Clarence Smith’s long association with the ISE department began when he arrived on campus in the fall of 1965. An active member and officer of the student chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), he also served in leadership roles on the Engineers’ Council. Upon graduation in 1969 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, he began his professional career with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company as a staff industrial engineer, serving at the company’s plants in Akron, Ohio, and Fayetteville, North Carolina.
He returned to NC State in 1978 as Lecturer of Industrial Engineering and Extension Specialist, jointly appointed with the Industrial Extension Service (IES). In this role he had the rare opportunity to contribute to educational and professional activities, teaching undergraduate courses in industrial engineering as well as providing technical training and assistance to North Carolina business, industry, and government. This unique position afforded him the opportunity to pursue graduate education, and in 1983 he received the degree of Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.
Clarence became assistant head of the ISE department in 1984, relinquishing his IES duties for departmental administrative and advising responsibilities. His continuous service in this role over the past three decades places him in an elite group, possibly serving as long as or longer than any administrator in the NCSU College of Engineering (COE).
As an active faculty member and the primary undergraduate advisor in ISE, Clarence has been a friend, advisor, teacher, advocate, and mentor to more than 4,000 graduates of the department. This represents almost 80 percent of all students who have ever received a BSIE degree from the department since its inception in 1931.
Awards and Honors
Clarence has received numerous honors and awards for his contributions to the profession as well as for his teaching and advising. His teaching awards include the C. A. Anderson Outstanding ISE Faculty Award (1980) and the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award (1984). In 1985, Clarence was named Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, which is the University’s most prestigious recognition for excellence in undergraduate teaching; and up to the present time, Clarence remains the only ISE faculty member to have been so honored. Extension and public-service awards include the COE Outstanding Extension Award (1983) and the NCSU Outstanding Extension Award (1984). He was honored as the COE Outstanding Advisor in 1990, 1996, and 2006; and thus Clarence is the first (and still the only) three-time recipient of this award. In 2005 he became the first faculty member of the College of Engineering to receive the NCSU Faculty Advising Award.
Outside the university, Clarence has been recognized by IIE with the Phil Carroll Award (1991) for his accomplishments in work analysis and design. In 2005 he received the Fellow Award from IIE, which is one of the highest honors bestowed by the Institute in recognition of “outstanding leaders of the profession who have made significant, nationally recognized contributions to industrial engineering.” He was elected 2014 ISE Distinguished Engineering Alumnus and gave the departmental commencement address that fall.
Clarence has given long and faithful service as Board Member of the North Carolina State Board of Refrigeration. Appointed and subsequently re-appointed by 5 different Governors, his total service of over 22 years, as well as his leadership during 3 terms as Board Chair, are unmatched in the over 60 year history of the Refrigeration Board.