Professor Walter R. Smith passed away peacefully at the Corning Center (formerly Founders Pavilion) on December 12, 2015 following lengthy illnesses. He was the son of the late Laird R. and LaVantia Smith of Harrisburg,PA. \n\n\nWalter was born in Punxutawney, PA on March 30, 1929. He was an avid tennis player from his teenage years and graduated as valedictorian from Amherst Central School near Buffalo, NY. Walter then went on to the University of Buffalo where he obtained both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in History. Furtheringhis education, he attended the University of Pennsylvania where he studied various disciplines and served as teaching fellow.\n\n\nDuring the Korean Conflict, Walter was drafted by the US Army and was initially assigned to the infantry. Later he served in ordnance and was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. At this location, Sgt. Smith was involved with the top secret M65 Atomic Cannon Project.\n\n\nAfter his Honorable Discharge, Walter taught at Drexel University for a short time. As he was contemplating\n\na move to a women's college along the Hudson River, he was contacted by Dr. William Perry, the first president of the new Corning Community College. Dr. Perry invited him to come to Corning and have an interview. They became fast friends and Walter was hired in 1959 as Professor of Social Sciences and went on to stay about 50 years teaching history and government.\n\n\nDuring his long career at CCC, Professor Smith became Chair of the Social Sciences Division and received the Distinguished Teaching Award from SUNY. He also served as CCC's representative to SUNY's Faculty Council of Community Colleges and became its chair. When Walter retired he was given the title of Professor Emeritus. As a capstone to his career, in 2014 he received the prestigious Outstanding College Citizen Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.\n\n\nWhile at CCC, Walter initiated the Community Camera Series and interviewed such visiting celebrities as Robert Frost, Alex Haley, Tom Wolfe, Buckminster Fuller, Senator Barry Goldwater and President Gerald Ford as well as dozens of local folks with interesting stories to tell.\n\n\nWalter, from his high school years, had a love of the theater and acting. He appeared in numerous CCC productions including a play written exclusively for him by Professor William Thompson. It was entitled "Ladies' Man" and was a big success. He also acted with the Two-Bit Players and Elmira Little Theater.\n\n\nWalter was given the honor of carrying the mace at the head of the procession for dozens of commencements and inaugurations of new college presidents. He became known as "Mr. Community College" among his legions of fans.\n\n\nDue to his generosity, the visiting scholar program from the 70s and 80s has been resurrected as the Walter R. Smith Visiting Scholar Series featuring, among many others, the Honorable Amory Houghton, Jr., novelists: Erik Larson, Jeff Shaara, and Michael Capuzzo. Other interesting speakers have been Cornell Professor, Steven Squyres, head of the Mars Rover Mission and most recently, Dr. Harlan Ullman, a highly respected intellectual in Washington, DC.\n\n\nWalter was sponsored into the Corning Rotary Club in 1961 by Dr. Perry and Vincent Welch, Sr. Before long he was friends with Frederick Carder, the founding president of the club. Over the years as a dedicated member of the club, Walter became famous for filling in at the last moment for a speaker who failed to show up. Normally, he would give a half hour lecture about a US President, but once he regaled the membership with fictional stories about groundhogs. The club voted to bestow on Walter the highest honor it could - the Paul Harris Fellowship. Due to his generosity, he became a member of the club's Frederick Carder Society.\n\n \n\nWalter was an avid reader and a world traveler. He recently enjoyed re-reading the ancient classics, often in the original language. He liked to say he visited casinos on four continents. He enjoyed chess, smoking really good cigars, having a daily Negroni, and keeping up with world news. Some terms that have been used to describe Walter are Renaissance man, bon vivant and polymath.\n\n\nThere will be a celebration of Walter's life at 11:00 am on Thursday, December 17th in the Triangle Lounge in the Commons at Corning Community College. This will be followed by a reception at the Radisson Hotel Corning where stories and memories of Walter's amazing life can be shared.\n\n\nHaughey Funeral Home in Corning has been entrusted with his care.