Garvin E. (Stretch) Smith '53
2012 Recipient P.E. MacAllister Distinguished Alumnus Award for Service to Carroll
For most, this man needs no introduction as he has been a friendly face on campus, and well- known by students, their families, alumni and staff for decades. Garvin “Stretch” Smith came to Carroll from the Kamehameha School for Boys in Honolulu in 1949. Referred by his minister at Kamehameha, Rev. John Mullholland ‘26, and upon the assistance of Rev. Zachariah Davies ’14, who was Carroll’s religious studies professor at the time, Garvin made the journey to Carroll to what seemed like a place so far away.
Stretch was eager, enthusiastic and quickly became dedicated to Carroll. While a student, he was involved in many activities and organizations including Phi Theta Pi (vice-president and president), Student Senate, Interfraternity Council, Echo, Business Administration Club, Football, Track, House Council, and junior class vice president. Some of his fondest memories at Carroll were ringing the bell outside Voorhees the night that Eisenhower was elected president, his fraternity singing the Hawaiian War Chant for the All School Sing—singing it in Hawaiian, and receiving first place; and most importantly, meeting the beautiful Virginia Smith ’53. Carroll was a place he felt comfortable from the start, and still holds much affection for. In his words, “Carroll is more than just a school—it’s a family, a community.”
Graduating in 1953 with a B.A. degree in business administration, Garvin led a 38 year career as a successful salesman for Tekra Corporation in New Berlin. He may also be called Carroll’s greatest salesman. Over the years, countless young men and women have visited Carroll as a direct result of his efforts. He has enjoyed informally recruiting students to Carroll, and seeing the bright future ahead for the graduates that he has been involved with. He has personally brought carloads of high school students for visits including musicians, dramatists, debaters as well as athletes. His Carroll experience had been so transformative, and he wanted others to have that experience as well.
After retirement, Stretch has also become one of the Pioneers biggest fans attending most athletic events. He has distinguished himself as a loyal follower, concerned alumnus, dedicated spectator, and involved parent—four of his five children continued the family’s tradition of attending Carroll, including Dick Smith ’77, Sandra L. Cunningham ’78 (serving member on Carroll’s Alumni Council), Glen Smith ’89 and Charlie Smith ‘92. When asked if there was any advice he would give to today’s students, he states, “Take an active part in what’s going on at Carroll—be part of the community.” There can be no doubt that Stretch exemplifies the qualities of an alumnus who is dedicated to serving his alma mater, and is an outstanding example of one who helps make the Carroll community such a special place.