LaPearl Campbell Smith ’79 chose Shenandoah because she was interested in the Conservatory’s music therapy program. Once a student, Smith double majored in music therapy and music education. “[Shenandoah is an] outstanding institution of higher learning, caring instructors and staff, and opportunities to achieve your career goals,” said Smith.
While at the university, Smith enjoyed singing with the Harambee Gospel Choir and Conservatory Concert Choir, and pledging Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity. Smith received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and graduated Cum Laude in 1979.
Smith is a business development manager for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). In this position, she provides workforce services/skills/development to youth and adults with disabilities that will help them with potential career opportunities and employment. “I meet with businesses and government agencies to develop employment opportunities and training related to employing and supporting persons with disabilities in the workplace,” said Smith.
Prior to this, Smith worked as a music education instructor for Loudoun County Public Schools and was an associate administrator for Tri-County Virginia OIC in Winchester, Virginia.
The most rewarding part of Smith’s career is aiding in the career and professional growth of people who are considered hard to serve and creating partnerships with businesses and the local community to promote a more diverse workforce. She also enjoys teaching music to students with disabilities.
Smith believes that Shenandoah gave her a wonderful educational experience where she got to learn under exceptional professors. “Dr. David Stutzenburger greatly influenced me as a choir director, and I also developed my piano style under Henry Black,” said Smith. “Marian Sung was a great instructor in the music therapy department.” These professors saw her potential and encouraged her to excel.
Smith’s advice to students who are considering the music therapy field is: “[There are] great opportunities in Music Therapy. Think outside the box.”