With a $100,000 gift in early 2008, Russell G. Smith II established the Smith/Patterson Science Journalism Fellowship and Lecture Series. Smith named the gift in honor of former MU Professor Joye Patterson, who was Smith’s mentor during graduate school. At MU, Patterson, who received her master’s degree in 1962 and her doctorate degree in 1966, taught science writing at the journalism school from 1966 to 1988. Patterson passed away in 2012.
Fellows work with the Health Communication Research Center (HCRC) at the journalism school. HCRC’s mission is to promote research to improve communication between the health care community and the public. Twice a year, the Smith/Patterson lecture series hosts visiting professionals to discuss current trends in science journalism.
Initially, the Fellowship was awarded to a graduate student in the Missouri School of Journalism and it was good for the entire academic year. In 2013 that was changed to become a summer Fellowship offered to a Master’s student at any U.S. college or university interested in health or science communication with a journalism, science or business background.
Russell G. Smith II was raised in St. Louis and has been active in the Joplin business community for the past 36 years. Smith earned a bachelor of journalism degree in 1967 and a Master of Arts degree in science writing and public relations in 1971, both from MU. He is the managing partner of MYRUSH Futures, LP, a Midwest investment property and consulting firm. Previously, he was Missouri division president of May’s Drug Stores Inc., based in Tulsa, Okla. Smith and his wife, Gail, who received a bachelor’s degree in education from MU in 1968, live in Joplin; Naples, Fla.; and Telluride, Colo.