MIT’s Susan Murcott expands ceramic-filter production to three continents, bringing jobs and curbing disease.
Gregory Smith, 86, a Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation, died on January 25 at a nursing home in Nahant.
Mr. Smith, who retired as president of the Eastman Gelatin Corporation in 1972, spent a major part of his retirement at MIT as an advocate for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, working with faculty members and industry to find ways to involve students in substantive research.
For a number of years Mr. Smith was a member of the Corporation Joint Committee on Institute-wide Affairs, a group organized in 1969 to bring concerns of the community to the attention of the governing board. He was a member of many Corporation visiting committees as well.
He was also a champion of the MIT Community Service Fund from its inception in 1969. As the Corporation's representative, he was co-chairman for many years, during which he and the faculty co-chairman personally visited department and laboratory heads to increase awareness of the charity's importance to the community. With his encouragement, giving to the fund grew from $40,000 to more than $100,000 annually.
Mr. Smith was a lifelong resident of Marblehead, where he and his wife were activists in historic preservation efforts and instrumental in the establishment of a historic district. For many years they lived in an 18th century mansion which they opened to the public for charitable events.
He received the SB (1930) and SM (1931) degrees from MIT in chemical engineering and joined the Eastman Kodak Company. He was transferred to the Eastman Gelatin Corporation in Peabody in 1949 and became its president in 1957. He was particularly dedicated to extension of the company's affirmative action and community service efforts.
In his own community activities, Mr. Smith was a long-time trustee and former president of the J.B. Thomas Hospital in Peabody, where a wing is named in his honor. He was also a trustee of Salem Hospital, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, the Salzberg Seminar in American Studies, the Massachusetts Bay United Way and the George Eastman House.
Mr. Smith's wife, Doris King Smith, died in March 1993. He is survived by a son, David K. (Deke) Smith of Cambridge and three granddaughters.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 21).