September 19, 2021

A Memory Not Soon Forgotten

As students and staff returned to campus after Labor Day, they were alerted of a tragedy that
took place over the weekend.
On Sept. 3, Philosophy major Nathan Smith passed away from a car accident while living in East
Stroudsburg, causing shock and turmoil to every person who knew him. The Sprout Initiative co-founder,
musician, poet and student orientation leader was known for his positive energy and passion for
knowledge, as well as his community.
“He reminds me of what I imagined Neal Cassady was like,” East 40 manager Kelly Allen said.
“Just absolutely nuts and intoxicating at the same time. Part of that intoxication, whether it was
deliberate or not, helped teach people how to love themselves, but also how to love others. That’s
something that was a gift of his. The result of that was the experience that I got to witness in the three
years that I knew him.”
The memorial was moved from the East 40 Community Garden to CC114 due to rain where
Sprout co-founder and Smith’s ex-wife, Cheyenne Noel, hosted. After the formal ceremony, people were
free to speak about their memories with Smith, bringing the audience both tears and laughter.
“From the day I met Nathan, I knew he was different. That difference was a wonderful
difference. I feel very privileged to have known him and been a part of his life. He was an amazing
human being and he will be sorely missed here,” Center for Civic and Community Engagement’s Deb
Bohr said.
His family also held a second memorial in his hometown of Bridgeport, Nebraska on Sept. 30.
After the ceremony, attendees gathered in the local park as his older brothers prepared a place to plant
a tree in his memory. Due to Smith’s love for traveling, his ashes were divided among friends and family,
so he can be spread across the country during travels of their own.
Smith’s proudest accomplishment, Sprout Initiative, is accepting donations through their
website,, to fund a scholarship in his honor. The Smith Legacy Scholarship will offer
at-risk young adults resources, support and guidance through internships that fit the individual’s
“Nathan's dream was to see all of us live our passion,” Noel said. “Our dream is to make that

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