In Memoriam: Dorothy Louise Christel White Smith, 1939-2022

Dorothy Smith, a long-time faculty member and school administrator, died early this year at her home in San Diego, She was 82 years old.

Smith grew up near Memphis and was the valedictorian at Weakley County Training School in Martin, Tennessee. She earned a vocal music scholarship to Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. After she married, she completed a bachelor’s degree in English at Case Western Reserve University in Clevland. She later earned a master’s degree in English at California State University, Long Beach and a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Smith taught at Long Beach City College, Grossmont Community College, San Diego City College, and San Diego State University. At San Diego State, she taught courses in writing & rhetoric, African American studies, and teacher education courses. Dr. Smith was the inaugural director of the “Aim to Teach” program that aimed to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in teacher certification programs.

While serving on the SDSU faculty. Dr. Smith also was appointed, then elected, to the Board of Education in 1981, becoming the first Black woman ever to be elected to public office in San Diego. She served on the Board of Education for eight years, presiding as president in 1984 and 1988.

Dr. Smith retired from teaching in 1997.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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  1. Gene says:

    What a remarkable lifetime of service to others. May she enjoy her well-deserved heavenly reward. Rest in Peace, Dr. Smith.

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