~ Missouri State University President Clif Smart was honored with the Key to the City by Springfield Mayor Ken McClure at the Missouri State Board of Governors meeting earlier today. Smart, who has served as president since 2011, is being recognized for his significant contributions to the university and the community.

In his time as president, Smart has been credited with increasing enrollment and raising the profile of Missouri State University across the state. Despite facing challenges during his tenure, he has successfully led necessary facility improvements and kept tuition affordable. Under his leadership, MSU has also achieved a Silver STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Mayor McClure praised Smart's leadership during a difficult time for the university, quoting from the book of Esther in the Bible: "Clif is a leader for a time such as this." He also highlighted Smart's collaboration with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the City during the pandemic, ensuring that all entities were informed and decisions were made in the best interest of the community.

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In addition to receiving the Key to the City, Mayor McClure declared it "Clif Smart Day" with a resolution outlining Smart's numerous contributions to both Missouri State University and Springfield as a whole.

Smart's accomplishments go beyond just academic success. He has also worked towards enhancing diversity among faculty, staff, and students at MSU. During his presidency, new bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs have been developed. Additionally, under his leadership, MSU has set records in state appropriations, private gifts, and grant funding.

Smart has been a resident of Springfield for over 30 years. Prior to becoming president of MSU, he served as general counsel for the university. Before that, he had a successful private legal practice in Springfield.

Smart is joined by his wife Gail in receiving this honor from Mayor McClure. The couple have two sons: Murray, who graduated from Southwest Baptist University in 2012 and now resides in Rogers, Arkansas with his wife and children; and Jim, who recently graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Mayor McClure's presentation of the Key to the City makes Smart the sixth person to receive this prestigious award. Previous recipients include Sam Hamra, William "Bill" Darr, retired Director of Planning and Development Mary Lilly Smith, Dr. Robert Spence, and Johnny Morris. For more information on the Key to the City award, visit

Filed Under: Government, City

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