Campus News

Bob Smith honored by UT Board as 10th UT Martin chancellor


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. – Dr. Bob Smith achieved several milestone goals as the University of Tennessee at Martin’s interim chancellor. The UT Board of Trustees recognized those accomplishments as the word “interim” was removed from his title during the board’s spring meeting March 29 in Chattanooga. Smith is now officially listed as the university’s 10th chancellor, and Dr. Keith Carver, originally named the university’s 10th chancellor, is now the 11th to hold that title. Smith was also granted the honorary title of “chancellor emeritus” by the board.

“This is an appropriate way to recognize Dr. Smith for his tenure as interim chancellor. His commitment to enrollment, philanthropy and SACS accreditation were invaluable in helping UT Martin continue to educate and serve the citizens of West Tennessee,” said Carver. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for his leadership, and I am grateful for the counsel and guidance he has given me during this transition.”

Smith, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., previously served nine years as president of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and retired as president emeritus. He was named UT Martin’s interim chancellor after Dr. Tom Rakes returned to the faculty in June 2015. During his 19-month tenure, Smith guided the university through a yearlong accreditation probation period from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

He also saw the completion of the new academic building and press box space in Hardy M. Graham Stadium; helped secure the single-largest financial gift in university history to build the future Latimer Engineering and Science Building on the UT Martin main campus; and spearheaded a campaign to fund a new Innovation and Product Realization Facility where local industry leaders could partner with UT Martin students and faculty to develop new products and ideas. Smith also approved the official start of renovations on the former Methodist Fayette Hospital, the future home of the UT Martin Somerville Center.

“We have definitely benefited from (Smith’s) gifted leadership, and during his tenure many things changed at UT Martin,” UT President Joe DiPietro said Dec. 10, 2016, during Smith’s final commencement as interim chancellor. “We wish Bob and (his wife) Ramona well, and we want to thank them for all they’ve done to improve (the university). … We owe them a thanks we can never, ever truly repay.”

Smith ended his tenure as UT Martin interim chancellor Jan. 2, 2017, and Carver began his duties Jan. 3.


PHOTO ID: University of Tennessee System President Joe DiPietro (left) presents Dr. Bob Smith with a resolution from the UT Board of Trustees officially making him the university’s 10th chancellor. The board also granted Smith the honorary title “chancellor emeritus.”

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