George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Leila Smith

Adjunct Faculty

Contact Information MORE LESS

  • 703-993-8926 (office)
  • Arlington: Vernon Smith Hall, 5085
    3351 North Fairfax Drive, MS 1C8
    Arlington, VA 22201

staff menu:


Leila Smith has more than 40 years of experience in cultural management and governance, and in community activism. She was, for 10 years, Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and has also worked for the Institute for Museum [and Library] Services, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  She began her career as Assistant Supervisor of Education at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. She was recognized in 1973, with the late Peter Smith, as a Washingtonian of the Year for her work as a founder and long-time president of Don’t Tear it Down, a groundbreaking urban environmental advocacy group.   She is a member of Leadership Washington and received a (DC) Mayor’s Arts Award and an award from the League of Washington Theatres, both for service to the arts. From 2005-08 Smith was Director of the Nonprofit Studies Program in George Mason’s New Century College.  Smith earned a Master’s degree in history museum management and American Folklife from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.  Her thesis was a study of the origins of the Smithsonian Institution’s collections – 42 carloads of materials that were shipped to Washington after the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.  She received a BA from Cornell University in English Literature.


BA, Cornell University; MA, Cooperstown Graduate Program, History Museum Manager, SUNY - Oneonta (1976)

More Information

Appointment: Adjunct

Faculty Rank: Instructor

Honors & Awards

2011-12 Faculty Member of the Year Award for Teaching Excellence.,

Schools & Programs