Clif Smart

Clif Smart

Clif's Notes



Clifton "Clif" M. Smart III has served as the 11th president of Missouri State University since June 27, 2011.

Under Smart’s leadership, the university has:

  • Set new enrollment records each year
  • Increased the percentage of underrepresented and international students
  • Increased student retention and graduation rates
  • Maintained college affordability by raising tuition by less than the amount of inflation
  • Significantly upgraded campus facilities
  • Implemented new bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs
  • Achieved a Silver STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 
  • Set records in state appropriations, private gifts and grant funding

In recent years, Smart has served as the president of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri, on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, on the Mercy Health Springfield Communities Board of Directors, on the Board of Directors for the Hawthorn Foundation, and on the Board of Directors for Missouri Partnership. 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.

Smart has lived in Springfield, Missouri for more than two decades. Before his presidency, Smart served as the university’s general counsel. Before coming to Missouri State University, Smart had a private legal practice in Springfield.

Smart and his wife, Gail, have two sons: Murray, who along with his wife, Amy, both graduated in 2012 from Southwest Baptist University and live in Rogers Arkansas with their daughters Addy, Emery and Miriam and son Parker; and Jim, who is studying law in Oregon.