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Claibourne Smith

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Information about Claibourne Smith

Profile image of Claibourne Smith

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1938
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1938
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Claibourne Smith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Chemist Claibourne D. Smith was born on January 6, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee to Lessie Minor and James Smith, Jr. At Melrose High School, he decided that he wanted to become a chemist. Smith petitioned the Memphis School Board to bring higher-level trigonometry and math courses to his school. He graduated from the University of Denver with his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry in 1959 and 1961, respectively. During college, Smith worked in chemical synthesis at the Denver Research Institute. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Oregon in 1964.

Smith began his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a research chemist where he remained for thirty-four years. Smith’s research in organic chemistry focused on the chemical properties and reactions of specific cyclic compounds. Throughout his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, he held many management positions, including director of Marketing Liaison and Vice President of Marketing in the Corporate Plans Department. Smith retired from the company in 1998 as Vice President of Technology and Vice Chairman of Corporation Education Aid.

Throughout his career, Smith has served as a member of numerous organizations and advisory boards. After serving as the board chairman of Delaware State University, he was named the acting president of Delaware State University from 2008 to 2010. Smith was appointed to the Delaware State Board of Education in 1993, and reappointed in 1999. He also served on the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform Advisory Board, the Delaware Council on Crime and Justice and on the board of directors of the Fair Housing Council of Delaware. For his service to public education, Smith was given the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2006. He was also the recipient of the Dean’s Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Oregon in 1989 and the Jefferson Awards Certificate of Excellence from the The News Journal of Delaware in 1994.

Smith lives with his wife, Roseann in Greenville, Delaware.

Claibourne D. Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2012.

See how Claibourne Smith is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Claibourne Smith's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his mother's work ethic
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith talks about his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Claibourne Smith talks about the lessons that he learned from his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Claibourne Smith describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Claibourne Smith describes the segregated neighborhood and the house where he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Claibourne Smith describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience in school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Claibourne Smith talks about his limited access a library while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his interests and activities while growing up in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about segregation in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes performing chemistry experiments in school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at Melrose High School (part 1)
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at Melrose High School (part 2)
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes being a student in a segregated Memphis school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about his teenage years and his interest in blues music
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes the music scene in Memphis during the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about the differences between his and his sister's academic performance
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to attend the University of Denver
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his visit to Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience with race relations in Denver, Colorado in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at the University of Denver chemistry department and at the Denver Research Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about getting married and having his first child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to attend the University of Oregon to pursue his Ph.D. degree
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Claibourne Smith describes his Ph.D. dissertation research on the synthesis and study of 2H-benz[cd]azulene
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to join DuPont as a research scientist
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience as a research scientist at DuPont
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his community involvement in Delaware
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his research on strained ring systems at DuPont
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his transition from a scientific track to a management track at DuPont
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes his experiences in management at DuPont
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith describes his role with minority science education at Delaware State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his leadership roles and service at Delaware State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about the strengths of Delaware State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith talks about his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his photographs