10:46 AM

Roy and Macaela Smith Endowed Scholarship Makes College Possible for Local Residents

Roy and Macaela Smith Endowed Scholarship Makes College Possible for Local Residents

By Bill Wax, Director of Communications

The Roy and Macaela Smith Community Scholarship reflects the legacy of success and service of its cofounders. Students like Jennifer Mucha of Union, Nebraska, are benefitting. Mucha is one of the first five recipients to receive Smith Scholarships during the current academic year, and many more students will benefit in the future, thanks to Macaela Smith’s commitment to permanently endow this scholarship fund.

R&M Informal 300ppi Roy and Macaela Smith

Roy A. Smith, a longtime member and former chair of the Bellevue University Board of Directors, is perhaps best remembered for his business acumen and his devotion and service to his community. He also was an advocate and supporter of education, including the University, receiving an honorary doctoral degree from the University. In 1991 while serving as Chairman of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, he made worker training and education high priorities. Smith operated award-winning auto dealerships in the Omaha area and is a member of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame and Nebraska Business Hall of Fame.

The Smiths worked tirelessly for decades, serving and supporting numerous causes and non-profit organizations for decades, including the Salvation Army. Macaela Smith was a member and chaired the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary Board. She received numerous awards and other recognition for her efforts in behalf of organizations serving the community.

Both Roy and Macaela Smith have been long-term advocates and supporters of Bellevue University since 1984, when he joined the Board of (then) Bellevue College. “Roy loved being involved at Bellevue University because of the type of students that it helps to educate,” Mrs. Smith said. “He wanted to help students who want to make a better life for themselves and their families, and who gave back to others by being involved in their schools and community activities.”

Mac J Mucha J Martinez Pix Scholarship recipient Jennifer Mucha, center, chats with donor Macaela Smith, left, and Johnna Martinez, Manager, Scholarships and Grants.

The scholarship, which enabled Mucha to complete her B.A. in Health Science degree in August without additional student loan debt, really helped. “By working two jobs I could manage to give our kids all they needed,” Mucha said, “but I would not have been able to afford my education without the Roy and Macaela Smith Scholarship and other financial assistance.”

Mucha’s story is fairly typical of the type of working student that Bellevue University helps to educate. After graduating from Plattsmouth High School in 1996, she enrolled in Metropolitan Community College. Then came marriage, a daughter and a son. She and her husband teamed to build a good life. When their children were small, she was a stay-at-home mom. She eventually completed an Associate’s degree in Medical Billing and Coding at Metro. She transferred to Bellevue University to complete her bachelor’s degree and is now a full-time payment representative at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and works part-time for the Plattsmouth Animal Hospital. “Every class that you take at Bellevue University exposes you to something new. It has been totally worth it. I want to show my kids that college is important,” she said.  Mucha is now earning an M.B.A. degree from the University, with a concentration in Healthcare.  Her career goal is to be a financial analyst.

“This scholarship helped lessen my financial burden, no small thing, especially when you consider that my daughter will be in college herself next year, and my son right behind her,” Mucha said. “I am so appreciative I was selected as a scholarship recipient, and for the quality of the education I am receiving.”