Smith turned 14 June 9, the day he registered for classes
to start his graduate studies at U.Va.
Child prodigy now U.Va. grad
By Lee Graves
R. Smith completed one goal May 31 when he received his bachelors
degree from Randolph-Macon College at the age of 13. Now the child
prodigy is aiming at another by jumping into the Universitys
graduate studies program.
Smith started the first of two summer classes Tuesday, the day
after his 14th birthday. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics,
the first of several doctoral degrees he plans to obtain.
University of Virginia has been my first choice all along,
Smith said in announcing his decision last week. It has
been my plan since I graduated from high school to apply to U.Va.
for my graduate work. I am so excited to have this wonderful opportunity
to study at one of our countrys best universities.
officials have been equally excited about Smiths selection.
Gene Block, vice presi- dent and provost, said, Greg will
be a wonderful addition to our graduate studies program. His record
of intellectual achievement, combined with his dedication to international
service, fit well into the U.Va. tradition. We realize that its
important not only to challenge Greg academically but also to
provide an environment where he feels at home among peers.
has been recognized as a prodigy since early childhood. Born in
West Reading, Pa., he was solving math problems at 14 months and
reading by age 2. The family moved to Florida, where he completed
his K-12 education in five years, then to Virginia, where at age
10 he enrolled at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. He graduated
cum laude with a degree in mathematics and was a member of Phi
Beta Kappa and five other honor fraternities.
the way Smith has used the media attention generated by his blazing
academic pace to become a vocal advocate for the pursuit of peace
and for childrens rights around the world. He founded International
Youth Advocates and has served as youth ambassador for the Christian
Childrens Fund and youth spokesperson for World Centers
of Compassion for Children. During the past year, he has traveled
throughout the United States and visited six countries on four
continents. Humanitarian aid efforts are benefiting orphans in
East Timor and youth in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Smith is helping
people in Rwanda build their first public library.
has met with presidents, including former President Bill Clinton
and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as
Nobel Peace laureates, such as Irelands Betty Williams and
South Africas Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His efforts have
brought him before the United Nations Security Council and several
of Smiths goals is to create an international symbol for
the child, so that child-occupied buildings in conflict zones
can be marked and protected. In addition, he hopes to create recognized
safe havens in embattled areas so children will have shelters
sanctioned by international law.
believe all children are born pure and innocent and only act with
violence because we teach them hate and violence, he said.
There must be peaceful parenting to have a peaceful future.
It is up to us to create an environment that makes it possible
for children to resist the corruptions that take us down violent
and immoral paths.
in 2002 and 03 for the Nobel Peace Prize, Smith has been
tapped to co-chair the World of Children Awards with Muhammad
Ali. He is among 43 students in the nation to receive scholarships
up to $50,000 a year for six years from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
for his graduate studies.
who has a Web site at http://www.gregoryrsmith.com/,
lives in Albemarle County with his mother, Janet, and father,
Ramirez, a neighbor of the Smiths who also is associate chair
and professor of mathematics at U.Va., said Greg will be taking
courses in real analysis and abstract algebra this summer.
are very happy to have Greg as a graduate student in mathematics,