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Mac Smith Scholarship

Mac Donald "Mac" Smith Scholarship

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MacDonald Smith better known as Mac was a second generation Iowa Labor Union lawyer. He started working in his father’s law firm at the age of ten. Early on Mac learned the challenges and importance of being an advocate for the working person. Throughout his life he worked diligently, politically, and academically to advocate and represent those individuals regardless of their financial status or diversity.

Mac was valedictorian of his high school class, graduated from the University of Notre Dame magna cum laude and with distinction from the University of Iowa Collage of Law. He was a lifelong learner, a man of integrity and he valued education. He taught labor law courses as an adjunct at the University of Iowa Labor Center for over 40 years. As a political activist he ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress and was well known for his ability to statistically delegate get out the vote activities on election day for decades in his community.

He was best known for his forthrightness, calm rational presence, his dry sense of humor and humility. In 2004 he was inducted into the Northwest Iowa Labor Council Hall of Fame and in 2014 in the Iowa Federation of Labor Hall of Fame.

1. Eligible applicants are the immediate family members (children/grandchildren, stepchildren/grandchildren, foster children/grandchildren, spouses) of individuals who are members in good standing of a recognized labor union.

2. Scholarship is open to those pursuing a post-secondary education, for example a community college, college, university, trade school, apprenticeship school, etc.

3. Assistance is available to applicants for program expenses incurred after July 1, 2022.

4. Application and Essay Submissions are available - click here 

Application Criteria:

Please answer the essay question in the Google Form as it relates to Mac’s 2017 Convention legal report. As a rising high school graduate please respond to the following question as it pertains to the contents of Mac’s legal report to the 2017 convention addressing the dramatic legislative attacks on workers’ rights. Mac speaks of the moral crisis our county faces in terms of workers protection and their rights. How would you respond? Your response cannot exceed 250 words. The second criteria for the applicant would be he or she needs to have documented a public forum they attended and write a brief summary of that meeting. For example, you could attend a school board meeting, city or county board meeting, caucus, zoning commission meeting or a political candidate’s debate.

MacDonald “Mac” Smith, Iowa Federation of Labor 2017 Convention Speech


5. Assistance available: The Mac Smith Scholarship Committee will award a scholarship in the amount of $1,000.

6. DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY: Once the student recipient is accepted into the academic program of their choice, The Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO will disburse the scholarship amount specified to the applicable Student Financial Aid Office or to the student. The student recipient is responsible for providing the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO with the disbursement request form and prior to making its disbursement, proof of enrollment.

Scholarship funds will be disbursed directly to the school for payment of tuition, room, board, books or fees. For students who are enrolled in an apprenticeship program, receipts of proof of purchase of school/apprenticeship related materials or tools must be provided to Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer for reimbursement. Awards are for continuous years of study at the selected institution. Students must notify the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer in writing before changing academic institutions.

7. Important dates :

Application available on June 1st, 2022

Application & Essay deadline July 14th, 2022

Recipient announced August 1st, 2022

Recognition at the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO Hall of Fame dinner on August 25th, 2022


Contact Peter Hird at for any questions.