Jerry Smith’s decades-long commitment to DeKalb and to the university embodies the true spirit of community service that NIU seeks to instill in its student body.
Jerry’s journalistic career began as student editor of The Northern Star. He subsequently joined Castle-PrinTech in 1969 as editor of the DeKalb County Journal, a daily newspaper later sold to the Daily Chronicle. For the next 12 years, he was editorial director of the company’s TV Time/TV Day business, which provided television-related materials to newspapers across the country. In 1983, he was named Castle-PrinTech president, spearheading its growth from a small, local operation to national recognition as a leading provider of newspaper inserts and advertising material.
For the nine years prior to his retirement in December 2008, Smith was Executive Director of the DeKalb County Community Foundation, the area’s leading philanthropic organization with an asset base of over $25 million.
There were many volunteer jobs, honors and accolades for Smith along the way. Just to name a few: past Vice-Chair of the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Board of Directors; board presidencies of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb United Way, Kishwaukee Kiwanis; recipient of the NIU Foundation’s President’s Award for Service; recognition as a “Huskie Legend” by the NIU Athletic Department; and Northern Star Hall of Fame inductee.