Kariana Smith of McCormick died tragically in a boating accident in Lexington County in September of 2007, one year after she graduated from Lander University. On March 21, on what would have been her 26th birthday, her family and friends created a scholarship at Lander to honor her memory.
Kari, as she was known to those closest to her, graduated in 2006 with a degree in exercise science and was working as a personal trainer at The Body Shop in Lexington at the time of her death. She received a LIFE scholarship during each of her four years at Lander.
The Kariana Elise Smith Scholarship will be awarded to students enrolled, as she was, in Lander's Physical Education and Exercise Science program. To be considered, applicants must be incoming freshmen with a high school grade point average of at least 3.0. They have to have been active in high school sports and have to be a Lander athlete, preferably a member of the women's softball team. Kari played softball at Lander for two seasons and was the assistant junior varsity softball coach at Greenwood High School.
While at McCormick High School, she won several awards as a standout softball, basketball and volleyball player, and for academic achievements. She was a member of the National Honor Society, president of the Beta Club and a Palmetto Girl's State representative. She had many other interests, including music.
When Kari received her degree from Lander, she continued a family tradition that began with her grandmother, Doshia Smith of Saluda, who graduated from the university in 1946. Kari's mother, Ginnie, is a 1974 graduate, and her father, Jimmy, received his degree in 1977. Her brother, Kirk, the marketing director at Savannah Lakes Village and a member of Lander's Board of Visitors, and his wife, Michelle, graduated from Lander in 2000.
In acknowledging creation of the scholarship, Lander's vice president for University Advancement Adam Taylor told the Smiths, "I can think of no better way to honor the wonderful person your daughter was than through the lives of our current and future students." He said the scholarship would assure that Kari will be remembered at Lander well into the future.
Contributions to the Kariana Elise Smith Scholarship may be made payable to The Lander Foundation and mailed to the Office of University Advancement, Lander University, 320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, S.C., 29649.