Remembering Mike Smith

Mike Smith, Program Assistant for the Graduate School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (STLL), passed away after a long illness on August 3. He was 60.

Smith relocated to Orlando from Ohio to open a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant and make a new life for himself.

During his 32 years at UCF, Smith was the President of the AFSCME Local #3345 USPS Staff Union and received the USPS 30 Years of Service Award from the UCF Human Resources Department in 2015 and our college’s Helen Conley USPS Staff Award in 2016.

Serving the community and philanthropy were important to Smith. He contributed to UCF Professor Emeritus Tim Blair’s UCF Saturday Reading Camp and our college’s former Dean and UCF Professor Emerita Mary Palmer’s musical arts program.

He was a dedicated employee who went the extra mile to help faculty, fellow staff members, and students.

Educational Leadership Professor Dr. Rosemarye Taylor reflects on her time working with Smith.

“Mike always went out of his way and was very helpful and proud of the Educational Leadership students. I appreciated him providing the students with a good program experience. He will be remembered for his longevity at the college.”

STLL Undergraduate Program Assistant Marie Pecoraro was Smith’s longtime co-worker and friend. She’ll cherish the fond memories they shared together.

“We both met in the UCF Registrar’s Office and our friendship grew when he transferred to the College of Education and Human Performance. He was a good friend who helped me when my car needed to be fixed, attended my wedding, and spent time with me during the holidays.”

Another close pal and co-worker, Clinical Experiences Senior Admissions Specialist Tracey Robinson-Crawford, was his surrogate sister.

“I reminded Mike of his sister Traci and became his work soul sister. We laughed a lot and had jokes that were just between us. He also got a kick out of me calling him Iron Mike.”

Fellow Ohioan and retired Elementary Education Associate Professor Dr. Cynthia Hutchinson had a strong bond with Smith. They enjoyed reminiscing about their childhood in Cleveland, including Mr. Jingeling at Halle’s during the holidays and eating meals at The Silver Grille at Higbee’s and custard at Euclid Beach Park.

Dr. Hutchinson used to tease Smith about being our college’s inside man in Hollywood since his nephew Freddie Smith portrays Sonny Kiriakis on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”

Smith was a point-of-reference and on the front lines for Dr. Hutchinson’s supervising student teacher course and ensured information never fell through the cracks.

“Mike worked behind the scenes and was very important to the success of the College of Education and Human Performance. There are tons of people like that, but Mike was an important one. He was rock-solid and always there. He will be missed.”

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