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Former Harris-Stowe Leader, Education Champion Wayman F. Smith III Dies At 80

Courtesy the St. Louis American
Wayman F. Smith III was inducted into the Fred David Gray Hall of Fame by the National Bar Association in 2016. He died Tuesday.

The St. Louis region has lost a great business leader and pioneer for education.

Attorney Wayman F. Smith III served as a member of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents for 21 years, and as chairman for 12 of those years beginning in 1989. He also initiated the first major corporate sponsorship of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri.

Smith died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Tuesday. He was 80.

During Smith’s tenure as chairman of Harris-Stowe, the college expanded from one building and one degree to university status and six buildings, a new business school campus in south St. Louis, 14 degree programs, double the full-time faculty and triple the student enrollment. Smith’s leadership assisted Harris-Stowe’s first major fundraising project to the level of $45 million.

Smith was one of the founding members of Harris-Stowe’s African American Business Leadership Council, chaired by David Steward. The council is an alliance of African American business leaders who support the Harris-Stowe State University Business Administration program with their personal resources and business know-how. The AABLC raised more than $400,000 in scholarships for business school students.

Upon his retirement, Smith was presented an honorary doctorate by the Harris-Stowe Board of Regents.

This story was originally published in the St. Louis American, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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