Stephanie Smith Named Kent State Trumbull's Spring Commencement Speaker

Kent State University at Trumbull proudly announces Stephanie Smith as its 2019 Spring Commencement speaker. Smith is an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The ceremony will be held in the evening on Saturday, May 11 in Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. in Warren.
 
“Even though she teaches at the Kent campus, Stephanie has an incredible impact on our campus and our community,” said Dr. Lance Grahn, dean and chief administrative officer, Kent State Trumbull. “A very talented and accomplished professional in her own right, Stephanie is also one of the Valley’s true heroes.  She lives here and freely gives of her time and expertise in support our community, especially those in need.  She personifies our campus’s commitment to collaboration in service to community vitality, sustainability, and prosperity.  We are extremely proud to have her address our graduates this year.”

Prior to coming to Kent State, Stephanie Danes Smith worked for the Federal Government, spending nearly 27 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She also had significant executive experience in defense with the U.S. Navy and in public diplomacy with the Department of State. 
 
At the CIA, Stephanie served in a variety of roles supporting the collection of intelligence. She was the first woman to hold the position of Director for Support at CIA. In that position, she led the largest of CIA’s four directorates, managed the CIA’s largest budget, and led a worldwide workforce. She achieved the highest rank possible in the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service and her career accomplishments were recognized with the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA Director’s Award and 20 exceptional performance awards.  She has traveled extensively across the ocean, including throughout the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
Stephanie’s extensive professional experience outside of the CIA also includes a number of “firsts.” 
 
She was the first CIA officer to serve as Executive Director for Administration at the National Security Council, under Dr. Condoleezza Rice; she later became the first CIA officer to serve as a senior advisor to the Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the Department of State, where she co-founded the Counterterrorism Communications Center.  Later, she was the first CIA officer selected for a senior executive assignment at the United States Navy, where her work was recognized with a U.S. Navy Special Act Award. 
 
Smith has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
 
In 2011, Stephanie was honored with the William D. Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award from Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  
 
Stephanie lives in Warren, Ohio, with her husband, Bill.  At Kent State, she requires her students to denounce Justin Bieber, memorize the words “team is life,” and profess their loyalty to Led Zeppelin. 
 
For more information about Kent State University at Trumbull’s 2019 Commencement, contact Bill Burgess, marketing coordinator, at 330-412-7490.

POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 3:27pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 4:37pm