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College of Science & Engineering


Group present at the ceremony

In the revered halls of the Italian Parliament, Dr. Raymond Smilor and his groundbreaking book were honored at the Vatican.

Book covers for "Fire in the Classroom" and "Accendere Le Menti."
Book covers for Fire in the Classroom and Accendere Le Menti.

Smilor's book, aptly titled Fire in the Classroom in English and Accendere Le Menti in Italian, quickly captured the attention of politicians, ministers, and parliamentarians. Its profound insights and impact rippled beyond politics, finding its way into the curriculum of prestigious universities and becoming essential teaching material for business associations. A pivotal bill was introduced to establish the 'National Day of the Trainer,' coinciding with Smilor's recognition.

The catalyst behind this widespread dissemination was Antonio Felice Uricchio, a distinguished figure in Italy's academic landscape. As a professor and the president of ANVUR, the National Agency for University Evaluation, Uricchio played a pivotal role in introducing Smilor's book into the university system. His efforts were complemented by Massimo Lucidi, president of the E-Novation association, who championed the book's cause within the Vatican. Uricchio also contributed to the book's introduction. 

Behind the scenes, a team of dedicated individuals worked tirelessly to bring Ray's vision to fruition. Ivan Giordano, professor, journalist, and entrepreneur, edited the Italian book and guided it through the publication process there. His colleague Ilaria Galli translated its Italian edition. Without which, this success would not be possible.

“There can be no greater responsibility and no greater joy—for us as teachers, trainers, supporters of education and policy makers—than the opportunity to “Ignite the Minds” that can insure a happier, more hopeful, and more innovative future for us all.”

The culmination of these collective efforts was celebrated on March 21, 2024, at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, within the esteemed halls of the Vatican. This occasion marks the 4th National Innovation Event, where Smilor and his collaborators were honored for their pioneering work. Lucidi presided over the ceremony, honoring Smilor with a personal award and commemorated the contributions of his colleagues.

Accepting the award

In his reflections on the book's journey, Smilor expresses gratitude for the collaborative spirit that fueled its success. For him, "Igniting Minds" is more than just a title; it's a call to unlock the full potential of every individual and foster a culture of lifelong learning and innovation. 

Giordano received the award on Smilor’s behalf, sharing this momentous occasion with their fellow educators, journalists, and entrepreneurs. Together, they stand as torchbearers of innovation, illuminating pathways to a brighter and more hopeful future for generations to come. 

Dr. Raymond Smilor

Dr. Raymond Smilor is a member of the External Advisory Board for the College of Science & Engineering. He also serves as Emeritus Professor of Professional Practice in Management, Entrepreneurship and Leadership at the Neeley School of Business at TCU. Learn more about Smilor on his website.