2011 Carthage Flame Award Recipient
Edward W. Smeds, ’57, the first Carthage graduate to serve as chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, received the 23rd Carthage Flame in 2011.
Mr. Smeds is a Chicago native who earned his degree in business administration. He was captain of the tennis team, and manager of the Red Men football and basketball teams. He earned a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations from the University of Illinois, and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard.
In 1961, Mr. Smeds joined Kraft Foods in human resources, and began a 33-year career. He became senior vice president for human resources in 1977, followed by an appointment as senior vice president of finance and administration in 1980.
Mr. Smeds went to Australia in 1984 as chairman of Kraft Foods Ltd., Australia; and president of Kraft Foods International, Asia/Pacific Region. He later was transferred to Canada, serving as president of Kraft Food Ltd., Canada. He completed his career with Kraft General Foods as president—operations, retiring in 1994.
Mr. Smeds and his wife, Alice (Lawler) Smeds, ’57, have been most generous to the College. In 1999, they were lead donors for the Smeds Tennis Center.
“Alice and I realized we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a significant impact on our alma mater,” Mr. Smeds said at the time. “Few opportunities like this come along for us to say ‘thank you’ to an institution and to certain individuals who have meant so much to us.”
Some years earlier, Mr. Smeds established the Smeds Executive Internship program. Originally open only to students majoring in business-related fields, the program has been broadened to welcome students from throughout the College.
“I was impressed by the caliber of student we were preparing,” Mr. Smeds said in 1998. “I knew that given a chance to display their talent, Carthage students would perform favorably.”
Mr. Smeds joined the Board of Trustees in 1990, the same year he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. He was elected chairman in 1997. He also is past Chairman of Thrivent Mutual Funds, and a director of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Smeds live in Naples, Florida, and spend summers in Northfield, Illinois. They have two grown children.