Distinguished Alumni 1998
Paula Chaat Smith and Dr. Clodus R. Smith
"Alumni honorees illustrate ideals in lives, careers and service to their communities"
From the Fall 1998 Cameron Today
For the Smiths, their relationship and distinguished careers began at Cameron where they met and fell in love.
Paula, a member of the Comanche tribe, was born near Lawton. She graduated from Lawton High and received her associates degree in music at Cameron in 1948. She also holds bachelors and masters degrees in elementary education from Oklahoma State University. At Cameron, she was a member of the girls' octette, the glee club and Aggiettes. She was also the school's Ittanaha Club princess in 1947, and accompanied the football team to California.
"Making the football trip to the Little Rose Bowl in Pasadena was one of my most memorable moments at Cameron," she recalled. "I represented the Ittanaha Club and rode in a convertible around the stadium."
Mrs. Smith began her teaching career in a small rural school in Bradley, where her husband taught vocational agriculture. Her teaching career spanned 24 years, three more states _ Texas, New York and Maryland _ and the birth of three children.
She became active in local, state and national education groups and was appointed to the First American Task Force of the National Education Association, assisting in hearings and meetings which led to the Indian Education Act of 1971. A move to Cleveland in 1974 led to a position as an equal opportunity specialist in the Elementary and Secondary Education Division of the Office for Civil Rights.
In 1977 she was appointed project director of the Indian Education Services for the Cleveland Public Schools and served as a visiting instructor at several universities.
Mrs. Smith has been involved with numerous boards and organizations through the years, including the Ohio Women's Policy and Research Commission, Humane Society of the United States, National Indian Education Association, Lake County Committee on Domestic Violence, WomanSpace of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Community College advisory board, Women's Law Fund, National Indian Education Association and American Association of University Women, where she currently serves as executive vice president for Oklahoma. She is also involved in Church Women United, YWCA, United Way and the Women's Fair Planning Committee for Oklahoma.
Among her many honors are the Career Woman of Achievement award from the YWCA and SOHIO of Cleveland, and the Tower of Strength award from the Cleveland Association of Multicultural and Bilingual Educators. She is listed in the Professional American Indian/Alaskan Native Women Directory, Who's Who in the Midwest, Who's Who of American Women and OHOYO One Thousand.
Dr. Clodus R. Smith, a native of Blanchard, graduated from Dibble High before earning his associates degree in agriculture from Cameron in 1948. He holds bachelors and masters degrees from Oklahoma State University, and his EdD in agricultural education, sociology and counseling from Cornell University.
He worked for his room and board and finished in three semesters, leaving little time for outside activities at Cameron. He did, however, organize and coach a winning intramural basketball team, Smitty's Hot Rocks.
"Cameron was the place where I developed my own interests and found myself as an individual," Dr. Smith said. " What I learned and how I developed here _ with virtually no resources _ marked the enthusiasm, drive and determination that guided my career in education and leadership roles in higher education."
Dr. Smith served higher education for 39 years, including 11 as a chief executive officer, 10 as a dean and 10 as a vice president.
He was president of the Oklahoma Independent College Foundation/Oklahoma Association of Independent Colleges and Universities _ a public advocacy organization serving 11 state institutions _ from 1992 until his retirement in 1996.
His career began as a secondary education teacher in Oklahoma and Texas, then progressed to higher education in 1959 at the University of Maryland. While there, he directed UM's summer school and was administrative dean of summer programs. He also founded and was the first president of the North American Association of Summer Sessions, an organization that evolved into an international association.
Dr. Smith also created the University of Maryland International Piano Competition and Festival, an annual event which holds its finals accompanied by the Washington Symphony in Kennedy Center each August.
In 1973 he became assistant to the president of Cleveland State University and was vice president for university relations until 1983. In the mid-1980s, he simultaneously served as president of both private and state-supported community institutions, Rio Grande College and Community College in Ohio. In the late 1980s, he played a key roll as president in bringing full accreditation to Lake Erie College in Ohio.
Dr. Smith has authored two books, numerous publications and is listed in a dozen Who's Who and other biographical listings. He has addressed national and international conferences and consulted for such organizations as the National Education Association, Department of Vocational Education, Office of Economic Opportunity, Job Corps Program and the Education Development Center. The Smiths work with the aging and are active community volunteers. Dr. Smith works with the homeless in Oklahoma City and is on the cabinet for the City Rescue Mission's Seeing the Light Campaign.
The couple are lifetime members of the Cameron President's Partners and recently established the Clodus and Pauline Chaat Smith American Indian Endowed Scholarship at the university.