Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Established for UCA College of Business Students

The family of Tom J. Smith has established a memorial scholarship in his honor at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), his alma mater, to support students pursuing undergraduate degrees in the College of Business. The inaugural award will be given to support a student for the fall 2021 semester.

Tom J. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UCA in 1971 through hard work and diligence, working multiple jobs to fund his education, and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Higher education made a significant difference in his life, opening doors to many opportunities and eventually propelling him to the position of Administrator of Accounting for the State of Arkansas through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).

“From his roots to his career, he achieved a fulfilling life and would be delighted to extend what he learned to help others advance,” said his wife Donna on behalf of the Smith family. “We feel that establishing a perpetual scholarship at UCA is a fitting memorial, continuing the legacy of our husband and father, who always extended a helping hand and enriched the lives of others.”

To be awarded the Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship, applicants must be Arkansas residents who are attending college full time in pursuit of an undergraduate degree in the UCA College of Business. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and maintain a 2.75 grade point average or higher.

Smith had strong ties to Van Buren county, where he was laid to rest near his family farm. He also had strong ties to UCA’s Accounting program, which started his career. Although all applicants who meet the primary requirements will be considered, first preference will be given to applicants who are Van Buren county residents, and second preference will be given to those who are pursuing a degree in accounting.

Smith’s family established the memorial scholarship in July 2021 to grant continuous opportunities for students like him. Others are also welcome to contribute to his memorial through gifts to the Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund at the University of Central Arkansas Foundation.

For more information about the Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship, visit

More About Tom J. Smith:

Tom J. Smith, 70 of Greenbrier, Arkansas, was born February 8, 1949, and departed this life unexpectedly on November 8, 2019, in Conway. His parents were Loyd B. Smith and Velma L. Towery of Shirley, Arkansas. Tom remained a lifelong resident of Arkansas. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1967, serving his senior year as Student Council President and Editor of The Torch Yearbook. While working multiple jobs to help fund his college education, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Arkansas in 1971. He started his career in Little Rock as a tax auditor in state government. There he met his loving wife of 46 years, Donna Alexander. They married in Mountain Home, Arkansas in 1973 and launched a wonderful life together.

Tom spent most of his career in the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s Office of Accounting, where he was promoted to Assistant Administrator and then to Administrator of State Accounting. His office was responsible for distributing tax revenues to all state agencies according to appropriation laws set during each legislative session and clarifying state laws and guidelines to support compliance among state agencies. He retired from DFA Accounting in 2005.

He credited much of his success to his academic experience and training at UCA. Tom was the first in his family to graduate from college, and he believed the education he earned made a significant difference in his life.

A country boy raised on his family farm in Van Buren County near Clinton, Tom enjoyed cattle auctions and Bluegrass music. He had a deep love for Arkansas and enjoyed exploring its back roads, driving around the beautiful countryside, and collecting rocks in the shape of Arkansas. Our Dad loved “his girls,” camaraderie with relatives and friends, and time with his dogs. “Papa Bear” also loved spending time with his beloved grandchildren. He was a prankster and well known for his sense of humor and generosity. In retirement he enjoyed farming, vegetable gardening, cooking, and gallivanting.

Tom J. Smith is survived by his wife Donna; daughters Allison Smith-Thompson (Dustin) and Whitney Smith-Knight (Randy); brothers Charles Smith (Glenda) and Edward Smith of Clinton; grandchildren Haley, Katlyn, and Tanner Thompson; plus many loving relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, nephew Jeff Smith, and granddaughter Tyler Thompson.

A memorial celebration of Tom’s life was held at Roller McNutt Funeral Home in Greenbrier on November 16, 2019, and he was buried at Pee Dee Cemetery next to the family farm. Donations honoring Tom may be made to the Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund at the University of Central Arkansas Foundation. His family believes that Tom would be honored to help young people attend UCA, establish a successful career, and make a difference in the world in their own way.