History

The SmithsPage Smith was a distinguished American historian, teacher, and author. When U.C. Santa Cruz opened in 1965, he was the provost of the first college, Cowell. Eloise, his wife, an artist and community leader, was his partner in presiding over a creative, imaginative, loving college community that was a great place in which to come of age. The Smiths treated all who crossed their paths with dignity, grace, and respect.

Having grown up in an orphanage and foster homes, going on his own when he was sixteen, Bill Dickinson (Cowell ’68) was one of the first students to arrive on the new campus in 1965. He credits the pioneering spirit of those early years and the gracious quality of the Cowell community with teaching him to have a noble vision for his life and preparing him to pursue that vision successfully.

When Bill established the Page and Eloise Smith Scholarship in 1999, he saw it as a way to give back to UC Santa Cruz, to honor his mentors, and to help veterans of the foster care and juvenile justice systems, orphans without family support, and others who suffered serious childhood abuse or neglect to reach their educational dreams. This rapidly grew in vision and scope to become the all-volunteer Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society to provide UC, Santa Cruz students (called Collegiate Fellows) with a community of friends, financial help, and mentors (called Senior Fellows) committed to individual students’ success.

The Smith Society grew from three students in its first year to more than one hundred. Of the 458 students served, all but a handful have graduated or are on track to graduate. Many have gone on to attend prestigious graduate schools or to pursue successful careers.  We also help current foster youths see higher education as an available option to them by working with the UCSC Admissions Office to host campus visits.

The Smith Society was the first and only program of its kind in the University of California System.