Clifton "Clif" M. Smart III has served as the 11th president of Missouri State University since June 27, 2011.
Missouri State University has demonstrated significant progress under Smart’s leadership. The university has set new enrollment records each year, increasing total enrollment by more than 2,000 students. Missouri State has also increased the number of underrepresented students by 33% and the number of international students by 18%. Missouri State has implemented fifteen new degree programs, two of which are doctorate programs. The University has achieved a Silver STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and constructed or extensively renovated more than a dozen major campus facilities. The university has also received a historic level of external support, setting records in state appropriations, private gifts and grant funding.
Smart is committed to college affordability. Under his leadership, the university has raised tuition by less than the amount of inflation, meaning it is less expensive to attend Missouri State now than when Smart first became president.
Smart is known throughout campus and the state of Missouri for his collaborative leadership and strong relationships with students, faculty and staff. Having lived in Missouri for more than two decades, Smart maintains strong ties with leaders throughout the state and is actively engaged in the local community.
Smart currently serves as the president of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri and recently served on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. He has also served on boards and committees for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, CoxHealth, Arc of the Ozarks, Springfield Innovations, Inc., Isabel’s House, First Baptist Church and numerous other professional and community organizations.
Before his presidency, Smart served as the Missouri State University’s general counsel. Before coming to Missouri State University, Smart had a private legal practice in Springfield, Missouri.
Smart lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his wife, Gail.