Kirke Smith, the first dean of education at Lincoln Institute
, a school initiated by Berea College after Kentucky's Day Law
(1904) forbade interracial education in Kentucky, will be honored at the twelfth annual Berea College Founders’ Day Convocation on October 6 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel, 99 years after Lincoln Institute first opened its doors.Smith will be honored with the John G. Fee Award
that honors primarily African American alumni who attended Berea College between 1866-1904 and who gave distinguished service to their communities, especially in the field of education, and whose lives reflect the ideals of Berea College founder John G. Fee
as expressed in the college’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”The award will be accepted by five of Smith’s grandchildren.
When Lincoln Institute in Simpsonville, Kentucky, opened in 1912, Smith served as the dean of men and the dean of the normal department until 1935. Prior to his tenure at Lincoln Institute, Smith served as superintendent at Lebanon Colored Schools in Kentucky. He was also instrumental, along with the Reverend James Bond, grandfather of notable civil rights activist Julian Bond, in raising funds to open Lincoln Institute. The school closed in 1966 but the campus is currently home to the Whitney Young, Jr. Job Corps Center
, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, that equips students with workplace skills at no cost.
Smith was born in Christiansburg, Virginia, in 1865, and graduated from Berea College in 1894 before earning his master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Berea College’s Black Music Ensemble will perform during the convocation.