Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Honors the Generosity and Dedication of Longtime Benefactor and Noted Physician Dr. Charles M. Smith
Philanthropist, physician, veteran and community leader, Dr. Charles Smith will be missed by the Mary Bird Perkins family, following his passing on Sept. 15. A Bogalusa native and LSU alum, Dr. Smith led a life dedicated to serving his community, through a successful medical practice spanning six decades, through his service to LSU as a charter member of the LSU College of Science, as a Lipsey Legacy Society member of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Foundation and through his generous investment in the future of cancer care.
A cancer survivor, Dr. Smith established the Dr. Charles M. Smith Chair of Medical Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005. The $1 million chair was created in partnership with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and with matching funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund. His generous endowment played a major role in establishing the program as a leader in medical physics education and research in the country.
"Dr. Smith was the catalyst for the incredible growth of our joint LSU—Mary Bird Perkins physics program that continues to this day," says Dr. Jonas Fontenot, chief of physics and chief operating officer, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. "He had a vision not only to improve cancer care in Louisiana and across the Gulf South but, as a cancer survivor, was also inspired by the opportunity to elevate the field of medical physics to improve cancer care for everyone."
The program has become a nationally-recognized, accredited graduate medical physics program offering a master's degree, a doctorate and residency training in a state-of-the-art facility. Dr. Smith's generous support has allowed the program to attract top talent to our state and engage in leading-edge research that is transforming the future of cancer care.
"As the benefactor of the Foundation, Dr. Smith made a significant investment in the medical physics program," says Todd Stevens, President and CEO, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. "This critical investment has positioned the program to attract the highest quality of faculty and students and provided training and educational resources on par with or exceeding the quality of medical physics education offered anywhere in the country."
His devotion to serving his community and improving the lives of his fellow citizens was evident in every aspect of his life, and his longtime support for the medical physics program will continue to improve the lives of those affected by cancer for generations to come.