University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

June 25, 2017

Obituary: Dr. Charles Bruce Smith

September 30, 2016

Obituary: Dr. Charles Bruce Smith

Topic: Obituaries

Dr. Charles Bruce Smith, (“Tad”), died Aug. 25 at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his beloved wife of 37 years, Peggie, by his side. 

Smith was born Dec. 23, 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Taylor Smith and Evelyn(Fruehauf) Smith. He attended high school in Avon, Ohio, and also attended Harvard College, where he studied history and literature, graduating magna cum laude in 1958. In 1958-59, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat in Freiburg, West Germany. Following his Fulbright studies, he entered the Harvard Medical School and received his medical degree in 1963 and his Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1965. 

Dr. Charles Bruce Smith

In 1966, Smith joined the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School.  He became professor of pharmacology and also professor of nursing. He spent his academic career of more than 50 years at U-M.

Smith fully embraced the dimensions of research, teaching and service. He received international recognition as a neuropharmacologist and appointments as a visiting professor at the University of Hokkaido Medical School in Sapporo, Japan. He was a dedicated teacher committed to each of his students receiving a fully rounded education. His excellence in teaching was further acknowledged when he received the Golden Apple Teaching Award.

Smith believed strongly in faculty governance and academic freedom. He served on most of the Senate Assembly committees, many as chair and in 2006-07 and 2007-08, as chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs. He was unfailing in his work in faculty governance to advance the participation of under-represented minorities. He led the effort on the Committee for a Multicultural University in bringing forth a 2008 report, “Trends in Minority Faculty Participation,” that provided a comprehensive picture of minority participation in the university’s schools and colleges. For his dedication and the excellence of his efforts in these areas, Smith received the Faculty Governance Award.

Smith held leadership positions at the local, state and national levels in the American Association of University Professors — an organization concerned with faculty rights, privileges, and academic freedom and similar capacities in Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society — an international honor society for scientists and engineers. He was a major contributor to the establishment of the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, now in its 26th year.

Smith was on the faculty team that worked with the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives to establish the Wade McCree Scholars Program. For 15 years, Detroit Public School student participants in the Program in Scholarly Research for Urban/Minority High School Students, conducted research in his laboratory. Through his participation in this program, students from single-parent, working class and, in some cases, homeless families competed in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search that made the city of Detroit a leader in the number of minority of students who were Science Talent Search Winners.  Many of these student participants went on to receive graduate degrees in the sciences. In 2006, he received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award for his lifetime commitment to equality and access to quality education for under-represented minorities and women.

Smith is survived and mourned by his wife, his stepson Virgil Chancy (Cizuru), granddaughter (Daniela), three brothers, Taylor (Carol), Terrence and Mark (Nancy), many nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues.  Contributions in his memory may be made to the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund.

A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Oct. 29 in the Michigan League Hussey Room.