Fond Farewell to Dale Smith

April 16, 2021

Dale has been the coordinator of undergraduate advising for the last ten years, joining the department after completing his MFA in Fiction 2011. It is difficult to over-estimate the effect Dale has had in the smooth advising operations of the department and, most profoundly, in the lives of our students.

As a wonderful teacher, Dale offered original and extremely well-received classes (such as the Craft of Flannery O’Conner and the Bible as Literature). As a colleague, he regularly had creative suggestions about better ways to serve our students. And, of course, as an extraordinary advisor, he met regularly with literally hundreds of students over the years. Dale has been recognized as the recipient of the Student Leadership Advisor of the Year Award in 2019, the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences Distinguished Advising Award in 2016, and the Burnside Watstein LGBTQIA Award in 2015.

Dale is, for most undergraduates, the face of our department; he offers students not only guidance in terms of course selection and their progress through the major, but—perhaps appropriate to the next phase of his life—he also serves an essential pastoral role as a sympathetic ear, confidante, and friend. During this last, difficult year, he initiated an English Major Pandemic Journal that has proven a meaningful outlet to our students as they navigated the challenges of the past months, a gesture that embodies his ability to connect with our students in ways that blend the personal, the intellectual, and the creative.

Please join me in thanking Dale for his time, commitment, and energy to advancing the mission of the department. We will miss his insights, enthusiasm, sage observations, unfailing good humor, and, of course, his inimitable reading of our students’ names during the graduation ceremony. 

We wish him godspeed and great success.