A Columbia native, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina. She taught school at Richland School District One, where she helped develop the district’s first gifted and talented program,
In 1977, Smith seized an opportunity to bring her passion for community involvement into the business world and joined Southern Bell, which later became AT&T. Over the following 37 years, she continually worked to encourage opportunities for success for individuals and families and support projects that strengthened the community. One of her legacies is helping to create and direct AT&T’s African American History Calendar project, the first of its kind in the country.
A 25-year volunteer with the Columbia Urban League, Smith became the first African American woman to chair a number of civic organizations such as the American Red Cross-Central Carolinas and the Foundations of Midlands Technical College and the State Museum. She has also served on the Boards of Visitors of Columbia College, Allen University and Claflin University, the Board of Trustees of South Carolina State University and USC’s Presidential Minority Advisory Committee. She is the current president of the (Columbia) SC Chapter of The Links, Inc.
Smith was named the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year by the United Way of the Midlands, the first African American woman to receive the award. A member of the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame, Smith has received the South Carolina NAACP’s statewide award for civic advocacy and the National Public Servant Award from the Jobs for America’s Graduates program.
The mother of two and grandmother of one, Smith and her husband, Murray, are members of Francis Burns United Methodist Church.