Prodigy To Attend University Of Virginia For Ph.D. In Mathematics
June 4, 2003 --
Thirteen-year-old Gregory R. Smith completed one
goal Saturday when he received his bachelor’s degree from
Randolph-Macon College. Now the child prodigy is aiming at another
by enrolling in the University of Virginia’s graduate studies
intends to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics as the first of several
doctoral degrees. He plans to take two summer courses and will be
at the University for orientation on June 9, his 14th birthday.
University of Virginia has been my first choice all along,”
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 country’s best universities.”
officials are equally excited about Smith’s selection. Gene
Block, vice president 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 it’s 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 (with minors in history and
biology) and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and five other honor
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 children’s rights around the world. He founded International
Youth Advocates and has served as youth ambassador for the Christian
Children’s 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 Ireland’s Betty Williams and
South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His tireless efforts
have brought him before the United Nations Security Council and
several state legislatures.
of Smith’s 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
precocious wisdom of his message, plus his gifted intellect and
humble manner, have made him a favorite among media. He has appeared
four times on “The Oprah Show,” been profiled twice
on “60 Minutes” and been on the cover of numerous periodicals.
His graduation from Randolph-Macon was covered by the major networks,
and he continues to field a steady stream of interviews for domestic
and international print and broadcast media.
in 2002 and 2003 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
lives in Albemarle County with his mother, Janet, and father, Robert.
Lee Graves, (434) 924-6857 or Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189