(FRANKFORT, KY) – Kentucky State University’s fourteenth and first female president, Dr. Mary L. Smith, 84, passed away on November 28, surrounded by her loved ones at home.

A trailblazer and a longtime advocate for access to education, Dr. Smith was not only Kentucky State’s first female president but also the first African-American female college president in Kentucky. Dr. Smith served as president from 1991 to 1998. Before becoming president, she was special assistant to the president and professor at Kentucky State.

Smith also previously served as interim president and vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Smith became an assistant professor of education at Kentucky in 1974, then associate professor of education and acting chairperson of the Division of Education, Human Resources and Technology in 1981. In 1883, Dr. Smith became dean of the College of Applied Sciences and professor of education.

Dr. Smith graduated from Jackson State University in 1957 and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Smith will lie in state at Kentucky State University on Thursday, December 4, 2020, in the Carl H. Smith Auditorium in David H. Bradford Hall from noon until 5 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to pay their respects and sign the University’s guest book. Security will be present and COVID-19 regulations will be highly enforced with only 25 guest permitted in Carl H. Smith Auditorium at a time.

A private service will be held Friday in the David H. Bradford Hall Little Theater. The service will be broadcast via Zoom:

Time: Dec 4, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting: https://kysu.zoom.us/j/96422591180

Meeting ID: 964 2259 1180

Tributes may be made to the Dr. Mary Levi Smith Endowed Scholarship at www.kysu.edu/give.

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