George Otis Smith

George Otis Smith, Colby 1893

George Otis Smith, Colby Class of 1893; A.M. 1896

Smith was born in Hodgdon, Maine on February 22, 1871. He attended Colby College, where he was the secretary, treasurer, and vice-president of the tennis association, the athletic association, and president of the YMCA, among other activities. He graduated from Colby in 1893 and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1896. He later attended the Case School of Applied Science. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey from 1896-1906, and in 1907 became its director. He was instrumental in keeping the Geology department alive and well at Colby in the early part of the 20th century when the Board had threatened to shut it down in 1900. He served on Colby’s Board of Trustees from 1903-1944 and was involved in overseeing the move to Mayflower Hill. During the 1930s, he served as Chairman of the committee charged with considering the establishment of fraternity houses on the Hill, ultimately favoring the construction of fraternity houses on college land (Smith himself belonged to Delta Kappa Epsilon). He is the author of several books on Geology. He was editor of the Colby Echo for a time, and his son, Joseph Coburn Smith, Colby class of 1924, also served as editor of the Echo.