PORT HURON, Mich. - The St. Clair County Community College Alumni Association has named Rebekah Smith of St. Clair its 2016 Distinguished Alumna of the Year.
Smith is the President and CEO of Lake Huron Medical Center in Port Huron. She's spent her entire career at the hospital, formerly known as St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, working as a nurse and in several other roles, including vice president of ancillary services. She was promoted to CEO in 2012. Smith joins numerous other successful alumni who have been honored with the award for career and personal success since it began in 1986, including judges, city managers and others. Candidates are nominated by the community.
"Rebekah Smith is a shining example of SC4's successful alumni who rise to the top of their fields while impacting the lives of others," said Celeste Skalnek, SC4 Director of Community and Alumni Relations. "She is a leader with a vision, and has spent her career giving back to the community."
What Smith learned as a nurse has always stuck with her and helped her put patients first. What she didn't know about other aspects of the hospital, she made time to learn.
"I knew about nursing, but I wasn't as familiar with those other services, so I used to do a take your boss to work day, and I would go into those other departments and spend the day with them," Smith said. "From the time the patient registers to the time they walk out the door, there are a million things that happen to them, and they have to interconnect. We always have to keep our attention on how what we're doing impacts the patient."
Smith has also served as a nursing instructor and Education Services Coordinator at SC4. She said she is proud to be a part of the SC4 nursing program's tradition of hands-on learning, and to keep it going by hiring SC4 nurses at the hospital.
"They're very good about teaching theory and also real-life situations," Smith said of SC4's nursing instructors. "You can read and read and read, and it's never going to prepare you for what to do once you really are faced with having a patient's life in your hands."
Smith has an associate degree in nursing from SC4. She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Siena Heights University and a master's degree in health care administration from Central Michigan University.
Smith serves on the Board of Directors of the SC4 Foundation, and as a board member for the United Way, Blue Water YMCA, Tri-Hospital EMS, Lakeshore Surgery Center, the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, the St. Clair County Community Services Coordinating Body and Steering Committee, and the Lake Huron Foundation.
She was named the Blue Water Woman Healthcare Executive of the Year and to Crain's Detroit Business' 100 Most Influential Women list in 2016.
To learn more about the SC4 Alumni Association, visit www.sc4.edu/alumni.