Ursuline News

Mardi Gras Q&A: Diane Smith
Mardi Gras Q&A: Diane Smith

Diane Smith isn't an Ursuline alumna, but she might as well be.

She's had four daughters (Janet Smith McClurg '73, Ellen Smith Pryor '74, Carol Smith Leyendecker '80, Mary Smith Campise '82) one daughter-in-law (DeeAnn Baillargeon Smith '82), and five granddaughters (Kendall Campise Yeager '07, Lindsey Pryor '07, Sophie Campise '09, Emily Pryor '10, Phoebe Campise '11) graduate from Ursuline. Daughter Barbara Smith Hanley spent her freshman and sophomore year at Ursuline, but the family moved to Austin before she graduated.

"I sometimes forget I didn't graduate from Ursuline," said the 86-year-old with a laugh. "I grew up in Oklahoma with my husband. I met him in the third grade, and we eventually both graduated from the University of Oklahoma."

The Diane and Sam K. Smith Family are this year's honorary Mardi Gras chairs. Make your reservations for the Havana Nights Gala on our Mardi Gras website. This year's gala is March 2, 2019.

"This year's gala will be extremely exciting," Smith said. "I'm glad I'll have all my family with me."

What does Ursuline mean to you?

"It means a lot. It means a great education for all my girls. The good friendships are so important too. All my girls still have friends they made at Ursuline."

What would it mean to your husband to be involved with Mardi Gras, which is our biggest fundraiser for scholarships?

"He would really appreciate this. Getting an education was very important to my husband, and Ursuline's scholarship program is vital. We've always supported it. He was a feminist before it became popular. With five daughters, he always thought they could do anything a boy could do."

What is your favorite tradition at Ursuline?

"I like to attend the special activities. I loved Global Day on Wednesday. When my granddaughters were there, I always attended Intramurals. I also attended my daughters' basketball and soccer games. Basketball was sometimes better because it wasn't cold watching it."

What are your favorite hobbies?

"I like to read, and I do a lot of volunteer work. I cook at Ronald McDonald House and a women's shelter called Hope's Door. I stay busy, but I like to sit still more than I used to."

What are your plans for Christmas?

"We get together the weekend before Christmas at my house. We call it Nana's Christmas. My husband never understood why his name was never included. My husband and I were both only children, but we always thought big families had so much fun. We wanted a big family, and we have it."