Florida Memorial University’s President Emeritus, Dr. Albert E. Smith has departed this life
Dr. Albert E. Smith was born in a Christian home to the late Calvert Smith and Ethel Johnson Smith on Oct. 24, 1932. Although he was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he loved to claim Chicago, Illinois, where he attended elementary school and high school, as his home.
Al, as he was fondly called, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C.; a Master of Science degree from George Williams College, Chicago, Ill.; and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn.
Al’s early professional career included a brief stint as a minor league baseball player with the Saint Louis Cardinals; a Commissioned Officer and Company Commander in the United States Army Medical Service Corps; a Youth Gangs Worker and program secretary with the Y.M.C.A. of Metropolitan Chicago; Varsity Baseball Coach and Student Union Director at Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Director of Athletics and the Student Union at North Carolina A&T State University.
In 1971, Al was appointed executive assistant director of Athletics and Associate Professor of Education at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich. Following this appointment, in the fall of 1976, Al was invited back to his undergraduate alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University, to serve as Vice Chancellor for Development and University Relations, Professor of Education, and Executive Director of the North Carolina A&T State University Foundation. He remained at North Carolina A&T State University until the Spring of 1986, when he was named the sixth president of South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, S.C.
In the spring of 1993, following his tenure at South Carolina State University, Al was selected to serve as the tenth President of Florida Memorial College (n/k/a Florida Memorial University), Miami, Fla. He served in this capacity until he retired in June 2006 and was named President Emeritus. During his 13 year tenure as president of Florida Memorial and through his visionary efforts, the college was elevated to University status, over $83 million in grant funds were awarded, increased from 1,300 to over 2,200 students, and the “Rising to New Heights” $35 million Capital Campaign was completed. These funds were generated and used for the campus beautification program, renovations and new building construction.
Dr. Smith’s professional affiliations and publications are numerous. He was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and New Mount Olive Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife of 57 years, Sadie Burris Smith; one brother, Dr. Calvert H. Smith (Carrie); one “special sister” Evelyn Jude (Robert); two daughters: Robyne Wilkerson and Angela Luster (James); a son, Albert Clayton (Audrey); four grandchildren: Albert Clayton II, Courtney Smith Hayes (James), Carrington Luster and Trevor Luster; six great-grandchildren; three sisters-in-law: Evetta Burris Barrett, Legatha Burris and Mable Burris; and two brothers-in-law: Ray E. Burris (Carolyn), and Rev. Willie Gas-kin; a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and countless friends.
Funeral Service in Miami, Fl. will be Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 at 11 a.m. in the Susie C. Holley Religious Center. Viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on that Thursday in the Center, 10 to 10:30 a.m. will be the Links and Alpha Phi Alpha Services.