Earl Nathan Smith III, an assistant Dean at the University of Rhode Island and champion of multicultural education, died peacefully at his home in Newport, on the evening of March 1, 2022 with his family by his side. He was 55.

Born in Newport, he is survived by his parents, Yvonne (Alexander) Smith, of Newport, and Earl N. Smith Jr., of Taunton, Massachusetts. He is also survived by his loving brother, Kevin A. Smith and his wife Sonia, of Newport, Michael Jenkins and his wife Tanya,of San Diego, CA, and most importantly, the jewel of his life; his son Earl Nathan Smith IV, residing in North Providence, with his mom Ana. He also leaves four uncles, two aunts, two nephews, two nieces and one great-nephew.

He was a 1984 graduate of Rogers High School and a 1989 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he was a member of the 1985 Yankee Conference Championship football team. He earned a Master of Social Work from Rhode Island College in 1996 and pursued his doctorate in Social Work at Howard University.

Earl founded the URI Cabo Verde Summer Study Abroad Program and led his students from his own undergraduate alma mater on servicing-learning to the homeland of his ancestors. He introduced students to local fishing, by traditional handling of marlin and tuna. He also took them to visit historic sites known for their role in transatlantic slave trade. Students also participated in education sessions at a school in the capital of Praia, which received funds for supplies and computer technology as a result of his successful grant writing efforts.

He was a founding member and president of the Faculty and Staff Association of the African Diaspora (FSAAD) as well as the Black Student Leadership Group. He was Assistant Director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, and also President of the Paul Cuffee School Board.

Prior to his appointment to Assistant Dean of URI’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2007, he served as professor and freshman advisor at University College. Earl was admired for his patience and willingness to to listen, his humility and his kindness. He loved fishing, the Las Vegas Raiders and recently spent a memorable time ice fishing in Maine, with his son, other family members and closest friends. To know Earl, is to love Earl.
Calling hours will be held on March 26, 2022, from 2-4 pm and 5-7 pm at Memorial Funeral Home 375 Broadway in Newport.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Earl’s name may be made to the URI Talent Development Program, Taft Hall, 9 Lippitt Road Kingston, RI 02881 Donation Link: http://bit.ly/tdnationfund 

Memorial Funeral Home

This obituary was originally published by Memorial Funeral Home on www.memorialfuneralhome.com. It has been republished here with permission and at no cost.