- First Vice President of the Student Support Services division at the University of Akron
- Dean of Student Life and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Kansas
- Former Associate Dean of Women at KU
- Spent one year as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Southeast Missouri State University
- 1992: received Jacobs Award for Outstanding Fraternity Service from Zeta Beta Tau national fraternit
- Honored with both the NASPA Region IV-West Outstanding Contribution to Region and Distinguished Service Awards
Caryl Kelley Smith, former Dean of Student Life and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Kansas, is nationally well-known as an administrator and advocate for students. David Ambler, then Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, lauded her with these words: “Caryl Kelley Smith has impeccably good senses about what students need, as well as a broad institutional perspective that enables her to solve problems and create outstanding programs.”
Dean Smith graduated from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia with a BA in Sociology in 1959. At Indiana University, she earned her MA in Recreation in 1961 and her PhD in Higher Education in 1973.
In 1972, Dean Smith came to the University of Kansas as an Associate Dean of Women. This included serving as the Director for the upperclass women’s residence halls. During her tenure as Associate Dean and throughout her career at KU, she remained active in groups aimed at reducing sex-role stereotyping in both the field of education and the community. She was the State Coordinator for the Kansas Project ID Steering Committee, a state-based program of the Office of Women in Higher Education, which is part of the American Council on Education. She also served as co-coordinator for a workshop on Title IX regulations.
In 1985, Dean Smith was promoted to the position of Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Student Life. She was a member of the Residential Programs Advisory Board, Board of Class Officers, Senate Human Resources committee, and Advisor to Student Senate. She sat as Chairman of the Building Concept and Program Use Committee for the Kansas Memorial Union Corporation Board of Directors. For her work with Zeta Beta Tau national fraternity, she received the 1992 Jacobs Award for Outstanding Fraternity Service. Additionally, Dean Smith served as a School of Education Courtesy Professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership.
She also was involved in many organizations on state and national levels. She belonged to both the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the National Association of Women in Education. In 1981, she was honored with the NASPA Region IV-West Outstanding Contribution to Region Award, and in 1988 received the Region’s Distinguished Service Award.
She took a one-year leave in 1991 to serve as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Southeast Missouri State University. During this single year, she united the student services groups to create an entirely new division which was designed to better meet the needs of all students. An editorial in student newspaper lauded her changes, declaring “She clearly can handle whatever the job demands of her.”
In 1993, she left the University of Kansas to become the first Vice President of the newly created Student Support Services division at the University of Akron. Upon her acceptance, University of Akron President Peggy Gordon Elliott welcomed her to the school with the statement, “Dr. Smith has demonstrated an exceptional ability to enhance and provide leadership for student services at several institutions.”