Patrick Henry still has a special place in the heart of Kathleen Holt Smith, former vice president for Institutional Advancement and former executive director of the PHCC Foundation. The PHCC General Scholarship Fund that she worked to increase while in office has been renamed in her honor – The Kathleen Holt Smith General Scholarship.
“It was a privilege to work in a community that is so supportive,” Smith said of her time at PHCC. “People view PH as a beacon of light for the community, providing opportunity and hope. I’m very humbled by this recognition and hope I can help grow the fund.”
Smith started her 14-year career at PHCC in 1992 after years of teaching English at Roanoke College and Ferrum College. It was at Ferrum where she got her first taste of development.
“I was asked to be the director of programming and fundraising. It’s unlike teaching,” she explained, “where the measure of success is not so obvious. It’s more like a coach; it’s a win or a loss. Everyone can count the dollars!”
But this challenge did not defeat her. PHCC President Max Wingett started building an institutional advancement program at the college and luckily for the PHCC community, she took advantage of this beginning. “It was the perfect opportunity to build and grow a program from the ground floor,” she said. So in 1992 Smith joined the PHCC family.
Her main goal was to build the endowment, which at the time of her retirement in 2006 had grown from less than $1 million to $10 million. She also focused much of her time building the PHCC General Scholarship Fund and starting the planned-giving program.
“It’s about changing lives,” Smith said about the work the Foundation does. “Every student we help is a life forever changed. You can’t put a price tag on that.”