Graduating senior Annie Smith began attending ISU to play Division I soccer and earn a degree in public relations. But four years later, she has left an indelible mark on campus by getting involved in many philanthropic activities.
Smith is the daughter of Joe and Cindy (Allen) Smith, and the granddaughter of Tom and the late Joanne Allen of Brazil. Annie's mother Cindy graduated from Brazil High School.
After graduation Smith will reside in Columbus, Ind.
One evening during a heart-to-heart with her father, Smith decided to catalyze her college career forever.
"My dad and I spent an afternoon sitting on the porch, talking about college. We talked about the integral role college plays in who we become and what we achieve," Smith said. "He told me, 'We have this incredible opportunity to impact other people's lives, but it is our choice as to whether we make this a positive impact or a negative impact,"' Smith said.
Smith will also receive the Rankin Memorial Distinguished Senior Award during commencement for her efforts to improve campus life.
"It's a really nice award to receive and really competitive. I am sure there were so many other students who deserved it and I am really thankful," Smith said.
According to a press release, the Rankin Award was named for ISU's seventh president, Alan Carson Rankin, who served from 1965-1975.
Students receiving the Rankin Award have "demonstrated dedicated membership and leadership ability in campus organizations and in the community. Recipients must also have a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale."
Smith's overall GPA is 3.93.
She was also a member of the University Honors program, served as president of the Hulman Memorial Student Union Board, founder and president of ISU's dance marathon for Riley Children's Hospital.
"I participated in dance marathon in high school and I thought it would be good to bring to campus," Smith explained. "There's nothing like it. Everyone's together for six hours celebrating Riley Hospital.
"My work with the dance marathon, Riley and St. Jude made me really passionate about what I was studying and let me see how I could make a difference," she said.
She served as the director of Up 'Til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and student advisor for the department of communication.
"I developed relationship and leadership skills and helped me to do what I am passionate about," Smith said.
Smith was also a member to the Chi Omega Sorority, the Public Relations Student Society of Women, the women's soccer team and was chair of community service during spring week.
"I had the opportunity to visit the children and getting to see the hospitals. It was a reminder of why I was doing what I was doing," Smith said. "We forget when there isn't anything bad going on that there are people who need help. I knew I was supposed to do something. I felt like I could help them."
Previously, Smith received the Richard G. Landini Outstanding Junior Award, Liametz Memorial Scholarship, the Brett Memorial Honors Scholarship for Study Abroad, Jeff Hardaway Award and the Daniel and Emma Avery Memorial Scholarship. She was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Smith interned with St. Jude Hospital and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Chi Omega's Make a Wish Foundation, Relay for Life, Bowl for Kid's Sake, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Walk for Autism.
"They were incredible experiences," Smith said. "I don't think I would've had that same opportunity anywhere else."
After graduation, Smith will begin her career as a marketing and communications specialist with Cummins, Inc., in Columbus.
Smith said Saturday she wants to convey the message, "If you live your life the best way you can, you can make a difference. If you don't do what you love and what you are passionate about, it's not the same."