Written by Drew Tapp and Jenna Stahlman

KNOXVILLE   On Friday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m., in the Phillips-Welshimer gym, Johnson University inaugurated its seventh president, L. Thomas Smith Jr.

Various faculty, institutional leaders, community members, students, and others, welcomed those in attendance    in person and online via livestream.

“Your presence also represents your participation, prayer and encouragement towards the achievement of Johnson University’s mission and your prayerful support of Dr. Smith’s role in leading the pursuit of that mission,” said Jon Weatherly, Provost. “For those we are especially grateful.”

Former President Gary Weedman gave his thoughts titled “Reflections of a Presidential Mentor” to encourage and show support for his successor.

“As provost you had to deal with deans, faculty and accrediting agencies,” said Weedman. “Now you have a Board of Trustees and senior administrators and staff and faculty and the budget. You have students and parents and alumni and friends of the university, and the budget…You have a wife and children and grandchildren and in-laws and yes, the budget. You get the point.”

Smith was welcomed into presidency with three gifts    a Bible that was compiled and signed by Ashley S. Johnson, the founder of the university, a medallion with the college motto, and a portrait of himself which will be hung in the Marble Hallway of the Phillips-Welshimer Building, beside the portraits of the previous six presidents.

 The Board of Trustees, the campus community, and the extended community all pledged to pray for the new president.

Former President David Eubanks also spoke and encouraged Smith with charges from Jesus, Paul, and other various biblical figures.

Smith gave his inaugural address which was titled “Take Care Lest We Forget” from Deuteronomy 6:10-13. In it he said that he and the university must not forget to take care of the great gifts that we have inherited from those who have gone before us and charged the university to be a good steward of its many gifts.

The Johnson University choirs performed throughout the event.

Following the ceremony, was a reception at the White House lawn where students, staff and alumni were invited to socialize and celebrate with the new president and first lady.

 

 

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JU Students celebrate alongside new president

The student event kicked off at 6 p.m. with the Cruze Farm ice-cream truck on campus to give away ice-cream to the students, faculty, and campus guests. Other events included games like Kan Jam, corn hole, and 9 Square Up in the Air which President Smith played along with students.

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President Smith and some of the students who played with him in 9 Square Up in the Air.

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Morgan Kast, a sophomore majoring in Intercultural Studies, said that she is excited to see what President Smith will do for the university.

“…I think that he’s a really humble leader already,” Kast said. “I can see that off the bat, so I’m really excited and I think that he’ll do great things for our school.”

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Morgan Kast

Kast also said that she enjoyed the events of the day.

It was really unique and it was really cool to be able to be a part of history for our school, because something like that will probably not happen (again) before I graduate,” Kast said.

 

Posted by Staff Report

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