Smith named seventh president of JU

Tommy Smith

Knoxville — Today in a ceremony at Alumni Memorial Chapel, Johnson University Board of Trustees Chairman L. D. Campbell announced that Tommy Smith has been named the president-elect of the Johnson University System.

Smith, JU’s current Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, will be installed into office July 1, 2018 upon the retirement of current JU President Gary Weedman.

“Dr. Smith was an obvious choice for our board of trustees,” Campbell said.

He said Smith embodies the values and beliefs of the university

According to University Media Relations, Smith served Johnson University as a Professor of History from 1989-2012, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 2012-2014 and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs since 2014.

In a statement of acceptance from Smith, he wrote “When the Board of Trustees extended the invitation to me to become the seventh president of Johnson University, I replied by stating, ‘There are many who love Johnson University as much as I do, but no one loves Johnson any more than me. I am humbled and honored to accept.’”

Smith said he has  invested the past 28 years of his life in this institution.

“I know much about the past of this school, have had a hand in shaping the present, and am so grateful that the trustees have given me opportunity to lead Johnson into the future,” Smith said.

Smith will have a year to prepare for his new role.

“I will have a full year of preparation for my work, and there will be more appropriate times to discuss specific plans, but I want to affirm from the beginning of this transition my commitment to the mission and core values of Johnson University,” he said. “I fully support the Third Way, Great Commission Mandate ‘to educate students for Christian ministries and other strategic vocations framed by the Great Commission in order to extend the kingdom of God among all nations.’”

Smith holds a B.A. degree from Johnson University, a M.A.R. in Church History from Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Tennessee.

“He has held preaching, associate, youth, and worship ministries in East Tennessee and has engaged in several interim preaching ministries, seeking to assist churches during important transitional periods,” his official university bio says.

Smith is also the author of Above Every Other Desire: A Centennial History of Johnson Bible College.

He and his wife Debbie have two sons, Jacob and Joshua, and six grandchildren.

Weedman announced his retirement to the JU board Feb. 21. and the JU faculty and staff May 8.

Weedman was named president July 1, 2007.


Click here for more information about the president-elect.

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