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Texas State University

A Smart Legacy

Dr. Denise Smart

There is a calmness and warmth Dr. Denise T. Smart exudes which instantly puts you at ease, regardless of the topic at hand. Even when discussing her myriad of accolades or reputation of excellence, Dean Smart’s amiability rarely allows her to admit to her victories. Rather, she steers conversations away from her own accomplishments and instead readily notes that her achievements are those of the McCoy College of Business, her successes directly tied to the collaborative effort of the phenomenal staff, faculty, chairs and associate deans of the school. 

When reflecting on her experiences, Dean Smart conveys her appreciation for those who have traveled alongside her.

“The journey has been so positive, and I appreciate being able to be here. Great administration, solid and supportive leadership, and a strategic and inclusive focus have made it a good place to be because you know what the road up ahead is. You know how the college contributes to that direction.”

Though Dean Smart is averse to singing her own praises, the reality of her successes is a testimony to her personal contributions to the college’s efforts. In 2005, she was named “The Most Supportive Dean of the Year” by the national board of directors for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization (now Enactus) – a panel that consisted of Fortune 500 executives.

Serving as the past president of the American Marketing Association Academic Division, the Southern Marketing Association, the Council of Texas Business Deans and the Southwestern Business Deans’ Association are further evidence of her commitment to innovation in an increasingly complex business environment. 

Tellingly, her election to the Board of Directors and selection as a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business highlights the fact that her impact truly has reached a global scale. Dean Smart’s role in this international agency, which represents more than 1,700 educational institutions, businesses and other organizations across more than 100 countries and territories, is reflective of her desire to ensure that students of McCoy College are at the forefront of globalization.

Dr. Denise Smart at graduation ceremony

It is through these enterprises and actions that she “hopes to leave a solid foundation for the college to continue on in a positive direction. I hope my efforts will allow the dean who follows to continue the great and important work of this college.”

Ever striving, Dean Smart’s dedication to excellence and her inspirational leadership continue to be lauded; she was recognized as the 2019 Dean of the Year by Beta Gamma Sigma, the premier honor society for AACSB International accredited schools of business. 

Still, it isn’t the honors or congratulations, praise or applause which Dean Smart so fondly recalls, it was the simple acts of “getting to interact with people across the span of the college, university, business community and alumni.”

“It was the research being done in the college, the development of student organizations, the faculty and department chairs, working with the advisory boards in the college, supporting people and facilitating opportunities, getting students to explore new cultures to understand globalization, those are the things I am most proud of during my time here at McCoy College,” Dean Smart shares.

Dean Smart’s legacy is inextricably linked to the story of the Emmett and Miriam McCoy College of Business Administration; she was leading the college in 2004 when Miriam and the late Emmett McCoy gifted $20 million to establish the McCoy College Foundation Endowment. This donation has been transformational for the college, providing endowments for chairs, professorships, fellowships, scholarships, faculty and student development, and opportunities for generations to come. 

In the course of Dean Smart’s tenure, the college would receive a number of additional endowments, including $1.5 million from Distinguished Alumnus T. Paul Bulmahn for the development of a state-of-the-art research and trading lab, $2 million from Miriam McCoy in 2018 in support of the McCoy Scholars Program, and $2.1 million from Jerry D. and Linda Gregg Fields for the creation of two endowed chairs, one in urban and regional economics and a second in ethics and corporate responsibility.

To her surprise and joy, an endowed chair was named in honor of Dean Smart in 2019, when Brian and Wetonnah McCoy donated $1 million to the college.

After 20 years of helping to navigate McCoy College through major social, technological and industry transformations, Dean Smart is stepping down from her role and moving into a new phase of her career and life. Thankfully, she will remain a part of the university family for the foreseeable future, continuing to contribute to the college’s goals and encountering students in the classroom.

While her guidance will be missed, Dean Smart is certain that the future of the college is as bright as ever.

“The future is exciting, there are lots of opportunities ahead for the college to reach new heights. The collective reputation of our programs is positively growing, and businesses are saying that our students are well-trained, hard-working, and ready to hit the ground running. Faculty are undertaking research that has increasing impact on business practice, and alumni are more engaged than ever. I look forward to what the next stage looks like.”

Thank you, Dr. Denise T. Smart, for all you have done.