Kent Smith named Wayne College 2020 Distinguished Alum


The University of Akron (UA) Wayne College Alumni Association is proud to announce Kent Smith as its 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The award recognizes graduates who have shown leadership in the workplace and community and will be formally presented when events safely return to campus.

Smith, a 1978 graduate of Orrville High School, is currently the director of the Rittman Academy School, where he works with at risk high school students in obtaining a diploma. Before this role, Smith retired from Orrville City Schools as the athletic director and business teacher after 27 years, with a total of 37 years in education.

In addition to being an athletic director, teacher and administrator, Smith coached boy’s tennis for 30 years, girl’s tennis for 26 years and basketball for 14 years and reached the 500 win total as a head coach in tennis. Smith continues to coach for Orrville and assists in the athletic department as needed.

Knowing it would be affordable and a great start to his college education, Smith arrived at UA Wayne College immediately after graduating from Orrville. Always having an interest in business, Smith pursued his bachelor’s degree in business administration. “It seemed like a good major that could lead into a variety of careers,” said Smith.

After transitioning to The University of Akron’s main campus to obtain his degree in business, he also received a business education degree, and then a master’s in athletic administration from Ashland University.

When asked of favorite memories at UA Wayne College, Smith reflected on his time with biology professors, Scott Hagen and Forest Smith with whom he got to know well. “I loved the teachers and how everyone took an interest in each other,” stated Smith. “Everyone was so nice and made you feel important.” Smith was active during his time on campus, playing basketball, on student senate, on the former tennis team and even worked on campus in buildings and grounds.

An Orrville High School Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Smith goes above and beyond donating his time to help the youth. In the area of athletic administration and work within Orrville City Schools, there has been a wide variety of activities and awards, including sectional tournament director for over 25 years in tennis, district track manager, playoff football host, playoff soccer host, NEOIAA co-chair for the spring conference for over 15 years, twice named co-chair of the State Athletic Directors Conference, coaching education instructor, Ohio Cardinal Conference Leadership Coordinator for the last 13 years, Frank Kovaleski  Professional Development Award, Athletic Director of the Year for both the NEOIAA and the OIAAA, Sportsman Integrity and Ethics Award Winner, Outstanding Service Award from the NEOIAAA, OIAAA Citation Award, along with Orrville High School Outstanding Alumnus, Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Teacher and advisor to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for over 30 years.

Smith advises students to take a look at UA Wayne College. “It’s a great place to get the education you need to compete for your desired career,” stated Smith. “The staff always go out of their way to assist and work with you. It’s just a really relaxed atmosphere for students.”

A resident of Orrville, Smith and his wife, Judy have three adult daughters. Jena is an athletic director at a high school outside of Nashville, TN. Jill is a special education teacher at Rittman High School, and Julie works in the marketing department at The J.M. Smucker Company.

Photo caption: Kent Smith, director of the Rittman Academy School is the recipient of The University of Akron Wayne College 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award.