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California State University, Long Beach
Alumni Association

Donald H. Smith- '60,'62 BA, MA Industrial Arts, Professor Emeritus Industrial Arts (1959-1993)

Donald H. Smith Portrait.

What years did you work at LBSU? How did you end up teaching at LBSU?

I worked part time teaching electronics in night classes in the Industrial Arts department in 1959. Previously, I graduated from the Maritime Naval Electronics School in Boston, Mass. I served as a Communications Electronics Officer aboard many different ships and traveled the world. As a Master Sergeant in the Army, I was in charge of all high frequency communication out of Nansan, near the Seoul area for a couple of years at the end of the Korean War. I served several years as an Electronic Specialist at the Distant Early Warning Radar sites above the Arctic Circle. I am licensed as a Maritime Radio Officer by the US Coast Guard and have held every license the Federal Communications Commission issued.

I was asked to become a full time faculty member in 1960, when I graduated at LBSU with my Bachelor's degree in Industrial Arts. I earned my Master's Degree in Industrial Arts in 1962 from LBSU. I received my Doctorate in Education from UCLA in 1975. I retired in 1993 as Full Professor of Industrial Arts/Industrial Education.

Could you describe your experience at LBSU?

I taught many different classes in electronics as well as other professional classes. I think we did a very good job of keeping up with advances in technology that occured during my 30 year tenure. We were able to adjust and change the curriculum so that our students were up to date with current trends. During this time, I was in direct contact with leaders in industry, visting and having our students tour their plants to talk with them. In turn, I had people from our Industrial Advisory Board visit my classes and comment on our content and methods of teaching.

What were some of your most memorable moments at LBSU?

One of my most memorable experiences came courtesy of the US State Department. I had the opportunity to work with a large number of Cambodian students that were placed in the Industrial Arts program. The purpose was for the Cambodian students to become teachers and return to Cambodia with the industrial Arts background. An additional assignment was to show them the United States. Therefore I took them on trips through the Southwest, East Coast, and North West for four different summers.

In addition, I enjoyed serving as the thesis advisor for students as well as helping them become licensed for amatuer radio. I was the licensed Trustee for the University Amateur Radio Station. At that time, if one of our graduates had a license and went into teaching Industrial Arts at a high school in the Los Angeles area, they would be put in a an amateur radio station.

One of my favorite experiences was visting the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I also wanted to visit the N.B.S. and they used to host one week seminars for electronic instructors. They would select one instructor from each state and one year I was selected to be the California representative. We got to sit down with some of the leading scientists and ask any questions we wanted. We had a great tour of the Bureau, great speakers, and great breakfast each morning. At the end of the week each representative was asked to give a presentation. It was a great week

What are you doing today?

Today I am trying to catch up with all the "Honey Do" jobs that I never had time for while teaching. I also volunteer for the Cypress Police Department. I am one of ten volunteers that are in the RACES program, which is the Radio Amatuer Communication Emergency Service. Our job is to supply emergency communication for the police if their systems were to go down during an emergency like an earthquacke or other natural disaster. We have our own digital repeater and radio room, conduct weekly drills, and are coordinated with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. I have been awarded the "President's Volunteer Service Award" for some of my activities.

What would be one word to desribe the campus environment/community during your time?

LBSU was a happy place. Friendly people would speak to one another when passing. Departments on campus really wanted to help each other. A large percentage of students were veterans returning from the Korean War and they really wanted to learn. It was a joyous time to be on campus. In one word I would say, "escalating."



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Donald Smith (far right) pictured with students in the amateur radio station.


Donald Smith (far right) instructing members of the Amateur Radio Club erecting the new 10-15-20 meter beam antenna on top of the new Industrial Arts Building.


Donald Smith (with hat) pictured on a summer tour with the Cambodian Industrial Arts students.


Donald Smith pictured with Golden Faculty at the Golden Graduate Celebration on November 8, 2013. (Left to right Dr. John McConnell, Dr. Donald Smith, Dr. Howard Hitchcock, Dr. Ronald Kroman, Dr. Byron Kluss, Dr. John Jung).


Donald Smith pictured with a member of the Cypress Police Department.