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Alma Matters: Planting Seeds

Several years ago, J. Stephen Smith was ordering drinks in a restaurant when he discovered the bartender was a recent Xavier grad. As is his habit in such situations, Smith, the retired chairman of Smith-Feike-Minton, a Southern Ohio insurance agency, asked if the young man contributed back to Xavier. When the young man replied “No,” and went on to explain that he still had college loans to pay off, Smith gave him $10 in seed money with the stipulation that he send it to Xavier. The young man did. Smith wasn’t surprised. In playing out this scenario numerous times, he has never been disappointed. “My theory is that I always just try to get them started,” he says. “I’ve always said the five or 10 bucks doesn’t affect my lifestyle at all, and hopefully over a period of time they may make a lot of money and be a big giver. But get them started, and then they’ll be on your list, and they’ll continue to give.”

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