Inauguration Press Release

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., September 12, 2018 – On September 21, 2018, Johnson University will inaugurate Dr. L. Thomas “Tommy” Smith Jr. as its new president. Smith is only the seventh president in Johnson’s 125-year history, and he assumes the presidency after almost 30 years at the University. He has served as professor of history and theology (since 1989), dean of the School of Arts and Sciences (2012-2014), and vice president for academic affairs/provost (2014-17). He is a native of Carter County, Tennessee, and a graduate of Johnson Bible College (B.A., 1978), Emmanuel School of Religion (M.A.R., 1986), and the University of Tennessee (Ph.D., 1990). Dr. Smith was a Pressnell Fellow (Class of 2017) of the Executive Leadership Institute of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA).

The ceremony, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. in the Phillips-Welshimer building on Johnson’s Knoxville, TN, campus, will include music by The Tennessee Brass; greetings from civic, community, and educational leaders including Senator Becky Massey Duncan; Dr. Claude Pressnell, President of TICUA; Kevin DuBose of Emerald Youth Foundation; and Dr. Bill Greer, President of Milligan College; and an inaugural address by Dr. Smith. Guests are invited to attend a reception immediately following the ceremony, and Johnson students will enjoy a celebration on campus that evening.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as president of a university that has remained faithful to its original purpose yet exhibits the flexibility to respond to contemporary challenges," Dr. Smith says. "Johnson’s stability and quality of leadership, sound financial stewardship, and commitment to sacrificial service to churches and communities is exemplary among institutions of Christian higher education.”

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