In 1997, Steve Smith, a former MSU basketball All-American, 14-year NBA veteran and member of the 2003 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, donated $2.5 million toward the construction of the Clara Bell Smith Student Athlete Academic Center. This donation, in memory of his mother, Clara Bell Smith, is the largest gift ever by a professional athlete to any college or university. The donation helped fund the construction of the $7.5 million facility, a comprehensive study center for student-athletes.
The two-story, 31,000-square foot Smith Center serves over 700 student-athletes in all of MSU's Division I sports. It also houses a 210-seat auditorium, a "hall of fame" gallery, two study halls, 60 computers split between two computer labs, structured study areas, a student lounge, a conference room, four classrooms, tutoring rooms, a director's office, academic advisor offices and a reception area.
A LOOK AT MSU STUDENT-ATHLETE SUPPORT SERVICES
Academic, personal, and professional support is essential to college success. At MSU, Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS), housed within the Clara Bell Smith Center, helps student-athletes reach their full potential.
Our philosophy is to offer an academic support program that will assist all student-athletes with the transition to college and integrate with the total university. This all-encompassing support continues throughout the student-athlete's collegiate career, until the day he or she receives a diploma, lands a job, or enters graduate school.
Academic counseling, career exploration, planning and placement, and academic assistance through tutorial programs are just some of the ways we encourage student success.
Being proactive rather than reactive, our staff does not wait for an academic crisis to occur. We gather important background information and build an academic profile on each student-athlete, assessing his or her needs in advance. We also stay informed on the daily progress of each student-athlete.
Freshmen and transfer student-athletes encounter a major transition when making the switch from high school or community college to a university. These students, while adjusting to their new routines, receive extra attention and support.
College is not easy. But with hard work and dedication from both the student-athlete and the support staff, the student-athlete can have a successful college experience.
There are a total of 13 staff members to assist in and work with the following:
- Priority registration
- Track academic progress
- Monitor grades
- Conduct weekly meetings with freshmen
- Conduct eligibility meetings
- Learning Specialists Services
- Structured study area
- Quiet study areas
- Computerized check-in system
- 10 individual meeting rooms
- Multicultural Center
- Two staffed computer labs
- 64 computers
- Four classrooms
- All rooms equipped with wireless internet access
- 210-seat multimedia auditorium