Professor David Smith has worn many hats since he started working 47 years ago, but being a math professor at San Bernardino Valley College is the one that fit him best. "This has been my most satisfying gig, no question," Smith said. "Many good semesters here with a lot of students passing classes and taking good steps towards their dreams."

Smith enjoyed teaching at Christian schools, working as a writer for a daily Christian radio broadcast, and being an adjunct professor at Moorpark College. It was always his wish, though, to be a full-time math professor, and when a position opened at SBVC in 2009, Smith applied as fast as he could and was "so ecstatic" when he landed the job.

"I am truly grateful and overwhelmed by my good fortune," he said, adding, "There really is no lifestyle like that of a math professor at this level. It’s fun, it’s variety, it’s always meeting awesome new students. I’ve loved it with a great passion."

With 15 years of teaching at SBVC under his belt, Smith said he still "feels a glow when a young person calls me 'Professor.' I'm never quite sure I deserve that title, but have tried hard to live up to what it implies." He also gets a thrill when he sees "satisfaction on a student’s face as they savor an unexpected success. Many come into my classroom assuming the worst, sure they will fail. And yes, some do! But many others absorb an explanation, and have a smile break forth as they abruptly get it."

Now, Smith is ready to start his next chapter. He is retiring from SBVC and moving back to Newbury Park with his wife, with plans to travel, help a local church, and possibly play bass or keyboards in a "geezer rock band." Smith has penned 10 love stories set in Bangkok, where he grew up, and a trilogy of spiritual time-travel stories, and said he also "might write one or two more books."

Interim Dean of Mathematics, Business & Computer Technology Bethany Tasaka credits Smith with bringing her to SBVC; after meeting him at a conference in 2016, he encouraged her to apply for a position on campus. Since then, "David has been nothing but encouraging and kind to me the entire time I have worked here," she said. 

He has long been an "integral part of the Mathematics Department, providing excellent input and scholarship for many years," Tasaka continued. "He is a mentor to many of his colleagues and his students adore him. His impact on the campus will be felt for a long time."

Smith is looking forward to what retirement will bring him, but will miss the "camaraderie with my math friends as well as many other sweet and generous staffers all across this campus," he said. "I’ve so much loved the Valley community and being a part of making a difference here."

David Smith