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Vice President: Samuel H. Smith, PhD
Samuel H. Smith was selected by the Washington State University Board of Regents on March 7, 1985, to serve as the institution's eighth president. He took office at age 45 on July 1, 1985, and served for 15 years.
A hallmark of the Smith administration was the establishment in 1989 of regional WSU campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and Vancouver to serve place-bound and job-bound students. Learning centers and award-winning Extended Degree Programs, now called the Distance Degree Programs, further expanded access to the University that has its historic main campus in Pullman. During 1985-2000, more than one-third of all WSU graduates had their academic degrees granted by President Smith.
Smith earned two plant pathology degrees from the University of California Berkley, a bachelor's in 1961 and a Ph. D. in 1964. He was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in England in 1964-1965. He has honorary doctoral degrees from Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, and Far Eastern State University in Vladivostok, Russia.
Born Feb. 4, 1940, in Salinas, California, Smith came to WSU after serving 16 years at Pennsylvania State University, initially as a faculty member, then department head, and finally, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of both the Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station. Prior to Penn State, he was a member of the faculty at the University of California Berkeley.
Under Smith's leadership, WSU grew in size and stature. Its teaching, research, and public service activities received worldwide recognition. Strengthening undergraduate and graduate education, placing an international imprint on programs, and increasing opportunities for women and minorities were among his priorities.
Smith led Campaign WSU, the University's first comprehensive fund-raising effort that attracted $275.4 million in private support, substantially over its $250 million goal. The campaign transformed the university's ability to serve students and the state of Washington by supporting scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, learning technology and statewide education.
From 1997-99, he served as chair of the Executive Committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, one of a series of leadership positions he held during a major reorganization of NCAA governance.
In 2000, Smith chaired the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the nation's oldest higher education association. He also served on NASULGC's Kellogg Commission on the Future of the State and Land-Grant Universities. The commission planned for change and improvement of state universities and land-grant colleges for the 21st century.
Smith concluded his presidency on June 8, 2000. As president emeritus, he established an office at WSU West in Seattle, where he and his wife, Patricia, live. The Smiths continue to support the WSU Museum of Art. They have attracted world-class artwork for display in the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, named for Smith in 2002, the year it opened on the Pullman campus.
After leaving the presidency, he continued as a trustee of the Western Governors University, of which WSU is a founding member, and serves on the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, as Talaris Research Institute board chair, and director of the Washington Education Foundation, which provides college scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-potential students. Smith served as the President of the 10-99 Foundation and continues to serve law enforcement families as Vice President of Behind the Badge Foundation.