Columbia College Professor of Political Science Dr. Terry Smith

Terry Smith knew he wanted to study political science from a young age with inspiration from his father, who was a combat engineer in World War II and the Korean War.

Before his dad left for Korea, his son was given a globe to be able to find him anywhere in the world. That gave Smith an interest in international affairs, especially as he began to understand the politics behind the war his father was fighting.

Since graduating from Michigan State University with a Ph.D. in political science, Smith, 78, has been with Columbia College for nearly 30 years. From professor to interim president, he has filled a number of roles, but his favorite will always be in the classroom.

“I love teaching,” he said. “It’s what I was put here to do — teach college.”

In addition to his passion for politics, he played the clarinet through college and has always been a voracious reader. He has also never owned a smartphone and rarely watches television, and he remains an advocate for the arts and other creative pursuits.

“I played the clarinet so I could be in the band, and that got me into this music fraternity and a lifelong love of music,” Smith said.

Enjoy the rest of Emily Anne Griffith’s feature on Dr. Smith, courtesy of the Columbia Missourian’s “Boomtown 2023: How to live your best life in Columbia over 50” series, by clicking here.