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Franklin College has been designated to receive a $500,000 estate commitment from Phil Smith, a longtime Franklin resident and photography business owner, to establish the Phil Smith Engaged Learning Fund.

The endowed fund will provide financial assistance for travel and engaged learning opportunities for students in pre-medical studies or activities and field biology.

Smith, now retired after his 31-year photography career, attended Ball State University where he learned his professional skills. But Smith said Franklin College has always felt like home to him. As a matter of fact, he once lived in the house where the college’s Napolitan Student Center now stands. Smith was also hired on a freelance basis by the college bringing him to campus for many years to take photos of events.

“I want to provide an opportunity for students and faculty to learn more about their chosen profession, beyond the classroom,” Smith said. “It gives me great pleasure knowing they will have the opportunity to learn from a variety of people, places and cultures in order to broaden their knowledge on the topics they are studying. Knowledge is powerful and the only thing that can’t be taken away from you.”

Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather commended Smith for his generous support and investment in the college’s future. “Phil has devoted himself to the Franklin community, professionally and civically, for many years. We have greatly valued his work at many campus events, and even more the enduring friendships developed with him as a result.”

“Planned gifts are a critical piece of the puzzle toward maintaining the transformational experience students receive at the college,” said Dana Cummings, vice president for institutional advancement. “Donors like Phil have a very specific passion and vision about higher education opportunities, and we are extremely grateful for his generous support.”

“Franklin College has been a meaningful and important part of my life and career,” said Smith. “So for me to be able to give back to the college provides me with a deep sense of personal fulfillment. Go Grizzlies.”

Contact the Franklin College Office of Communications for more information at (317) 738-8185.

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