Ashbacher Lincoln-Smith ’58 receives Distinguished Achievement Award

Dorothy Ashbacher Lincoln-Smith, class of 1958, has been a powerful and effective ambassador for music, especially vocal music, throughout her life. She is a renowned performer, educator, and leader in her field, and a passionate advocate and supporter of music and the fine arts.

Dorothy came to Cornell from Lansing, Iowa. During her time on campus, she was a member of the Delta Phi Delta sorority and earned her Bachelor of Music here. After leaving the Hilltop she taught for a year in Clarence, Iowa before moving to Arizona where she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate, both in music, from Arizona State University.

During her illustrious career, Dorothy has served as a choral music teacher in elementary, high school, and college, acting as a professor of voice at Phoenix College from 1973 to 2003 and as a singer and professor at Glendale Community College from 1968 to 1970. Dorothy was also a singer and teacher at Maryvale High School from 1964 to 1968 and a soloist and singer at the Arizona Opera and Bach Madrigal Society from 1959 to 1967.

Dorothy spent two years as a touring member of the Roger Wagner Chorale and Los Angeles Master Chorale. She was also a vocal soloist in concerts in the U.S., Australia, Japan, China, and Europe.

For thirty years Dorothy partnered with her late husband, Harvey K. Smith, to help lead the Grammy Award-winning choir, the Phoenix Boys’ Choir, of which he was the artistic director. In her role as tour organizer for the group, Dorothy helped the members navigate trips around the country and overseas to perform.  

Dorothy is a member of the vestry of Saint Barnabas on the Desert and an Episcopalian Eucharistic minister. In 2016 she was commended for her community service by the state of Arizona with a philanthropy award.

Dorothy remains active in retirement by continuing to serve as a soloist at her church in Phoenix, as associate director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council in Arizona, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Phoenix Chorale, and the Phoenix Boys Choir. Dorothy was honored last year for her service to the museum.

Dorothy is president of the National Board of Trustees of the Society of Arts and Letters, which directs and finances a competition named for her, supporting opportunities for young singers.

In the past year, Dorothy has rafted the Colorado River, and at last count, logged her 849th scuba dive last year in Micronesia. Have you added to that since then?

Dorothy, your deep and long-lasting commitment to music, your tireless efforts to promote music education, and your unwavering support of Cornell have brought joy and learning to thousands of people. On behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the entire Cornell community, I am pleased, proud, and humbled to present you with Cornell’s Distinguished Achievement Award for 2018.