Former top athlete and student recognized for achievements

Stew Smith – now a celebrated Princeton University scholar – will be honoured by Vic High at a May 13 gala dinner

Stew Smith

Stew Smith

King Lee

News Contributor

Stew Smith, who began life living on Transit Road in Oak Bay 77 years ago, is being honoured by his hometown, albeit on the wrong side of the Tweed Curtain.

Now, Dr. Stewart Smith of Princeton University, one of the world’s leading researchers in particle physics, will be inducted into Victoria High School’s Illustrious Alumni honour roll at the Black and Gold II gala dinner on Friday, May 13, at the CFB Esquimalt Wardroom.

Smith will be feted alongside longtime Vic High teacher Tommy Mayne, educator Norma Mickelson and rugby star Hans de Goede.

Posthumous inductions will also be made to famed artist Emily Carr and athletes William “Torchy” and Doug Peden.

Smith spent his first two years at the family home on Transit Road before his father, an investigator for the provincial securities branch, was promoted and the family moved to Vancouver’s Kitsilano area. They returned to Victoria in September of 1946 when his father was appointed Deputy Superintendent of Brokers.

Then living in Fairfield, Smith entered Grade 10 at Vic High and was introduced to lacrosse by Doug Fletcher.

He was so proficient at the game that he played five seasons for the Victoria Junior Shamrocks, getting to the national final for the Minto Cup twice.

He also played a season with the senior ‘Rocks before joining the Vancouver Carlings in 1961 and being part of the winning Mann Cup national champions.

In addition to winning the Governor General’s medal, symbolic of being the top Grade 12 student in B.C., Smith also became interested in playing rugby.

A huge growth spurt that year earned him an invitation to join the Oak Bay Wanderers rugby club.

Smith attended Victoria College and the University of British Columbia, obtaining his BA and Masters degree before choosing Princeton, where he earned his PhD in 1966.

The following year, he joined the Princeton faculty, chaired the physics department from 1990 to 1998 and was appointed the prestigious school’s first Dean of Research in 2006.

The May 13 business-attire dinner is open to the public and tickets ($100 each with a $50 tax receipt) are available by going to the Victoria High School website for a printable order form or by contacting dinner-co-ordinator Anne McKeachie at, 250-472-1661 or 250-920-9208.