PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s newest building was named by the WSU Board of Regents today (Jan. 25) for WSU President Emeritus Samuel H. Smith.
The Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education opened in January and will be dedicated in the spring.
The 94,000-plus-square-foot facility includes 20 classrooms – complete with Internet access at every seat – that can accommodate 1269 students. The classrooms include two auditoriums with seating for 245 and 109, 12 medium-size classrooms with seating for 36-40, five large classrooms with seating up to 81 students and one computer classroom with seating for 30.
It includes offices and houses a host of programs, including the General Education Program; Writing Program; Student Computing Services’ computer technology lab; and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology.
Regent William Marler said the center is a “tribute to Sam’s vision and the programs in there are world-class.” President V. Lane Rawlins called the naming a fitting tribute and will stand as a monument for Smith’s accomplishments in higher education.
Smith attended the meeting and acknowledged he was deeply honored. “ The quality of undergraduate education is what is it’s all about,” WSU’s former president said.
WSU’s eighth president, Smith led WSU from 1985 to 2000. More than one-third of all Washington State graduates – since the university’s first commencement in 1897 – had their academic degrees granted by him.
Under his leadership, the university grew in size and stature. Its teaching, research and public service activities received worldwide recognition. Strengthening undergraduate and graduate education, placing an international imprint on programs, and increasing opportunities for women and minorities were are among his presidential priorities.
Smith is well known for establishing the university’s urban campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver to serve placebound and job-bound students. Learning centers and award-winning Extended Degree Programs have further expanded access to WSU.
During his presidency, Campaign WSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising effort transformed WSU’s ability to serve students and the state by supporting scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, learning technology and statewide education.
A California native, Smith, 61, is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He became WSU’s president after serving as dean of the College of Agriculture of Pennsylvania State University. He now resides in Seattle.
Smith, a recognized national leader in education, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Western Governors University and chair of the board of directors of the Talaris Research Institute. Located in Seattle, the institute is devoted to the study of early learning.
He is former chair of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Board of Directors. He also was the chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Directors. He is a former member of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of the State and Land-Grant Universities.