Mike Smeltzer, ’70
Educating public health students today and long into the future
Even though Mike grew up on the West Coast, once he came to Columbus, he became a Buckeye for life. During his Ohio State education and career in public health, Mike learned the importance of a solid educational foundation. Today he is dedicated to supporting the next generation of public health professionals.
Mike’s career in public health started in microbiology because of a Petri dish. While attending Ohio State, Mike’s roommate came home with several Petri dishes from one of his classes. Mike was fascinated by the colonies in the dishes and decided to pursue a major in microbiology.
“I became familiar with public health during my first job working in a lab at the Ohio Department of Health,” he said. “I witnessed the impact of their efforts and how everyone worked together to accomplish their goals. I knew pursuing a career in public health was the best fit for me.”
Upon earning his degree in public health from University of North Carolina, Mike returned to Columbus and began working for the Columbus Public Health Department. He worked in a diverse group of areas throughout his career, including AIDS response, violence prevention, injury prevention, and much more. He retired four years ago as the Director of the Division of Planning and Peak Performance, responsible for earning national accreditation for the department.
Mike continues to make an impact on the community through his volunteer work and mission trips around the globe. He has traveled to places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, and Bolivia to help build schools, churches, and health clinics.
Mike is committed to supporting graduate students in the College of Public Health. His scholarship gifts will help create a link for students to the community of public health professionals at an earlier point in their education so that they can get a head start on their careers.
“I hope my gift will make a difference in a student’s ability to successfully complete a program in public health who, in turn, will make the world a better place for the communities they serve,” said Mike.
Using the IRA charitable rollover, Mike is able to support scholarships today while also enjoying significant tax benefits. He will be able to sustain the scholarship support for future students through a gift from his estate plan.
“It is beyond gratifying to know that I am helping someone pursue their dreams,” he said. “I urge everyone to support an area that they’re connected to and matters to them. There are so many giving options to consider, and the university makes the whole process simple to understand.”
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