Center for Infection and Immunity’s Gilbert Smith Honored for Outstanding Teamwork

December 12, 2023

Gilbert Smith, administrative director for Columbia Mailman School Center for Infection and Immunity (CII), received the Columbia University Irving Medical Center 2023 Baton Award on December 6. In existence since 2009, the Baton Award is presented to CUIMC administrators who “exhibit outstanding teamwork and the ability to ‘pass the baton.’”

Nominated by Dean Linda P. Fried and Sami K. Jarrah, Vice Dean for Finance and Administration, Smith was recognized for his achievement with a letter signed by the deans and a monetary award.

In presenting the award, Vice Dean Jarrah was joined at the podium by W. Ian Lipkin, John Snow professor of Epidemiology and director of CII, one of the world's most advanced academic laboratories focused on pathogen discovery and infectious disease surveillance. Smith, who Lipkin noted ensures that the CII hums with productivity, creativity, and community spirit,  “navigates what is difficult with dignity and humor. A positive person with a can-do attitude, Gilbert focuses on what CII and his teams need, pushes ego aside, and works on the task at hand. Every organization Smith touches is better for his service.”

In his role as CII’s Administrative Director, Smith is responsible for the coordination, direction, and implementation of all administrative and financial activities of the center. He oversees financial affairs for the center, including short- and long-range strategic planning and budget forecasting; all grant, subcontract, and contract proposals; and purchasing, accounts payable, and payroll. Smith also supervises administrative staff and manages facilities, equipment, and space operations.

Smith has other talents as well. A published poet and committed activist, he is a founding member of the Universal Language Room, a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-faith effort to promote unity and inspire dialogue through music.

Smith is also a co-founder of the Global Alliance for Indigenous People, Gender Justice, Peace, and Equality.

Media Contact

Stephanie Berger,