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Human of the Hilltop: Bradley Fund’s golden coin

Shelly Smith serves as the senior director of the Bradley Fund. Photo via

Bradley Fund Senior Director, Shelly Smith, may appear to be just another employee who works in Sisson Hall, but her lifetime of devotion is immeasurable.

Born and raised in Peoria, Smith attended Drake University and obtained a degree in education. Then, she came back to Peoria to look for a career in the field, finding Bradley.

“I stumbled upon the Bradley Fund because I was familiar with the program of phoning people,” Smith said. “I don’t think I set out on it to be a career, but I love it.”

Smith’s job has changed with the development in technology, but she has rolled with the changes to keep the Bradley Fund strong.

“It is the annual giving office, so it is something that should touch every alum,” Smith said. “We had to look at how the industry is changing and how alumni would like to give back.”

Today, alumni can give through other means besides a standard check.

“The phone program has been replaced by social media and now people can donate by PayPal,” Smith said.

Senior nursing major Julia Caesar is one of the student workers for the Bradley Fund.

“Shelly fully encompasses values about Bradley that I love- leadership, compassion and dependability,” Caesar said. “She is committed to student success and shows genuine happiness when we achieve greatness.”

Smith said the people and students she has worked with have had a great impact on her.

“When I was hired, I was hired as assistant director and I would be with the kids all the time,” Smith said.

When Smith climbed higher up the ladder, her bond with students kept growing.

“I have three student managers who work for the Bradley Fund and I would directly work with them and they directly work with the phoning program,” Smith said. “It allows me to have a one on one relationship with those people.”

Smith said that she hopes her time with students at the fund was influential.

“The students I have been with over the years and hopefully had an impact on. [I] help them develop a good work ethic, help them get jobs by writing letters for them and helping them develop as a person,” Smith said.

Out of all the students, one female student in particular had a profound impact on Smith herself.

“This young woman started out as a freshman assistant manager and stayed with me through graduate school, for a total of seven years,” Smith said. “She was just wonderful and kind and she even met her husband here.”

For Smith, that relationship grew into a lasting friendship.

“Both of us went through a kind of transition from taking the professional staff position and making it into a meaningful experience for student interns,” Smith said. “I hope students can learn skill sets here and go into the workplace and use them effectively.”

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