Hunter Wallace Smith ’68, Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
During the "An Evening on Williams Hill" event held Sept. 23, Hunter Wallace Smith ’68, was awarded the Alan F. Brooks ’55 Distinguished Alumni Award. Established in 2013 and endowed by the Class of 1966, the award is presented annually and honors an individual who exemplifies, in thought, word and deed, the school’s mission and who practices Westminster’s core values of community, character, balance and involvement.
In presenting the award, Head of School Elaine White said, “Hunter’s record at Westminster captures his commitment to building community.”
Smith is one of the school’s longest serving class agents, a role he assumed after his 1968 graduation. He has served on the executive committee of the Alumni Association twice, first in the 1980s and then returning in 2019. He attended his 25th, 35th and 40th reunions, and served as a reunion committee member in 2013 and 2018.
While a student at Westminster, Smith was a member of the John Hay Society, Dramat, Yearbook, Choir, Harmonairs, Connecticut Valley State Hospital volunteers, St. Michael’s Tutoring Program and Kitchen Crew. He played football, ran track (co-captain) and skied.
“He had a stellar three years on the Hill, which laid an excellent path for his brother, Stephen P. Smith ’72, to follow,” said White.
Smith received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Kent State University School of Architecture and Environmental design in 1974. He has been engaged in the field of architecture since 1976, designing for both residential and commercial projects. He began his architecture company, Hunter Smith Associates in Hamden, Conn., in 1981 and grew his business to a 14-person firm focused on both new construction and renovation. Smith is now operating the company as a sole practitioner in order to focus his attention on design work and construction management as opposed to the operation of a large practice.
Smith currently lives in Hamden with his wife, Sally Roumanis. He has two sons, Hunter Smith Jr. and Brett Smith; Sally and he share four grandchildren. They are beekeepers and enjoy biking — including when traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe.
“Hunter is not the type of person who is perfunctory in his involvement; he commits his whole self to each committee and each reunion,” said White. “He is dedicated to his class and to this school. He has juried student architecture shows. He made blown up cardboard cutouts of the faces of his classmates on Popsicle sticks for their 45th reunion, and when shortly after that 45th, classmate Doug Griffin ’68 was seriously injured in a car accident, Hunter led a class effort to buy him a 21-speed tricycle to help with his physical therapy. Hunter even gathered the local classmates and delivered the bike, jumping out of the delivery truck with balloons. In the lead up to and during his 50th reunion, he partnered with Porter Berry ’68 (co-class agent) to encourage their classmates to gather, resulting in 90% of their class returning to Williams Hill. Indeed, they are the heart and soul of the class. In the spring of 2021, Hunter spearheaded the two Zoom gatherings for the class of 1968, he has motivated his classmates by offering challenge gifts on giving days, and he has been a member of the Thring Society since 2021.
“In every moment when his classmates or the school needed him, Hunter Smith has responded, and this commitment to our community is nowhere more evident than in his foundational role as head prefect for the Seventh Form.
“The Seventh Form was created to provide opportunities for alumni who have celebrated their 50th reunion to make and renew connections within and across class years, find shared passions and interests, and learn with and from each other. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Hunter has attended all the programs, every focus group, both luncheons over the summer, asked the most thoughtful questions and encouraged fellow alumni to be involved.
“Hunter, the Seventh Form owes its success to you, to your selflessness, to your willingness to put your classmates and others before yourself. For having exemplified, in thought, word and deed, the school’s mission and for having practiced Westminster’s core values of community, character, balance and involvement every day of your life,” said White.
Smith thanked the Westminster community for the award, commenting: “My dad, who lived until 97, passed away a little over a year ago. I wish I could call him up and share this with him. When I was Westminster, the bulk of the conversations we had usually happened at the at the end of the marking period when we were having discussions about me being on the edge academically — and that was not on the leading edge!”
He spoke about his appreciation of his Westminster education. “It takes a while to really recognize how much — and what — we learned here at Westminster. It takes the perspective of time. We learned teamwork from participating in sports, we learned to excel at those things we have talents for and how to find passion,” he said.
It was at Westminster, through classes he took in engineering, art and math that Smith started to think that architecture might be a good career choice for him.
He also learned the value of perseverance and hard work during his time on the Hill. “There have been dozens and dozens of times in my life where I had to put the effort out, work harder, do the extra mile –– all that I learned here,” he said.
He noted that the connections he has made with his class and classmates continues to grow. “It’s something that is really extraordinary, and it comes from having been up here on the Hill, spending your life with so many who have become friends for life,” he said.
In closing, he acknowledged the hard work being done by the Advancement Office. “There is such a phenomenal group here supporting the school’s growth, helping to expand opportunities for more students to come here and to have what we all had the wonderful ability to participate in," he said. "That is why I am so committed to working with them because I know it’s going to going to give others a chance to find their passions and to connect with a great group of people who will be friends for life.”