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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Former OSU Extension Director Honored

Dr. Keith Smith

Dr. Keith Smith was recognized for his contributions to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) when he received the Meritorious Service Award at the college Alumni Awards Banquet in October. This award honors individuals who have been instrumental to the success of CFAES and had a significant impact on the college’s quest for excellence.

Smith served as the director of OSU Extension and associate dean of CFAES for 23 years. He retired in 2015 with the status of professor emeritus and continues to teach in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Smith’s daughters accepted his award on his behalf.Leadership at OSU. He currently serves as a member of the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board.

Under his leadership, OSU Extension maintained a presence in every Ohio county, and he oversaw a 4-H program that was second to none in the United States in both size and quality. Smith also supported innovative programming that appealed to Ohio’s growing urban communities by addressing topics like urban agriculture, food security, water quality, and alternative energy sources.Smith continues to teach and advise students in the CFAES Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) today.

“Keith has always believed in the mission of extending the work of the university to make it real to the people of the communities we serve. He continues to be a servant leader even in retirement. The strong foundations he forged during his tenure benefit us to this day.” Said Kirk Bloir, State 4-H Leader.

With Smith’s support, the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s annual Celebration of Youth fundraising event became a reality, bringing in more than $1.4 million to benefit Ohio 4-H youth development programming since its inception. His focus on developing intentional partnerships with local businesses and organizations also increased fundraising efforts for the creation of the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

Smith was named associate vice president for agricultural administration in 1998, extending his duties beyond CFAES to the university at large. In 2006 he was appointed as Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership within the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL). Smith is also a recipient of Extension’s National Distinguished Service Award and a member of the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.