The Success Story of Lynette Shaw-Smith '83
"Going to MacMurray made me who I am today. I was a painfully shy girl from a small town who, while attending MacMurray, grew into a confident, outgoing person who now travels the world and is open to new ideas and experiences. I learned ideas that I had never heard before from amazing, caring, demanding professors. I was lucky. MacMurray was home. I became an English professor because I was inspired by Mac professor Dr. Hale and by my sister, Lori Shaw Slayden ’85. I am thankful every day for the wonderful life my Mac degree has given me. Since I had to attend a large university for my graduate work, I know how special small colleges like MacMurray are."
Lynette Shaw-Smith grew up in nearby Pittsfield, Illinois, and attended MacMurray because it was small and close to home. When she visited, she really liked the campus and all of the people whom she met. She graduated summa cum laude from MacMurray College in 1983 with a bachelor of arts in English and secondary education. While attending MacMurray, Shaw-Smith was membership vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, a night editor and reporter for the campus newspaper The Daily Other, an editor for the College literary magazine, Montage; a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society; Mortar Board; Theta Sigma; and the theater technical crew. She received the Ruby N. Berlin Award for English and graduated with English departmental honors.
After graduating, Shaw-Smith received a master’s fellowship and Ph.D. fellowship at the University of Missouri at Columbia where she earned a master’s of arts in linguistics/rhetoric and did her Ph.D. coursework. While at Mizzou, she taught composition, literature, and technical writing.
Since 1997, Shaw-Smith has been a professor of English and English as a second language (ESL) at Benedictine University at Springfield (formerly Springfield College in Illinois). She was also the academic coordinator for the Intensive English Immersion Program. Prior to teaching at Benedictine, Shaw-Smith taught English and ESL at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, at Mission College in Santa Clara, California, and at Golden Gate Language School in Campbell, California. She also worked as a technical writer at IBM in San Jose, California, and in Tucson, Arizona, and at Apollo Programming in Los Altos, California. Shaw-Smith was an editor for the University of Missouri Press and Soil Tech Environmental Engineering.
Shaw-Smith has been a manuscript referee for Public Voices (a Rutgers University journal for public administrators) since 2001, a member of and secretary for the MacMurray College Alumni Board, a participant in Study Circles for Race Relations in Springfield, Illinois, a volunteer tutor at Santa Teresa High School for ESL and writing courses, a member of the San Jose Museum of Art, and a member of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. She received the LaFata Endowed Chair Award for teaching excellence and service to Springfield College and Best Professor at Springfield College elected by housing students.
Shaw-Smith was followed to MacMurray by her sister, Lori Shaw Slayden ’85, her niece, Cheryl Elledge Lummis ’96, and her “son,” Nestor Guerra ’08.
Shaw-Smith married California native Scott Smith in 1989 and moved him home to Illinois in 1993. In June 2009, they renewed their wedding vows for their 20th wedding anniversary at Annie Merner Chapel. When they are not travelling across the country and around the world, they live in Springfield, Illinois.