Marshall “Mike” Smith, Ed.M. ’63, Ed.D. ’73, was awarded yesterday the first Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact for making a lasting difference in the field of education and on the lives of learners across the nation and beyond. Smith received the honor at the celebration of the new Ed.L.D. Program.

“In recognizing Mike, we honor an exemplary researcher, policymaker, and philanthropist whose leadership has truly transformed the education sector through his four decades of service to the field,” Dean Kathleen McCartney said, calling Smith the ideal inaugural recipient of the award. “We hope the work of tonight’s medal recipient will inspire our first cohort of Ed.L.D. students, as well as Ed School students for years to come.”

Upon receiving the award, Smith acknowledged that he could not have accomplished everything without the help of others, particularly his wife, Nicki, also an educator, whom he met at the Ed School as a student. “The message is you cannot grow alone. You have to be working with other people all the time whether spouses or other people important to you,” he said, noting the Ed.L.D. cohort are starting with powerful connections and encouraging them to “rise up and help each other.”

The Medal for Education Impact will honor practitioners, policymakers, and researchers who work across their individual spheres of influence and whose careers are dedicated to education opportunity, achievement, and success for all children. It recognizes those who have a transformative effect on the sector through their entrepreneurial spirit, innovative strategies, collaborative work, and superior leadership.

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