A man of virtue and intelligence whose actions speak louder than his carefully chosen words, Ethan Smith stands alone among the senior class. Anyone who knows Ethan can attest to the hard work, service, and loyalty of the math major and business minor that puts God and others before himself. The Jonesville native is a Sigma Chi, the men’s basketball manager, a four-year varsity girls soccer coach at Will Carleton Academy, an active parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, a summer window painter, and a beer-tasting enthusiast.
How did you feel upon learning that you were named the Outstanding Senior man?
I was very surprised. I was surprised throughout the whole thing, from the initial nomination and making it on to the final four. I was very honored to be among such great individuals.
What do you think contributed to this honor?
I think more than anything it’s a reflection of the fact that I’ve been blessed with very loving parents and siblings who have invested a lot of time in raising me. It reflects also on the type of people I’m surrounded by here- the type that push you and want to see you succeed.
Who are those that have reflected positively upon you and influenced the person you are today?
First and foremost, my family. Between my parents and my brothers and sisters, they’ve really shown me what it means to try and pursue a virtuous life. That has been not replaced but enhanced by the relationships here at Hillsdale, especially my brothers in Sigma Chi, my relationship with Maggie Ball, and then also my best friend, Zack Lefere. We’ve gone through a lot together and he’s really showed me what it means to be a loyal friend.
What are your future plans?
How will what you’ve learned at Hillsdale influence you in the future?
Nothing is official yet. There’s no job offers yet. But ideally, I would like to be teaching high school math and either coaching or being in an athletic director position as well. That’s the ideal situation. No matter what, Hillsdale has taught me you how to work hard, how to pursue a virtuous life, if you will, and, more than anything, the experiences at Hillsdale have prepared me to know how to handle different situations and interact with different people. The experiences are the best piece of education you can get, more so than what you’ll learn in the classroom.
What is the best moment you’ve had here at Hillsdale?
One of them would be the basketball team winning the conference last year and clinching a berth in the NCAA tournament. It was very exciting and a very fun trip. I was very glad and blessed to be part of the team in that way.
What has it been like being a manager and getting so close to the coaching staff?
It’s been a lot of fun. The staff are incredible people, full of life. They like to have a good time but they know exactly what they’re doing as far as basketball goes. We have one of the top coaching staffs here certainly in the GLIAC and you could argue in the nation as far as Division II goes. I really enjoy just talking to them about anything- their pasts, basketball. We have very interesting conversations.
How important is your faith to you?
Very, very important. Without it, I’d be trying to go upstream without a paddle, or however the phrase goes. This year especially I’ve grown tremendously in it, in just learning different aspects of what love is. Maggie and I read “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis over Christmas break. I would highly recommend reading those. One, they taught me more about human nature than anything else, and our sinfulness in a way that you’re forced to just laugh at yourself, which is very important to do. Life is too short to not have a sense of humor.
What has been one of the most embarrassing moments you’ve experienced here at Hillsdale?
It actually happened a few weeks ago. I had to take my shell out, my prosthesis out to clean it. In doing so, at our sink upstairs at Sigma Chi, when I was cleaning it, it slipped out of my hands and slipped down the sink and we had to take the sink apart to find it. So I guess my eye slipped down the sink. Aaron Snider started calling me “sink boy” after that episode. Another time when I was president, we were in a chapter meeting and I was rubbing my eye and it actually fell out and bounced out on the floor. I was like “can someone pick that up for me?” So those are two funny eye stories right there.