Smart TalkGAMBIER, Ohio (April 30, 2012)
Basketball coaching star Shaka Smart '99, who defined the role of student athlete while at Kenyon, returns to Gambier for an evening conversation with students on May 3.
Smart rocketed to sports fame during the 2011 NCAA men's Division I basketball tournament when he took unheralded Virginia Commonwealth University to the Final Four. He guided the team back to the NCAA tournament this year. After the Rams bowed out of the 2012 tournament, Smart appeared as a national television commentator.
Smart was a standout point guard on the Lords basketball team but was even more impressive in the classroom. The history major graduated magna cum laude. "I was pretty driven," he told the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin in an interview last year. "I really studied a lot, spent a lot of time at the library. I came to college with a drive to do well that my mother instilled in me."
Because of the interest in seeing Smart, "An Evening with Shaka Smart" has been moved to Rosse Hall and is now open to the entire Kenyon community at 5:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Student Lectureships.
Smart is an inspiration to Kenyon students, said Lydia Winkler '13 of Summit, New Jersey. "He was Phi Beta Kappa here, and he was an athlete here," she said. "Going to a small liberal arts school where around 500 students are athletes, we can really relate to him. We have a lot in common in that way."
Winkler is co-chair of Student Lectureships and a Ladies tennis player.
"We wanted Kenyon students to get to see the real Shaka Smart in person," Winkler said. "Everyone is excited. What Shaka has accomplished after Kenyon is not only impressive but instills confidence in students to go after what they want."