At meetings this year, Missouri State’s Board of Governors has asked tough questions of the university’s president.

Members also repeatedly praised Clif Smart’s decision-making and handling of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The board recently put that praise in writing with members giving Smart high marks on his annual review.

Members evaluated Smart’s strategic and educational leadership; organizational and financial management; fundraising; external, internal and board relations; and personal characteristics and values.

Board chair Amy Counts said, in a news release, that Smart continued to display “vision, judgement and agility” during the pandemic.

“In the spirit of innovation that is core to Missouri State, the university demonstrated leadership and creativity in providing a safe campus for our students and an interactive environment that few universities chose or were able to offer this past year,” Counts said.

Amy Counts

“This enabled our students to have a somewhat normal campus experience during a year filled with multiple challenges.”

Smart presented his self-assessment to the board in June. That happened in executive session, or behind closed doors, which is permitted under the Sunshine Law because it involves a personnel matter.

Smart recently marked a decade as the MSU president. His contract runs through June 30, 2026, and he did not request an extension.