State Rep. Vernon G. Smith
State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith became a member of the Indiana House of Representatives when Earline Rogers resigned to fill the Indiana Senate seat of the late Carolyn Mosby in 1990. He represents Indiana House District 14 at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Prior to his election to the Indiana House of Representatives, Smith had served on the Gary City Council since 1972.
Smith is currently a professor of education at Indiana University Northwest (IUN), where he has won every teaching award offered on the Northwest Campus. He has served as the interim dean of IUN’s School of Education.
Smith serves as Ranking Minority Member of the Indiana House Education Committee. He is also a member of the Local Government and Financial Institutions committees.
Smith’s professional background includes experience at several public schools in Gary. He was the principal of Williams School from 1985 to 1992, principal of Nobel School from 1978 to 1985, and assistant principal of Ivanhoe School from 1972 to 1978. Smith taught in Gary Public Schools between 1966 and 1971. He graduated from Froebel High School and earned his bachelor of science, master of science and doctorate in education degrees from Indiana University; and has undertaken post-doctoral work at Indiana University and Purdue University.
Smith serves as a deacon and is a Sunday School teacher at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. He is the author of multiple refereed journal articles and several books, including Against All Odds: The Power of the Tongue and Creating Excellence: Becoming an A+ School. He is the recipient of more than 200 awards and citations.
Smith has served in a wide range of civic and community leadership positions, including:
- Founder and board president of the African-American Achievers Youth Corps, Inc.;
- Past chair of the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males, which was created through a bill he authored in the state legislature;
- Founder and chair of the Gary City–Wide Festival Committee;
- Founder and president of I.U. Dons, Inc.;
- Founder and member of the Northern Indiana Association of Black School Educators;
- Deacon and Sunday School Teacher / New Hope M.B. Church (2000-present);
- Founder and sponsor of the Vernon Stars;
- National chair of the African-American Male National Council;
- Sponsor of the Annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day for the needy, homeless, and lonely; and
- Sponsor of the Annual Harvest Feast that feeds the less fortunate during the Thanksgiving season.
Smith is a Life Member of the Indiana University Alumni Association and is a Life Member of the NAACP. He has been involved in the work of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching; International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership; the Gary Reading Council/Indiana State Reading Association; the Indiana Association of School Principals; Phi Delta Kappa; Katie Hall Educational Foundation; African-American Achievers Youth Corps, Inc; I.U. Dons, Inc.; Brothers’ Keeper shelter for homeless men; the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males; and Handgun Control, Inc.
State Rep. Dr. Vernon G. Smith’s legislative career has been devoted to improving public education in Indiana and the quality of life for the people of Northwest Indiana. He authored the law creating the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males and was co-author of the law creating the 21st Century Scholars Program. He has also offered a number of common-sense solutions to try and find an answer to the gun violence plaguing Hoosier communities.
- Legal Award; 2018 - Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc.
- Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award; 2018
- Neal Marshall Divine Nine Award; 2018
- Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award; 2017
- Indiana University Northwest 25th Anniversary Service Award; 2017
- Crusader for Life Award; 2016 - Gary Crusader Newspaper
- Gospel Music Alive N.W. Humanitarian Award; 2015
- 50 Years of Service Award; 2014 - Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
- Outstanding Educators and Community Servant Award; 2013 - Clark Road Church
- Indiana Supreme Court Appreciation Award; 2013
- Images of Hope “Unsung Hero” Award; 2011
- IUN’s Campus Council on Diversity Excellence Award; 2009
- Charlie Nelms Alumni Award; 2009 - Indiana University
- Elected Official Award; 2009 - Indiana Black Expo
- George Pinnell Service Award; 2008
- Legislator of the Year; 2007 - Indiana Minority Health Coalition and Mental Health America of Indiana
- Trustee Teaching Award; 2006 – IUN
- Beta Mu Chapter Pursuit of Excellence Award; 2006 - National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc.
- Recognition Award; 2006 - Indiana Conference of American Association of University Professors
- Welsh-Bowen Award; 2005 - Indiana University
- Lew Wallace H.S. Distinguished Leader Award; 2005
- Gary Frontiers Marchers Award; 2002
- Ovington Award; 1999 - NAACP
- Walter J. Rooda Poor Relief Reform Award; 1993
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