Samuel H. Smith (educator)

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Samuel H. Smith (born February 4, 1940) was the eighth president of Washington State University, serving for fifteen years (July 1, 1985 – June 8, 2000).

A native of Salinas, California, he holds bachelor's and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley and honorary doctoral degrees from Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, and Far Eastern State University in Vladivostok, Russia.

He is remembered for establishing WSU's three regional campuses — WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Vancouver — as well as fostering development of the university's Distance Degree Programs. Under his 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.[citation needed]

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. He 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.

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.[citation needed]

Prior to his presidency, he spent 16 years at Pennsylvania State University, starting as a faculty member, then becoming department head, and finally, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station, he currently serves on the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Glenn Terrell
President of Washington State University
Succeeded by
V. Lane Rawlins