Get to know the First Lady of Missouri State University and learn about the amazing things she does for our campus and the Springfield community.
Who is Gail Smart? If you don’t know by now, Gail Smart is the wife of Missouri State University President’s, Clif Smart. Mrs. Smart was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has lived in Springfield, Missouri for the last 27 years. While living here in Springfield, she was a stay at home to two great sons, as well as a community volunteer and leader. Throughout her time here in Missouri, Mrs. Smart has been a support system for President Smart especially in his second career change to university president. Becoming the president’s wife was something she’d never thought of, however, she has taken this opportunity with grace and passion.
As the president’s wife, Mrs. Smart has the opportunity to travel across the world from London for an MSU alumni trip to China to visit the Missouri State campus in Dailan, China. While traveling, Mrs. Smart has been able to be a part of many advancements made by the university. One of her favorite trips was visiting Washington D.C. and being a part of the Women’s March, and also traveling to Ireland, where she got to attend the Missouri State’s Choral performance.
While busy supporting President Smart and Missouri State, Mrs. Smart also takes the time to give back to the local Springfield community. She has worked to decrease the level of poverty within the community for the last 15 years. From being director of several local food pantries to holding the position of co-chair for the Impacting Poverty Commission, she helps make a difference by bringing awareness of issues to the forefront and helping decrease the poverty percentages in Springfield. Through hard work and determination, she was able to establish an organization called Prosper Springfield. Prosper Springfield is an organization that works with a verity of non-profits in the community, helping to unite resources and improve lives.
Not only is Mrs. Smart the president’s wife and a very hands-on leader in the local community but as I mentioned before, she is a mother, and also a grandmother. I asked her to share advice for current students, future students, and family members. Mrs. Smart wanted to share with students to “be an effecting change other than just through voting. Hands-on work helps make a difference, and helps you to grow as an individual and get out of your comfort zone.”
She encourages new students to “be open to new things and meeting new people when coming to Missouri State, and get involved.”
For families, she shared, “Support is important so being there for your children throughout their college journey is crucial.”
It was my pleasure to spend some time getting to know Mrs. Smart. Missouri State is lucky to have such a role model for students, staff and faculty, and the local community.
(Trenell Morgan, the 2019-20 Family Assistant and a 2019 SOAR Leader, is a senior involved with Student Activities Council (After Hours Chair), University Ambassadors, and Xi Omicron Iota.)