KOKOMO, Ind. — Today, about one-third of Indiana University’s students earn their degrees at seven regional campuses, including IU Kokomo.
That opportunity is available because of efforts led by Smith Higgins, who was director of what was then called the IU Extension Center at Kokomo, from 1956 to 1959. When the state legislature considered a plan to replace the extension centers with junior colleges, he defended them, believing a network of statewide campuses connected to IU’s reputation and resources was far superior.
Higgins, who championed the dramatic expansion of the extension centers as dean of the Division of Regional Campuses, died Saturday, December 27, 2014, in Bloomington.
“Smith Higgins was a visionary for the regional campuses,” said Chancellor Susan Scieme-Giesecke. “His efforts helped pave a path for the nearly 12,000 alumni of IU Kokomo to realize their dreams of earning a college degree close to home.”
He began his distinguished IU career in South Bend, where he taught mathematics. He was an administrator in Kokomo, South Bend, and Bloomington, including serving as an academic counselor, associate director of the Honors Division, high school coordinator for the School of Mathematics, and finally associate professor of mathematics, before retiring in 1985.
Higgins was born and raised in Nunda, New York, and served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was onboard the USS St. Paul in Tokyo Bay at the signing of the Japanese surrender.
Higgins graduated from Geneseo State Teachers College in 1942, then earned master’s degree in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1955 from the University of Notre Dame.
Services took place Monday, January 5, in Bloomington. Condolences may be sent to his family at allenfuneralhome.org.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.