By Stephanie Mazejka
Professor David Finkelhor and Alumnus John “Jack” Smith were awarded two of UNH’s most prestigious awards during a campus celebration on Sept. 25 for their support and service to the university.
Finkelhor, the founder and director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at UNH has been working with the university since 1976, was awarded the Charles Holmes Pettee Medal in honor of his service to the university. His work and studies of the declination of childhood victimization in recent years have often been cited.
As the author of 11 books and over 150 journal articles and book chapters, he has received many grants and awards including grants from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and the United States Department of Justice, and awards such as the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers in 2004.
“His research is exceedingly high quality, some of the best in the country and internationally,” said Dr. John Leventhal, a medical director for the Yale-New Haven Child Abuse Program.
“He’s provided those of us who are working in the field a way of thinking of the problem and the intersection between various kinds of violence and how those affect children and families. It’s that combination, I think, that makes him one of the stars in the field of child abuse and neglect.”
Smith was presented with the UNH Foundation’s Hubbard Family Award for Service to Philanthropy, which recognizes those whose leadership and gifts have strengthened UNH and/or who have promoted philanthropy throughout New Hampshire. He received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNH in 1950, and went on to found Portland Valve Incorporated in 1973.
An active alumnus, Smith also provides six scholarships for university students, including the John H. Smith ‘50 Scholarship, the John H. Smith ‘50 Endowed College of Engineering & Physical Sciences Student Project Fund, the John H. Smith ‘50 Endowed Fund for Hockey, the Barbara Bridle Peyser ‘50 Athletic Scholarship Fund, the John H. Smith ’50 Endowed Northeast Passage Fund, and the John H. Smith ’50 Undergraduate Marine Science and Ocean Engineering Scholarship Fund.
According to Smith’s grandson, Hanscom Smith, a U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, China, his grandfather “Was a very successful entrepreneur.”
“His business did very well, but at the same time he’s not a self-indulgent person,” he said. “So, for him, business success means giving back to what matters most. And for him that’s education.”
Pertaining to the award, Hanscom Smith said, “I am so proud of my grandfather for winning this award because he is an unassuming person. So I don’t think that he necessarily likes to be in the spotlight, but this is really the ideal way to recognize his many contributions. And that’s not really, I think, the financial commitment as much as it is the personal commitment to education.”
University President Mark Huddleston was also present for the award ceremony.
“They have been selected for these prestigious awards because they represent the highest qualities of character and passion in their longstanding service and support for this great university,” Huddleston said in a press release.