Georgette Palmer Smith -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Georgette Palmer Smith

Georgette Palmer Smith -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


By Khassandra Hameg

Although it has been more than 30 years since her graduation, Georgette Palmer Smith says that “the education I received from USAO resonates in my everyday being.” Smith is a 1980 graduate and is the executive director for the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Native Learning Center.

Her career reflects her commitment to the Native American community. She was assigned as the White House logistical coordinator representing the National Congress of American Indians for the historic meeting between President Bill Clinton and all 545 Tribal Leaders at the White House on April 29, 1994.

Smith is a designated certified meetings manager (CMM) by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Michigan State University. She was named “Meeting Professional to Watch in 2009” by Convention South Magazine. She received certification by First Nations Oweesta as a financial education trainer in building native communities.

She was honored by USAO in 1986 with the Young Alumni Award. In 2015, she received the AARP Elders Honor Award.

Smith developed and implemented the first-ever meetings and event management certification program at the University of Oklahoma. She served as a member of the OU faculty for the College of Continuing Education – OU Outreach.

As the executive director of the Native Learning Center, Smith is responsible for planning, implementing and managing all functions related to the operations and services of the organization. “Our training promotes the essentials of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) for Tribal members and their communities. The NLC develops curriculum and delivers training that supports the primary objectives of NAHASDA and EWONAP’s mission of promoting the development of Native housing and housing related activities,” she said.

When she comes back to Oklahoma, Smith says that USAO is one of her stops. “Every visit made back to Oklahoma includes a special ‘drive by’ of the university -- so many wonderful memories. It is especially poignant for me to show my children and grandchildren my USAO,” Smith said.

As a communication major at USAO, Smith says that Dr. Rose Marie Smith served as her mentor. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be the professional I am today. USAO provided the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of college life; enabled me to develop leadership skills, and the ability to give something back to my community.”

In addition to her career accomplishments, Smith says that she is very proud of her family. She has three children and five (soon to be six) grandchildren. “I also am grateful for surviving a brain aneurysm in 2012.”

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