Mike Smeltzer ’70: Educating public health students today and long into the future

Even though Smeltzer grew up on the West Coast, once he came to Columbus he became a Buckeye for life.


  • The Ohio State University
June 5, 2018
Mike Smeltzer '70

During his Ohio State education and career in public health, Mike Smeltzer learned the importance of a solid educational foundation. Today, he is dedicated to supporting the next generation of public health professionals.

Smeltzer's career in public health started in microbiology because of a Petri dish. While attending Ohio State, his roommate came home with several Petri dishes from one of his classes. Smeltzer was fascinated by the colonies in the dishes and decided to pursue a major in microbiology.

“I became familiar with public health during my first job working in a lab at the Ohio Department of Health,” he said. “I witnessed the impact of their efforts and how everyone worked together to accomplish their goals. I knew pursuing a career in public health was the best fit for me.”

Upon earning his degree in public health from University of North Carolina, Smeltzer returned to Columbus and began working for the Columbus Public Health Department. He worked in a diverse group of areas throughout his career, including AIDS response, violence prevention, injury prevention and much more. He retired four years ago as the Director of the Division of Planning and Peak Performance, responsible for earning national accreditation for the department.

Smeltzer continues to make an impact on the community through his volunteer work and mission trips around the globe. He has traveled to places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia and Bolivia to help build schools, churches and health clinics.

Smeltzer is committed to supporting graduate students in the College of Public Health. His scholarship gifts will help create a link for students to the community of public health professionals at an earlier point in their education so that they can get a head start on their careers.

“I hope my gift will make a difference in a student’s ability to successfully complete a program in public health who in-turn will make the world a better place for the communities they serve,” said Smeltzer.

Using the charitable IRA rollover, Smeltzer is able to support scholarships today while also enjoying significant tax benefits. He will be able to sustain the scholarship support for future students through a gift from his estate plan.

“It is beyond gratifying to know that I am helping someone pursue their dreams,” he said. “I urge everyone to support an area that they’re connected to and matters to them. There are so many giving options to consider and the university makes the whole process simple to understand.”

Visit https://ohiostate.mylegacygift.org to learn more about an IRA charitable rollover, or naming The Ohio State University Foundation as a beneficiary of your estate plan. You can also contact the Office of Estate and Gift Planning at 800-327-7907 or giftplanatosu [dot] edu.

This story was originally published on The Ohio State University's Estate and Gift Planning website


About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 23rd among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice, and the NCI-funded Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS).