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John Smart, LCAD trustee, dies at age 81

Longtime Laguna College of Art + Design Trustee John Smart died last month at the age of 81.
Longtime Laguna College of Art + Design Trustee John Smart died last month at the age of 81.
(Courtesy Laguna College of Art + Design / Coastline Pilot)

John Smart, longtime Laguna College of Art + Design trustee, died last month at the age of 81.

Smart became an LCAD trustee in 1995 and served as board chairman from 1999 to 2002, according to a news release. He was instrumental in pushing for the college to receive accreditation from the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges and in stewarding the library expansion campaign in honor of Dennis Power, LCAD’s president from 2005 to 2011.

Smart, who lived in Huntington Beach, also led three presidential searches for the school during his board tenure.

“Trustees bestowed on John the title of ‘sage’ and it was well deserved,” LCAD President Jonathan Burke said in the release. “His advice and counsel were invaluable, and John always could make sense of a complicated situation. Besides his intellect, he had a great sense of humor and a surplus of practical experience that helped guide this college.”

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LCAD’s board and staff recently honored Smart, whom family and friends called Jack, with an award for “outstanding service in the development of LCAD,” the release said.

“Jack was a friend and a mentor over the 15 years we served on the LCAD board together,” current board member Nancy Milby said in the release. “He listened more than he spoke, but when he did speak, everyone listened. His was the voice of wisdom and reason. He will be sorely missed.”

Smart enjoyed a career in higher education that spanned more than 40 years. He served in many roles in the California State University system, including associate dean of academic affairs, director of institutional relations, deputy provost and vice chancellor.

As the system’s vice chancellor for university affairs, Smart was responsible for CSU’s legislative offices in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., according to LCAD’s website.

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Smart is survived by his wife, Pam, sons Conrad and Marshall, and grandson John.

In addition to his academic career, Jack loved spending time with his family, traveling and working in his garden, which was his pride and joy, LCAD’s website said.

A celebration of Smart’s life will be held at 11 a.m. May 24 at LCAD’s main campus, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road. For more information and to RSVP, visit lcad.edu/jacksmart.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the John M. Smart Memorial Fund at LCAD.

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