UConn Law Grad Starts Teaching Fellowship

Stuart F. Smith believes the fellowship is 'a way of creating a stronger, more nurturing, and more effective environment.'

Stuart Smith headshot

Stuart Smith's gift was inspired by conversations with Dean Eboni S. Nelson.

A new gift from an alum will create a two-year teaching fellowship designed to give recent law school graduates and practicing lawyers a taste of what it’s like to be a law school professor.

The fellow will work with mentors to learn such skills as how to write and publish legal scholarship, teach a class, and navigate the job market to become a law professor, says UConn Law Dean Eboni S. Nelson. The fellowship also seeks to contribute to the diversity of the legal academy.

Stuart F. Smith ’80 decided to make the gift after talking to the dean about how beneficial it is for students to have professors from a wide variety of backgrounds in the classroom.

“It’s a way of creating a stronger, more nurturing, and more effective environment,” Smith says. “As a society and within the law school, I think there are benefits for everyone when you enhance diversity.”

Nelson says the gift will help the law school to better prepare its students for the multicultural, global society in which they will be living and working.

“It’s important to have faculty with diverse experiences and backgrounds to provide various perspectives as they educate the next generation of leaders,” she says. “As the state’s only public flagship law school and the responsibilities and opportunities that come with that, it’s important that we have a wonderfully diverse faculty, staff, and student body, all of whom greatly enrich our learning environment.”

While the fellow is not obligated to join the UConn law school faculty afterward, the hope is that they will jell with the students and faculty and decide to stay in the profession, creating a pipeline to UConn law school and other law schools.

Smith says he was inspired to give the fellowship after meeting with Nelson.

“I found Eboni Nelson remarkably inspiring in her vision for the community. She’s amazingly accomplished and effective. When you meet somebody like that it’s hard not to be supportive,” he says.

Smith grew up in Farmington, and attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Upon graduating, he went straight to UConn Law, practiced law for two years as a litigator, then decided to try something different. He enrolled in an MBA program at Columbia University and launched a career in investment banking. He is currently a partner at Centerview Partners, a Manhattan-based merger and acquisition-focused firm.

“I have a very strong and positive feeling for UConn law school,” he says. “It was extremely helpful to me. Even though I really didn’t practice law much at all, the benefits I got from it and the relationships I’ve maintained from that mean a lot to me.”

“UConn Law is extremely grateful for Stuart’s generous support that made the Stuart F. Smith Teaching Fellowship possible,” Nelson says. “Because of his commitment to diversity, belonging, and excellence, we will be able to positively impact the lives of aspiring law professors while enhancing our law school community and the legal academy more broadly.”

Smith lives in New Canaan with his wife, Amy, and has three daughters, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter. When he’s not at work, he enjoys walking his standard poodle, working out, reading, and connecting with friends and family.