September 26, 2004 - by
2004 Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: Jim Smith

Sept. 26, 2004


Jim Smith has held many positions in Florida government including Secretary of State, Chief of Staff for the Governor, Attorney General and member of the Board of Regents. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, but the position that we like most is supporter and friend of the Florida State Seminoles.

In 1958, Jim arrived at Florida State. He tried out for the basketball team and pledged the ATO fraternity with the encouragement of senior starter Jim Savage. Savage also did him another favor by introducing him to his cousin, Carole Clark. Jim and Carole later married and Smith went on to attend law school at Stetson.

Jim was on the fast track at the Department of State and eventually landed as an executive assistant to his friend Governor Reubin Askew. Even while building his agricultural business, a law practice, a political career and a family, Jim stayed very active in Florida State athletics. He was disturbed by the dramatic decline in support for the football team. With only 10,000 fans in the stands, Smith felt it was time to take action. He approached FSU President Stan Marshall and tactfully broached the subject of finding funding to bring in a new coach. The coach that won the job and hearts of Seminole fans was of course – Bobby Bowden. Needless to say, the rest is history.

In 1977, Jim served on the Board of Regents for the state’s university system and continued his path in state government including being twice elected Attorney General and appointed to Secretary of State. He continued to practice law specializing in governmental and regulatory matters. In August 2002, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Smith as Secretary of State.

Jim has served as President of the FSU National Alumni Association and is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at FSU. He has received the ODK’s Grads Made Good Award, FSU’s Bernie Sliger Award and an honorary doctorate of human letters from FSU to name a few.

He and Carole have three children, Kathryn, Scott, and Clark, and five beautiful grandchildren.

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