Edie Edwards Smith – The Impact of Alumni Engagement

Lee Snelling, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, recently spent an afternoon with CoP Alumna Edie Edwards Smith ’84, ’87 to gain her perspective on the career of a pharmacist, life as a true Dawg fan, and how she stays connected with her beloved UGA. The following is a reflection of their time spent together.

Something we all have in common is that we bleed red. But after 11 years at the University of Georgia, I have come to learn there are those among us who bleed red and black. The passion for this university runs deep in their veins, and you just know it when you are around them. Edie Edwards Smith ’84, ’87, is such a person. Edie is not the obnoxious sports fan type. She is pure class. Edie’s love for her university is unquestionable. And it all developed at an early age. 

Edie grew up in Butler, Georgia, located along U.S. Route 19, with a population of 1,900 inhabitants. The chosen location of the town was based on it being the halfway point between Columbus and Macon. The Central of Georgia Railway created the ‘Fifty Mile Station’ in Butler, since it was 50 miles between each city. From a young age though, Edie knew her future was destined far beyond Butler and 50 miles.

Edie has fond memories growing up in her hometown, where her great grandfather was a physician and both her grandfather and father were morticians. Early on, Edie knew she wanted to go to school at the University of Georgia. It was her dream to be a Southern Living foods editor. Edie embarked on her higher education journey by pursuing her associate’s degree from what was then Middle Georgia College in Cochran, Ga. After completing an AS in Home Economics Journalism in 1982, Edie’s vision of moving to Athens was realized. 

After starting nutrition classes, which was really a biochemistry major with electives in nutrition, Edie’s chosen path took a very different course. “I totally went from right to left brain,” as Edie describes it. “I was one of two students in this program [in 1984], and the major career paths were research, medical school, or pharmacy school. I had an aunt who was a pharmacist and graduated from UGA, and I decided that I wanted to combine nutrition and pharmacy.” 

Edie remembered how respected pharmacists were in her native Butler. Edie shared, “They were pillars of our local community and very well respected. They knew everyone.” Edie also realized how well being a pharmacist worked out for her Aunt Gloria, particularly when she had a family. During her pharmacy studies, Edie returned to Butler to complete an internship at Smith Pharmacy and worked during the summers at Pennington Pharmacy. 

Upon completing her degrees from Family & Consumer Sciences in 1984 and the College of Pharmacy in 1987, Edie embarked on a career that would see her practice in a variety of settings. Edie worked in industry, designing integrated software for hospital pharmacies. Then she spent time in chain retail and community pharmacy management, and she served as a retail compounding director. Currently, she is back with a small community hospital in Claxton, Ga. 

Edie reached a point in her career and personal life when she wanted to become more involved as an alumna of the University of Georgia. As it was the University that provided so much for her, she knew it was time to give something back herself. Edie has been involved as both a graduate of FACS and the College of Pharmacy. For the past six years, Edie has served on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors as well. 

Edie’s term of service has coincided during a time of unprecedented growth for the University. The Commit to Georgia Campaign exceeded its eight-year, $1.2 billion goal and has gone a long way to removing financial barriers for students. Edie’s focus, as a board member, is to promote opportunities for alumni engagement. This has been done through programs such as Alumni Weekend, 40 Under 40, Bulldog 100, the Mentor Program, Founders Week, and Alumni Awards. With more than 340,000 alumni, UGA has as its goal to provide a variety of ways for Bulldogs to connect with their alma mater. 

Edie has been the College of Pharmacy’s lone representative on the Board of Directors. As her term recently came to a close, Edie expressed what the experience has meant to her. “Being involved in the UGA Alumni Association has enriched my life professionally and personally. I love connecting and reconnecting with our community of PharmDawgs at alumni events. I learn something each time I engage. Beyond that, the staff and alumni have become my greatest friends. It thrills me to be able to give back to the College by offering a scholarship, knowing that I can help a new PharmDawg who will soon be my fellow alumnus.”

Several years ago, Edie created the Gloria Pike Harbuck Scholarship to honor her Aunt Gloria ’57, a fellow graduate of the UGA College of Pharmacy and to support future generations of PharmDawgs. Most recently, Edie joined Dean Kelly Smith ’92, ’93, and several fellow alumni, in Savannah, to promote pharmacy as a career choice for students at Georgia Southern University. Though Edie’s time on the board is winding down, her passion to promote the University of Georgia, along with FACS and the College of Pharmacy, remains strong.

Now a grandmother, with a 16-month old granddaughter and another one on the way this month, Edie looks forward to more time enjoying her variety of hobbies that include singing, gardening, traveling, and genealogy. Edie and her husband of 35 years, Lamar ’83, recently moved to Richmond Hill. Their two sons, Steven ’14 and Taylor ’13, are both UGA graduates and in the peak of their careers. Edie has much to celebrate. 

Edie, we thank you for your loyal and generous service to UGA and the College of Pharmacy.

Be Like Edie! Embrace Engagement! Get Involved!

Are you looking for opportunities to get involved at the UGA College of Pharmacy and stay connected to your alma mater? Become an Alumni Ambassador and help support our students, College, and profession:

  • Share your expertise and present professional development topics and career skills to pharmacy students.
  • Recommend future pharmacists and connect us with prospective students.
  • Share your knowledge of pharmacy careers and the UGA pharmacy program to middle school, high school, and college students in your community.
  • Write congratulatory notes to incoming students welcoming them to the PharmDawg family.
  • Share your story and submit news and professional accomplishments.
  • Help plan and host future College events.
  • Become a preceptor.
  • Identify residency opportunities.

Be Like Edie! For more information, contact Kim Hamby, Director of Alumni Relations.