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Press Release

Friday, November 13, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Receives UCF’s Distinguished Alumnus Award
~ Dr. Eric J. Smith awarded for his longstanding commitment to the education field ~

ORLANDO – Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith was honored last night with the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) most prestigious award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, during the annual Alumni Center’s Black and Gold Gala. Dr. Smith, class of 1978, received his master’s degree in school administration from UCF and was chosen among his classmates for his dedication and commitment to elevating the quality of education of the nation’s students.

“I’m thankful UCF has honored Dr. Smith for the outstanding work he has done throughout his career to help all of our students receive a quality education,” said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. “Our state and our country continue to benefit from his expertise and his leadership serves as an inspiration to educators and administrators everywhere.”

Prior to becoming Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Smith served as Senior Vice President of College Readiness at the College Board and has been a district superintendent in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. Dr. Smith’s commitment to increasing student achievement and reducing the academic disparity among student subgroups has enabled him to instill an importance of education in each of the diverse communities he has impacted.

“I’m honored and deeply humbled by the award the UCF Alumni Center has bestowed upon me,” said Commissioner Smith. “My UCF experience was crucial in preparing me to serve the needs of our students and I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.”

UCF is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the third largest in the nation with more than 53,500 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. For more information, visit