HNC Living Foundation longtime supporter and board member, Marjorie Smelstor, Ph.D., passes away after battle with Cancer

Marge was a steadfast leader and champion of HNC Living Foundation and advocate for patients for several years.   Her personal journey with cancer helped to shape the foundation’s grant-making policies from a place of knowledge and empathy for what cancer patients endure.  We are so grateful for her leadership and her presence will be greatly missed. Her memory will live on with each patient we serve.

Some sentiments from fellow board members:

I admired her wit, warmth, and ability to zero in on an issue or opportunity, seek input and make good recommendations.

Marge was a wonderful board member and an even better person.  Her intelligence and insights made us a better board and a better foundation.  She will be missed but her memory will live on with every patient we support.

We are forever grateful for having Marge join our efforts at HNC Living Foundation. She will be missed. Read her full obituary here.

Marjorie Smelstor, Ph.D. biography

Marjorie Smelstor has had successful careers in many arenas, including the foundation world, healthcare, higher education, and consulting.

She is a former Vice President of Kauffman Campuses and Higher Education Programs at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. In that capacity, she was responsible for the largest portfolio at the Kauffman Foundation—$200 million—which was committed to helping post-secondary institutions transform themselves through entrepreneurial education. She also directed a $50 million program that supported the infusion of entrepreneurship education throughout the curricula of 22 Kauffman Campuses as well as developing partnerships with other colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Before joining The Kauffman Foundation in 2006, Dr. Smelstor was Chief Acceleration Officer at Truman Medical Centers (TMC) in Kansas City, Missouri. At TMC, she founded The Truman Medical Centers Corporate Academy, an initiative that continues to provide education for all employees, families, and friends of Truman Medical Centers. She also launched the innovative Center for the Healing Arts, a systematic and deliberate use of the arts to provide care for the caregivers, patients, friends, and families of TMC. Her other responsibilities at TMC included creation of an early childhood development center, coordination of research and the life sciences program, strategic planning, development of an integrative medicine program, and liaison with the Charitable Foundation.

Before her work in healthcare, Dr. Smelstor was a university administrator for 25 years, holding the positions of Assistant Vice President, Dean, Provost, and Interim Chancellor at institutions in Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Missouri. She has published more than a hundred articles and a book, and has lectured nationally and internationally in the United States, Croatia, Japan, Scandinavia, France, Great Britain, and Turkey. In 1981 she was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in Croatia.

She has been a consultant for universities, healthcare organizations, and various industries. She is currently the President and CEO of Smelstor and Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on strategic planning, executive development, and organizational change.

Dr. Smelstor has a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Literature and Mass Communications and Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A., magna cum laude, from the College of Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati.

The recipient of numerous honors and awards, in 2008 Dr. Smelstor was recognized as one of the Top Ten Women Executives in Kansas City, and in 2007 she was award the Health Innovators Award.