In an effort at finding greatness in our midst, Philadelphia magazine has searched the local communities and has brought us the "true gems" of the Philadelphia area. One of these "gems" is right here on the grounds of Penn State Brandywine. In Philadelphia magazine's "Best of Philly®" August issue, the campus was awarded the honor of having the "Best Outdoor Tennis Courts 2006" in the Philadelphia area.
Philadelphia magazine said "God bless Ethel Sergeant Clark, whoever she is. Her trust allowed for the construction of the best outdoor courts in the area, on the Delaware County campus of Penn State, in Media. The courts--three of which are lit for nighttime play--are well protected from wind, smooth enough to host a bowling tournament, and numerous enough (11) that you won't be kept waiting. The only drawback: You need to heed the school calendar. Because these are campus courts, the school's phys ed classes and teams get first dibs."
Who was Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith?
Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith was born into a prominent Philadelphia family in February 1885. Smith grew up in Philadelphia and although she resided there with her husband, Harrison Smith, the couple spent most of their married life at the Smith family estate in Radnor, Delaware County.
The American Legion consumed much of Harrison Smith's interests, a Colonel in the Cavalry Officers Reserve Corps. Over the course of the years, Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith joined her husband in these activities and held numerous local, state, and national posts within the Ladies Auxiliary. But her true love was tennis, particularly at the Merion Cricket Club, where she was a longtime member.
Smith encouraged and supported the advancement of women's tennis both locally and nationally and established the United States Lawn Tennis Association Girls' Sportsmanship Trophy which is awarded each year to a young woman competing in the Association's annual tournament at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. She also established a similar award in connection with the annual Middle States Lawn Tennis Association Tournament held at Merion Cricket Club.
Without a natural beneficiary for her wealth (the Smiths did not have children) and with her husband having predeceased her, Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith chose to benefit the general welfare through charitable grants to be administered by her named Trustee.
Initiated by the Trustee after her death in 1975, a private foundation was fashioned with the residue of Mrs. Smith's estate and dedicated to benefit charitable organizations located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, with primary emphasis on serving community needs in Delaware County.
Since the Fund's inception on July 7, 1977, the principals involved desired to honor Mrs. Smith's memory in a lasting fashion through tennis, her life long love. In 1992, the Fund established a Tennis Complex at Penn State Brandywine. This eight court tennis facility is used for student physical education activities and competition, and is also open to the public.
(Biographical information from The Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Fund Report)