers and sisters,” Smith said. “Helping the younger generations pursue their education, especially in an institution such as Southern Virginia, brings me more joy and satisfaction than any material possession could.”
Smith said that at first she was apprehensive about changing the name of the apartments because she did not want to draw attention to herself. She consented, however, because she hopes that this change will encourage others to also help the university.
Smith constructed the Glenwood Apartments 10 years ago as housing for married students and LDS missionaries serving in the Buena Vista area. The complex consists of six buildings and a total of 15 apartments. She originally named the complex after her mother’s hometown of Glenwood, Fla., where she spent most of her childhood spring vacations. The sentimental namesake reminds her of her desire to honor her parents’ example of making donations to encourage and support education.
Smith owned and operated the apartment complex until last year, when she felt impressed to donate it to the university. Because education has always been important to her family, Smith is confident that her parents would approve of her numerous donations to Southern Virginia University.
“I just can’t think of a better way to donate what I have than to further the education of students,” Smith said. “I’m grateful that I’m able to make such a major donation. I have such a wonderful feeling when I’m helping somebody else, and it has not been a sacrifice at all for me.”