By Sally Harris
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 08 - October 15, 1998
Virginia Tech is mourning the October 3 death of Joyce Gentry Smoot, assistant head of the Department of English.
The English department is planning a memorial service for the academic community, to be announced in the near future. A scholarship has been established in Smoot's name.
"Her loss is an immense one," said Johann Norstedt, English department head. "We shall certainly feel it for some time."
Smoot was the department scheduler and also dealt with personnel matters and assisted in hiring instructors, Norstedt said. "She did so many things around here, and she did them with skill, perseverance, and good cheer," he said.
Fellow professor Paul Sorrentino said of Smoot: "An excellent administrator widely admired in the English department, Joyce was an important leader for many years who never sought public recognition and who worked with tact, insight, and integrity. Those of us who knew her are better human beings because of it. We will never forget her."
Smoot began her service to Virginia Tech as a graduate teaching assistant in English in 1969 and became instructor of English in 1978. In 1983, she became director of the Virginia Tech English department's Writing Center and, in 1986, assistant to the director of Undergraduate Studies. She coordinated the department's Writing Program in 1990-91 and was named assistant department head in 1991, a position she held until her death. She also coordinated several writing workshops for the Virginia Department of Personnel and Training.
Smoot was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. She was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and had received several academic honors. She had published on such topics as writing across the curriculum in a land-grant university, editing professional writing, and computers and college writing.
The Department of English will announce the date of its memorial service. Anyone wishing to contribute to the memorial scholarship can send contributions to the Joyce Gentry Smoot Scholarship Fund of the Virginia Tech Foundation, c/o Office of University Development, 201 Pack Bld. (0336), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA 24061.