PSU vice president emeritus Joseph “Grady” Smoot died Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at Via Christi Village in Pittsburg. He was 85.

Dr. Joseph Grady Smoot

Dr. Joseph Grady Smoot

“Grady loved this university and this community,” said President Steve Scott. “But, more than that, he loved life. He has left a legacy at Pittsburg State that will benefit Gorillas for generations to come. On behalf of Pittsburg State University, I offer my deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Smoot, who grew up as a self-described “farm boy,” went on to become widely traveled, visiting more than 100 countries on seven continents. At age 73, he climbed Mt. Kenya with his family. At age 75, he walked across the Golden Gate Bridge for the third time in his life.

He came to PSU in 1984 as vice president of Development and Public Relations, the university’s first full-time development staff member. He also served for eight years as assistant to the president under Dr. Tom Bryant.

In 1985, Smoot was named the new PSU Foundation’s executive director. He was credited with spearheading several large campaigns for the university, including the Campaign for Distinction and the Centennial 2003 Fund.

He also is credited with establishing this magazine, KRPS-FM radio station, raising millions of dollars for the Kansas Technology Center, and inspiring Jim AuBuchon to move forward with creating the PSU Veterans Memorial.

His contributions to Pittsburg also were substantial, including serving as a trustee for the Pittsburg Public Library, the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, and the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation, and as a fundraiser to save the historic Hotel Stilwell.