February 13, 2023


by: admin


Tags: Celebration, Tampa


Categories: 2023 Honorees

Dr. Juel & John Smith

Dr. Juel Shannon Smith

Dr. Juel Shannon Smith was the Founder and Executive Director for both, the Institute On Black Life And The Center For Africa, and USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy. She held several other positions at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa during her thirty plus years tenure. Those positions include University Counseling Psychologist: Adjunct Faculty Women Studies and  African- American Studies; and Director Of Institutional Development. Currently, Dr. Smith is President of JUE-L Consulting Group.

Though retired from USF, she has not retired from being a servant leader within our Tampa Bay community and served on the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Incorporated, where the Honorable Betty Castor served as Board Chair.

Dr. Juel Smith’s last USF position was as Founding Executive Director of the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Program. Under her leadership, approximately 1.5 million dollars was raised to endow scholarships for female students and research grants for women faculty.

Dr. Juel Smith established the University of South Florida ‘s Institute of  Black Life (IBL) and the Center for Africa and the Diaspora and served  thirteen years as its Founding Executive Director. Dr. Smith established the Dr.Richard F. Pride Graduate Fellowship program with an annual grant of $60,000 to fund four (4) African American PhD graduate students. In her leadership role, raised over $2 million dollars to support student scholarships, tutoring services and faculty research projects that focused on issues related to critical issues affecting African Americans.

Dr. Smith served as the International Director and the Non-Governmental (NGO) Representative to the United Nations for The Links, Incorporated. Dr. Smith served in a number of other community leadership and volunteer service roles. They include president of The Athena Society, Incorporated co-chair of the Advisory Board of the Central City YMCA, Advisory Council for the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Tampa Mayors Advisory Council, the College Hill and the Hillsborough County Advisory Council, Suicide Crisis Center, Tampa Action Plan Committee and many others.

Dr. Smith is a native of Sapulpa, Oklahoma and is married to Dr. John L. Smith. She is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Dr. Smith is an asset and a Community Champion.   She was nominated as a City of Tampa Black History Committee Community Honoree of Distinction because of her deep commitment to promoting student leadership and educational support and providing community leadership and volunteer services throughout the community.

Dr. John Smith

Dr. John L. Smith, Jr., DMA served as the 12th president of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, a top tier institute of higher learning.  During his administrative tenure, Fisk University experienced improved academic standing; increased enrollment of Merit Scholars and National Achievement Scholars; financial stability; substantial improvements of facilities; increased financial contributions; enhanced technology and telecommunications; and greater national visibility. Fisk University progressed from 11th to 8th rank in the US News and World Report and continued to be listed in the Princeton Review.

From 1988 – 1998, Dr. Smith was the first Black academic Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of South Florida,  His accomplishments while Dean encompassed raising over $120 million which included three endowed chairs (one an Endowed Chair in African Art), endowed scholarships and programs, and annual academic support funds; increased student and faculty diversity; weekly counseling sessions for minority students; and expansion of international exchange and study abroad programs as well as arts outreach programs to the University Area Community, Boys and Girls Clubs and West Tampa Elementary.

While Dean, Dr. Smith was the 1st African American to be elected president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and was chairman of the Florida Higher Education Arts Network.

His USF faculty appointment commenced in 1972 as the first tuba professor, subsequently achieving tenure and the rank of Professor of Music. His contributions included, founder and president of the Committee on Black Affairs, co-founder of Project Thrust, a black student support program, and president of the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. His leadership in those roles led to establishing the Institute on Black Life and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. campus plaza.

Dr. Smith is an accomplished professional musician.  He has served as principal tuba player with the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, becoming the first African American principal tubist for a professional American symphony orchestra (1962) and was the first full-time principal tubist for that orchestra. He served six years as principal tubist and first African American full-time appointment with the Oklahoma City Symphony. He was also principal tubist with the Chicago Community Orchestra, the Florida West Coast Symphony and the Indiana University Philharmonic and Opera Orchestras.

Dr. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, Missouri, Masters and Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University and a Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with post-graduate study at Harvard. He was honorably discharged after four years of US Navy service.  He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Orpheus Award recipient).  He is married to Juel Shannon Smith, PhD, the father of seven children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Dr. John L. Smith, Jr is an asset and a Community Champion. He was nominated as a City of Tampa Black History Committee Community Honoree of Distinction because of his deep commitment to promoting educational environments that produce students who learn with no limits and step into their careers with pride hope and unapologetic Blackness.