COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Keith L. Smith, director of Ohio State University Extension since 1992, has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2015.
Smith, who also serves as Ohio State University’s associate vice president for agricultural administration, associate dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), and Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership, made the announcement April 3. OSU Extension is the college's outreach arm.
“Keith Smith has been a tireless advocate for the university’s Extension initiatives for more than two decades,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A. Alutto. “The university and the citizens of Ohio will continue to benefit from his leadership in both program and policy development for years to come.”
Smith came to Ohio State in 1980, working in personnel development for OSU Extension, and later served as associate director of Extension. He also worked in Extension at Iowa State University, and as a vocational agriculture teacher and Extension agent in Utah.
“During his 20-plus years as director of Extension, Keith has led the organization through significant growth and continues to be a steady guide as the organization adjusts to rapid, societal changes,” said Bruce McPheron, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “My congratulations to Keith on a career that has had great impact on the citizens of the state of Ohio and on Extension across the country.”
Smith’s impact on Extension is seen across the national organization. “Keith Smith’s long tenure of significant service as the leader of OSU Extension is well recognized not only within the institution and state, but at the national level as well,” said Ian L. Maw, vice president for Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. When Smith served as chair of the national Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) in 2004, Maw became familiar with his work.
“Through his sustained leadership, Keith has contributed greatly to the continuing successes of Extension in all venues with which he has interacted,” Maw said.
When he retires in 2015, Smith will have led the organization for 23 years. “My desire continues to be for the progress and continued success of OSU Extension, the college and Ohio State,” he said.
He is known for his voracious reading, penchant for using stories and quotes as a way to illustrate a point and his passion for developing leadership in Extension.
When he accepted Extension’s National Distinguished Service Ruby Award in 2002, Smith quoted author Peter Drucker saying, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
“I plan on continuing to give my best in time and effort toward our vision for the future. We will push forward with our strategic planning effort, enjoy Extension’s 100-year celebration, and engage in dialogue on making OSU Extension even stronger in the future,” he said.
Smith received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Utah State University and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University, all focused on agricultural education.
He and his wife Kathleen live in Hilliard, Ohio, and have eight children and 14 grandchildren.
- 30 -