OUR Clemson

Phi Kappa Phi recognizes distinguished Emeritus faculty member


Clemson University emeritus faculty member Diane Smathers was recognized as a Distinguished Member of Phi Kappa Phi, a national multidisciplinary honor society with more than 1.5 million members.

Recognized for her years of service at the local and national levels, Smathers was nominated as a Distinguished Member in December 2019 and received the award in a ceremony on Monday, April 19, at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. The award recognizes members who’ve served the society in an outstanding manner and demonstrated a sustained record of leadership. The individual also receives a lifetime membership and a Distinguished Member certificate.

Christine Minor, president of Clemson’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter and senior lecturer in biological sciences, was on hand to recognize Smathers’ achievement.

“Diane has been a backbone of Chapter 49 for many years and a true leader in service to the national organization in various roles, including president and the board,” Minor said. “We are lucky to have Diane and happy to honor to recognize her.”

Minor noted Smather’s consistent involvement in service to Phi Kappa Phi and the greater academic community.

“Our chapter is strengthened by her ongoing support and presence. Her long-term academic effort and commitment to Phi Kappa Phi serves as a model for each of us.”

Smathers was elected as a member of Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Georgia, where she completed her doctoral degree in 1980. After serving as faculty at the University of Georgia and the University of Kentucky, Smathers arrived at Clemson in 1988, where she served as a professor and extension specialist for 4-H Youth Development until 1994. She became the assistant director and department chair in Family and Youth Development from 1994 to 2002. Smathers later became associate vice provost and director of the Emeritus College from 2002 until her retirement.

Over the course of her career, Smathers dedicated much of her service to Phi Kappa Phi, becoming active in the Clemson chapter leadership team for more than 15 years. Smathers also served on the Phi Kappa Phi board as vice president (2007-2010) president-elect (2010-2012), president (2012-2014) and immediate past president (2014- 2016). She also served as the inaugural chair of the Foundation Board of Trustees from 2017 to 2019.