AFW Past President Margaret Black presents Former WSU President Samuel H. Smith with an Honorary AFW Membership Award

In May 2016 at our annual business meeting, the first AFW by-laws were approved by the membership. One category of membership described in the newly approved by-laws is that of honorary members, who are designated as such by the rest of the membership. It was clear to me that Sam Smith was an obvious person for whom the AFW Honorary Member designation was particularly fitting, and the membership agreed at the May 2017 meeting.


Samuel H. Smith served as WSU President from 1985-2000. At the very beginning of his presidency in 1985 Sam worked closely with AFW to open new opportunities for faculty women. A point of reference is that in 1986 there were 2 women chairs and only 8 women full professors. A small group of AFW members including Carolyn Clark, Birgitta Ingemanson, Diane Gillespie, and Nancy Magnuson were part of a seven member ad hoc committee that worked with Sam. A series of three seminars, with expert outside speakers, was devised to work towards improving conditions and employment opportunities at the faculty level for women at WSU. As Carolyn Clark describes it: “Sam wanted first an ‘enabling committee’ of influential men on campus to help sell the idea; and he asked AFW for a list. It was, we later told him, a who’s-who of misogynists among the Deans and Chairs, whom we counted on to be eager to court the favor of the new president. They fell into line, with Sam’s help; and the seminars’ attendance became more or less required of all Deans and Chairs, as he stood at the doors greeting each attendee.” Sam has been an ardent supporter of AFW since the mid-1980s and in 2000, AFW established the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award in recognition of his long-standing support.

On behalf of AFW I was delighted to present the first AFW Honorary Membership to Sam Smith in December 2018.

Margaret Black
AFW President 2007-2008; 2016-2017