Bennie and Shirley Smith Establish Endowed Scholarship at Delaware State University

(l-r) Dr. Vita Pickrum, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Bennie and Shirley Smith, as well as Cynthia Williams of Bennie Smith Funeral Homes, pose with a display check representing the newly established endowment.

DOVER, Del. – Bennie and Shirley Smith, owners and operators of Bennie Smith Funeral Home Inc., have combined their generosity with the charity of people from the surrounding communities to establish a new endowed scholarship at Delaware State University.

The Bennie and Shirley Smith Endowed Scholarship has been started with $23,500 – which included $10,000 personally donated by the Smiths and $13,500 that the couple raised during the Bennie & Shirley Smith Holiday Reception and Scholarship Fundraiser held Dec. 23 at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino and attended by more than 700 people.

The scholarship fundraiser was planned specifically to raise money for Delaware State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Preceding the event, the couple promised to match the Bennie and Shirley Smith Scholarship donations from the attendees up to a total of $10,000 for each university.

With respect to their endowed scholarship at DSU, the Smiths have also pledged to add $100,000 to it over time.

“Delaware State University is graduating some very smart and gifted young people,” Mr. Smith said. “Shirley and I are happy to support DSU in their commitment to excellence in education.”

Dr. Harry L. Williams, president of Delaware State University, said the endowed scholarship is very much appreciated and speaks volumes about the couple.

“While the Smiths are in the business professionally assisting the families of deceased loved ones, this is another example of how the Smiths feel about the living through their support of their surrounding communities,” Dr. Williams said. “The Bennie and Shirley Smith Endowed Scholarship will greatly help DSU students stay in school, complete their degrees and fulfill aspirations.”

Mr. Smith served from 2006-2012 as a member of the DSU Board of Trustees.

Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.