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IRSC Provost Emeritus Sam Smith—Beloved Lifelong Educator—Passes

IRSC Provost Emeritus Sam Smith—Beloved Lifelong Educator—Passes

November 19, 2020 Robert Lane

A beloved member of the Indian River State College (IRSC) community, Okeechobee resident and friend to all who knew him, George Samuel “Sam” Smith passed away on November 3, 2020. Sam served the College with the highest distinction for 11 years as IRSC Okeechobee County Provost.

IRSC Provost Emetirus Sam Smith with students at the Dixon Hendry campus.

Sam was a graduate of Lake Worth High School, Palm Beach Junior College, and Florida State University—where he earned a B.S. in Social Studies Education. In 1973 Sam moved to Okeechobee and started his lifelong career as an educator. Sam served in many roles, first as a sixth-grade teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and then as Assistant Superintendent. In 2000 Sam was named IRSC Okeechobee Provost to serve at the Dixon Hendry Campus.

IRSC Provost Emeritus Sam SmithThroughout his 38-year career, Sam received numerous recognitions and awards for his accomplishments and contributions to education, including the IRSC Ambassador and Pride awards in 2005. Upon retirement, he was honored by the IRSC District Board of Trustees as Provost Emeritus for his outstanding record of service to IRSC and Okeechobee County.

Sam loved learning and dedicated his entire life to instill that love in others, knowing education is the key to opening opportunities to a better life—not only for an individual but for their loved ones and future generations. Even in his last year of life, Sam offered to help a young caregiver study for her citizenship exam.

Sam’s was an active member of many community organizations such as Raulerson Hospital Board, Okeechobee and Treasure Coast Shared Services Alliance, Early Learning Coalition, United Way of Okeechobee County, Okeechobee County Economic Development Council, and Children’s Home Society.

One of Sam’s beliefs was, “once a friend, always a friend.” To the day he passed, Sam was still hearing from friends, some of whom he had made fifty years ago at FSU.  Former students, coworkers, neighbors, merchants, anyone he met became a friend. He rarely missed an opportunity to attend a community event or activity to support and show how important everyone in his life was to him.

Remembering Sam as a friend—especially to the IRSC students he served—and in honor of Sam’s tremendous legacy at the College, the IRSC Foundation has established a student scholarship fund in his name. To contribute, please visit or mail a check to the IRSC Foundation at 3209 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, FL 34981.

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