BOLIVAR – A total of 475 students received diplomas at the Southwest Baptist University (SBU) spring commencement May 19 here on the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum on the main campus.
The commencement address was given by Clifton M. Smart, interim president of Missouri State University (MSU). The Bob R. Derryberry senior address was given by graduating senior Amanda Michelle Gilmore.
In addition, SBU President C. Pat Taylor and Provost William Brown presented the Life Beautiful and Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher awards.
Smart was named interim president of MSU on June 27, 2011. He had served as general counsel at MSU since Dec. 1, 2007.
Smart has provided legal counsel to the university board, president, faculty, staff and administrators. He also has been involved in many campus-wide initiatives including: leading the university response to the state auditor’s report on MSU; serving on the John Q. Hammons Arena Task Force; developing a comprehensive on-line library policy for the university; and chairing or serving on a variety of searches including vice president for diversity and inclusion, chief financial officer (twice), director of admissions, director of human resources and men’s basketball coach.
He is an alumnus of Tulane University, graduating summa cum laude in 1983. In 1986, he graduated with a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law. While in law school, he received the Leflar Scholarship, was an Oxford Scholar and was on the Arkansas Law Review.
Smart and his wife, Gail, have two sons: Murray, graduating this month from SBU in Bolivar, and Jim, an incoming freshman at Hamilton (N.Y.) College.