Joan Smith

Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award

By the College of Education

Established in 1975 to recognize meritorious service and/or distinguished achievement in such areas as business and industry, education, and health.

Joan SmithJoan Karen Smith
M.S. Education 1970
Ph.D. Education 1970

Karen Smith began her distinguished career at the University of Oklahoma in 1983, where she served as professor of educational leadership and policy studies, associate dean of the graduate school, acting dean of the graduate school, and acting director of the Doyle Center. Over these years, she earned a national reputation as a leading scholar in the area of education foundations.

In 1995, Smith became the first female dean of the College of Education at OU. Under her astute leadership, the college’s grant monies have grown from $1.5 million to over $5 million and student enrollment has increased. In 1997, for the first time, the college was ranked among the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Smith has also earned a reputation among OU students as a caring leader who listens and responds to their concerns. A colleague wrote, “Her extraordinary efforts with students at the undergraduate and graduate levels are testament to her willingness to give nothing less than her total effort and her ability to inspire others.” 