From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Smith, Mary L.

(born: 1936) 

Mary L. Smith was born in Mississippi. She graduated from Jackson State University in 1957 and earned her masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky. She began teaching at the elementary level in 1957 and at the college level in 1964. In October 1991, she became the first woman president of Kentucky State University. She had previously served as interim president April of 1989 until July of 1990. She then replaced Dr. John T. Wolfe when he left in the summer of 1991. As the permanent president, she oversaw the establishing of the Center for Diversity and the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA). Two accredited masters degree programs were added: Public Administration and Aquaculture. She oversaw the building of the Exum Athletic Center, the Cooperative Extension Building, and renovations to Hume Hall. For more see Notable Black American Women, Book II; and the Office of the President Records, a Kentucky Digital Library webpage.



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NKAA Source: Notable Black American women : book II

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NKAA Entry: Kentucky State University Presidents, 1886-present

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“Smith, Mary L.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 17:29:11