Tres Smith a bright presence at Sorrell Center

UNMC's Tres Smith

UNMC's Tres Smith

In the middle of the Sorrell Center, in the middle of campus, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a rigorous and stressful academic health sciences program, in the middle of a pandemic, Tres Smith can be counted upon to light up when you walk through the door. You are probably one of her favorite people to see today. Just about everyone is.

"I love my job more than anybody else on this campus," she said. "I guarantee it."

Smith officially draws a paycheck for managing the Sorrell Center C-Store. But her real vocation is serving as a doting auntie to the hundreds of UNMC students — and, sometimes employees and faculty, too — who stop by to see her nearly every day.

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Tres Smith, at right, was honored at the UNMC College of Medicine's 2022 Match Day ceremony.

Smith recently was honored with a special award from the UNMC College of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) at the Class of 2022’s Match Day. They checked to make sure she would be there for the ceremony. But of course, she always attends.

"There is one person at UNMC that goes above and beyond their role by creating a supportive and hospitable culture for medical students in our community," said Tiffany Truong, MD, as she presented the award.

Smith was being honored for "her personal qualities of kindness and optimism, and for her unwavering commitment to support the wellbeing of students and faculty at the UNMC College of Medicine," added Seif Nasir, MD.

They used the word wellbeing. Think about that. During this time when we are told to be mindful of our own and one another’s wellness and mental health, there are several ways we can practice self-care. You can exercise. You can meditate. And you can go down to the C-Store and buy a cup of coffee from Tres.

How often are we told to ask after one another? "I’m a nosy Nellie," she said.

If a student is dressed up, "I’ll say, ‘Did you send a picture of yourself to your mom?’ And they’ll do it!"

She loves these students. It’s a privilege, she said, to see them at this time in their lives. "To know someone," she said, "when they’re just starting out."

There was this one couple. "They sat right out here," she said, at that table just outside her c-store window. "I watched them go from dating," she said, "to having two kids."

People bring their kids in to meet her. Of course they do. They remember how this woman cared, how she asked about them, what those small moments of kindness meant, on otherwise tough days, when they were just starting out.


  1. Tanya Custer says:

    Congratulations Tres! So well deserved. Your are a bright spot on campus!

  2. Kim Harp says:

    Yay Tres- undeniably well-deserved!! I love every conversation I have with her. After a person interacts with Tres, even if its just a few minutes, they walk away a better person. Thank you, Tres for everything you give UNMC.

  3. Jenny Mobley says:

    This is so great to hear Tres was honored! She makes my day every time I see her! Thank you, Tres, for being you!

  4. Kathryn Dybdall says:

    Congrats Tres!! well deserved.
    ~ Kitty

  5. Lindsey Rae Holmes says:

    Tres is the most kind and sweet spirited person to work for UNMC. Her friendly and caring demeanor makes a difference. Thank you for always being so welcoming and pure sunshine.

  6. Jeff Miller says:

    Congratulations Tres for doing a great job and being honored by the students!

  7. Carla L Snyder says:

    Congratulations Tres! You are an amazingly positive, caring person and great asset to UNMC!

  8. Peggy Moore says:

    Tres always offers a warm smile and a kind word of encouragement! Congratulations Tres on this well deserved recognition!

  9. Cindy Skarda says:

    Congratulations Tres. Well deserved.

  10. Sandy Goetzinger-Comer says:

    I enjoyed reading about the difference Tres is making and the people she has touched over her many years of service. Also kudos to Kalani Simpson who did an amazing job telling her story.

  11. Anne Lawlor says:

    Tres, you are so deserving of this recognition! Thank you for being the bright spot in everyone's day (and for never judging when we need our mid-afternoon chocolate fix). You really are the best!

  12. Emily Brandt says:

    Spot on, Tres is such a ray of sunshine!!!! Congratulations and thank you for being you!

  13. Mike Wadman says:

    Well deserved honor for Tres and proud that our students recognize her contributions to their experience here at UNMC.

  14. Gracey Alexander says:

    She's beautiful presence on this campus and one of the reasons I love being an employee here!! You deserve this honor and more TRES!!!! Love you lady!

  15. Susan says:

    You’re the best Tres!

  16. John Keenan says:

    Tres is a treasure, and classy move by the students to let her know how much they, and the rest of UNMC, appreciate her.

  17. Bev Hamman says:

    Congratulations Tres! What a special recognition for a special person! You make my day when I come into the C-Store. I agree that you really are the best!

  18. Margot Chima says:

    Well deserved recognition! Although I graduated a number of years ago, I still can remember how infectious her positivity is. She is so authentically kind. A true UNMC treasure! Congrats!

  19. Melissa Soester says:

    Congratulations Tres!

  20. Maggie Milner says:

    Tres is fantastic! She is genuinely kind and makes one feel so incredibly special every time she sees you. She is a shining example of our ITEACH values and exemplifies them each and every day. Thank you, Tres, for making all of our days a little brighter!

  21. Meghan says:

    Congratulations Tres! Even when you worked over in the Student Life Center, you had the same presence 12-15 years ago as you do today. And you also never age because of your bright spirit! Love our chats!

  22. Tami Houdesheldt says:

    A much deserved honor! Great to see your smiling face Tres! 🙂

  23. Austin Brake says:

    Tres is amazing! She is a true UNMC treasure!

  24. Samantha Chacon says:

    SO well deserved! Whenever I stop by the C-Store and see Tres, it's the best part of my day! She's such a genuinely kind woman.

  25. Erin Cross says:

    Congratulations Tres! Thank you for going above and beyond for UNMC!

  26. Patricia Anderson says:

    Such a well-deserved honor and recognition. Tres always has such an upbeat and positive attitude…and a SMILE for everyone. She is truly the best…and a Hawkeye fan to boot! Added bonus.

  27. Jacque M Swirzinski says:

    Well done

  28. Terri Vadovski says:

    Awesome! You bring smiles to us all everyday!

  29. Lori J. Cervantes says:

    I always like to see you bright and shining smile. Congrats!

  30. Kelly McDonald says:

    A much deserved honor! You are truly sunlight in a human. You are a gift to all of us!!

  31. Laura Bilek says:

    Tres, I am delighted you have been honored for caring for all of us!

  32. Mona Bolton says:

    She truly is a gem. Always has a smile on her face and a joke to share!

  33. Rishad Ahmed says:

    I've always felt she deserved something like this! Every time I go to the store, she brightens my day.

  34. Barb Brey says:

    So deserved! She always brings a smile to my face and makes you feel special every time you stop at the store!. Congrats Tres!

  35. JODI PARRACK says:

    Tres, This is awesome, well deserved.

  36. Sara Zachman says:

    Such a gem of a smile and spirit! Many years on, I still have such fond memories of Tres brightening up our breaks between lectures.

  37. Katina Winters says:

    Tres! You are most deserving of such a wonderful honoring. Thank you for all you do!

  38. Heidi Kaschke says:

    Thank you, for all that you do, Tres! Well deserved.

  39. Pat O'Neil says:

    Every word in this article is true. I've never known anyone so consistently upbeat. Tres is a gem.

  40. Grant Turner says:

    Couldn’t agree more! She was such a force of happiness always!

  41. Lauren says:

    my FAVORITE person

  42. Tom O’Connor says:

    Wow – the long list of comments says it all. Tres is one of UNMC’s best. Great story on a great lady.

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