In Memoriam: Beth Kulakofsky Smith, 1921-2017

Beth SmithBeth Smith, who taught leadership and management courses at the Henry M. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, died at home on April 19. She was 96 years old.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Smith was a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she majored in economics. Although offered a job as an editorial assistant at Time magazine, Smith took a job as an engineering technician in an airplane factory to help the country’s war effort. She married a lawyer and the couple moved to Kansas City in 1948.

After raising a family, Smith returned to graduate school, earning a master of public administration degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She also was active in civic affairs serving on the City Planning Commission and the Commission on Human Relations. She was a founder of the Women’s Employment Network, the Wildwood Outdoor Education Center, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Midwest Center for NonProfit Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. An endowed chair at the School of Management was named in her honor. Smith and her husband also endowed a chair in Jewish studies at Wellesley College.

In 1996 Smith was awarded a University of Missouri System Presidential Citation Service Award, given to individuals who demonstrated outstanding and continuing service to the University of Missouri and its campuses. Leo E. Morton, chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said that “Beth Smith was a pioneering leader in vital fields, from women’s rights to social entrepreneurship, as well as a dedicated educator. She left indelible marks, on her community as a whole, and on the lives of countless individual students.”

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