Chaplain James Smith, Jr. to speak during fall commencement on Dec. 7

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Chaplain James Smith, Jr. to speak during fall commencement on Dec. 7

 Chaplain James Smith Jr.

Chaplain James Smith, Jr.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s graduating students and their families will have the privilege to hear guest speaker Chaplain James Smith, Jr., a 1981 graduate, during the Fall Commencement Ceremony set for Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3:30 p.m. in Percefull Fieldhouse.

Smith, an Oklahoma City native, graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and communications, and is currently serving as a chaplain with the 1/158 Field Artillery Battalion. 

The responsibility of a chaplain in the military is to advise the commander on ethical, moral and religious issues and ensure the religious liberties of all soldiers are protected regardless of their faith base. Smith’s other duties include performing weddings and memorial services, counseling and providing educational classes to military units.

Smith played football and ran track for the Rangers receiving All Conference honors in both sports. After graduation, Smith participated in a free agent tryout with the Dallas Cowboys and was the only athlete of more than 700 to receive an invitation to the team’s training camp.

Smith also participated in the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) at Northwestern, and after graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant serving in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

Having fulfilled his military obligation, Smith received an honorable discharge from the guard and after an 18-year break in service, Smith re-enlisted in the National Guard. He also returned to school and earned a Master of Religious Education degree from Liberty University in 2009. Smith has served one tour in Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Smith has more than 30 years of sales and business experience in the transportation and waste management industry where he is currently a partner with Veterans Waste Solutions, a startup company based in western Oklahoma.

Smith has been married for 27 years to Sylvia Smith. They have two children: Lane, a sophomore at Murray State College in Tishomingo, and Tori, a freshman at Northern Oklahoma College (NOC), Tonkawa.

Smith is an elder at Trinity Baptist Church in Chickasha where he and Sylvia, a registered nurse, have taken an active role in International missions. They have developed a passion for the people of Nicaragua and both plan to teach at the University in Managua after retiring.