1934 - 2020
Opal Johnson Smith, a “first class alumna,” passes away.
Opal Johnson Smith, devoted Prairie View A&M University alumni leader, passed away on Saturday,
December 26. A 1954 graduate of Prairie View A&M University, she entered the University at the age of
16, following in the footsteps of her parents and four of her seven older siblings. Graduating at the age
of 19 with a degree in Math, she was very popular among her campus peers and had been voted Miss
Prairie View in 1954. She thereafter continued to represent the Miss Prairie View title with pride and
often served as a judge in the annual Miss Prairie View contest.
In 1958, Opal Johnson married fellow alumnus, Joe Edward Smith. Opal and Joe relocated several times
during their 62 year marriage but she always found and joined a local Prairie View Alumni Association.
Well known for her service as President of the Dallas Alumni Association, she organized the annual PV
Alumni Scholarship Gala, an event that generated over $1 Million in scholarships for PV students.
During her tenure as President of the National Alumni Association, she secured many additional gifts for the university and was inducted into the National Black College Hall of Fame in 2003.
A devoted donor to her alma mater, she always urged others to give. “Give to Prairie View because
Prairie View gave to you,” she often said. This mantra is an indelible aspect of her legacy as a