Laura Smith, host of Michiana’s Morning News on 95.3 MNC and “The Way Home with Laura Smith,” will present at the Roy H. Umble Master Class at Goshen College on Tuesday.

The Master Class in Communication and Theater was created through donations from Goshen College graduates who benefited from the instruction of Roy H. Umble, a longtime professor of speech and theater at GC. Umble passed away in 1996.

Duane Stoltzfus, the director of adult and graduate programs and the communication department chair, experienced Umble’s impact as a GC student in the 1970s. 

“He was someone who really devoted himself to personal expression and power of the voice,” said Stoltzfus. 

The Master Class brings nationally recognized practitioners and specialists in speech and drama to the Goshen College campus for events and activities that enhance and inspire those on campus and the community.

The last Master Class took place in 2017; now, the communication department is ending its five-year hiatus by hosting Smith.

For decades, Smith has been a respected radio voice. She has served as program director and hosted successful programs like “Living Better” and “The Saturday Cafe” on SiriusXM and a radio station in New York City.

After receiving a theater degree at the Theater Conservatory Program at Adelphi University in New York, where she later served as an adjunct professor, Smith pursued local theater, ultimately going into radio. 

Smith recently returned to the area after living in Brazil, Australia and New York City. “For all my travels, my heart truly feels like it is opening up here,” she said. 

In the fall of 2021, the communication department met with Smith, where she made an impression on students. 

“She just has a way of making students in class believe in the power of their voice,” said Stoltzfus

Smith went on to invite Stoltzfus to her show. He described a fun and comfortable interview: “She had this remarkable ability to make me feel like I was just having a conversation with her and no one else was listening and all my worries and anxieties went away.” 

Junior broadcasting student Amelia Turnbull, who serves as student manager of The Globe,

has been working alongside Smith at 95.3 MNC since March. 

“I’d say Laura is a mentor to me — she is really sweet. She took me under her wing as another woman in broadcasting,” said Turnbull. 

According to Turnbull, earning convocation credit for attendance is not the only reason students should go. 

“Even if you are not interested in broadcasting, you can definitely learn something from Laura,” Turnbull said. “We all have to do some sort of public speaking at some point in our lives, so why not hear about it from a professional.” 

Stoltsfuz pointed out the significance of the return of the event: “As we emerge from the isolation of COVID-19, it feels special to be in one place together; to be able to hear voices in a room, to see people have this dedicated time together that we missed for so long.”

Smith is eager to spend time at GC. 

“I fell in love with this campus…it has that beautiful feeling of artistic expression,” she said. “I feel happy when I’m here. I truly want to connect with students; I have a heart for young people and I really want to connect with them again.”

Regarding the themes of her address, she said: “It will cover my career trajectory, of course, but also the journey. I want it to be something that everyone will get something out of.”

After Smith’s address, there will be time for questions and answers, followed by refreshments in Yost Room. 

During her two days on campus, Smith will speak in several communication classes, lead a workshop and meet with students for lunch.