CANTON -- Zachary J. Smith of Lisbon was recently honored with the 2013 SUNY Canton Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award.
Smith, an industrial technology major, designed, engineered, managed and led the construction of a $60,000 primary school and training facility in South Sudan.
"My adviser thought the project would fit well with my academic pursuits," Smith said. "So I dropped my scheduled spring 2012 classes and worked in central Africa."
Smith was selected as the college's Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate in partial acknowledgement of his outstanding missionary work.
He was also the vice president of the Campus Ministries club and received a certificate of appreciation for his volunteer work from the Christian Fellowship Center in Madrid.
"Zach's phenomenal mind gave him the extraordinary power to love and serve more people than most normally would," said Yu Chin Cheng, an assistant professor and Smith's adviser. "He is intelligent, diligent and honest. He always has a smile on his face. It has been an honor to be his academic adviser."
Smith started college with the goal of graduating with a triple major. He has earned two associate degrees, one in construction technology management and another in business administration. He will graduate with a bachelor's degree in industrial technology management. Smith has maintained a 3.77 GPA.
After earning his construction technology management degree, Smith started his own construction and contracting business.
He attributes his ability to start Z&S Construction to the skills he learned while earning his degree. "It has been my primary means of income since I started the business in 2011," he said.