Missouri State University’s Clif Smart looks back at his time as president with fond memories and a sense of accomplishment.

Shortly after announcing that he will retire in summer of 2024, Smart told Missourinet that he has accomplished all that he set out to do with the university’s board.

“Both personally and professionally and where the university was, it seemed like this was a good time to wrap up and by announcing my retirement this early, the board’s able to search for my replacement while I’m still here so we don’t lose a year with an interim president and can go right from my tenure to the next president,” he said.

Under his leadership, the university set new records in state and grant funding, increased graduation rates as well as overall enrollment.

“We were able to be recognized as a doctoral granting university by the state of Missouri as well as the higher learning commission,” said Smart. “That’s a big deal. It allowed us to, for example, roll out a clinical psychology program this fall, our first cohort is here. We were able to plus up our state appropriations through the really good work of Senator (Lincoln) Hough.”

In addition to the accomplishments, he recalls how difficult it was leading the university through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Literally, that was the thing we were focused on all of the time,” according to Smart. “I’ve spent much of my presidency doing external work. Whether that’s advocacy or policymaking in D.C. or Jeff City or friend building or economic development or being a community leader in Springfield, all of that came to a halt. We really focused on how are we going to make it through the pandemic.”

A national search is underway to find Smart’s successor. It will be managed in house and will be led by a search committee.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.