Board of Trustees Statement Announcing Seventh President of Johnson University

On behalf of the Johnson University Board of Trustees, I take great satisfaction in announcing the selection of Dr. L. Thomas Smith to serve as the seventh president of Johnson University, effective July 1, 2018.

We based his selection on a set of personal qualifications and professional achievements. Chief among these criteria are:

  • Is a Johnson University alumnus.
  • One who has an earned doctorate.
  • One whose life is characterized by Christian faith, prayer, and work.
  • One whose character is above reproach and whose integrity is unquestioned.
  • One who believes without reservation the statement of faith contained in the JU Articles of Incorporation.
  • One who is committed to the core values, mission, and purpose of JU as stated in the Third Way.
  •  One who can secure and maintain the confidence of the faculty, staff, and alumni.
  •  One who relates well with people and has good leadership and administrative skills.
  • One who has a working knowledge of finances and fundraising.
  • One who is able to model preaching.

Dr. Smith was an obvious choice to our trustees because he met so strongly all of the characteristics we deemed so important to the presidency of Johnson University.

His value to Johnson University has been evident for 28 years in a variety of positions, including most recently provost. During his tenure as Provost Dr. Smith has excelled in helping usher in an era of significant program and faculty growth.

Dr. Smith has demonstrated his commitment to the core values, mission, and vision of the University.

He and his wife, Debbie, are Johnson alumni and are loved and respected by their fellow alumni, colleagues, and leaders in the Tennessee churches they have served in Knoxville, Valley Forge, Jonesborough, Kingston, Embreeville, Rockwood, Morristown, Farragut, Chattanooga, and Seymour.

Debbie has also served the Johnson community faithfully for many years in a variety of leadership and servant roles ranging from the director of cafeteria services to landscaping, and to serving the present first lady. Debbie’s parents, Charlie and Marie Hathaway, also served the at Johnson for over 10 years.

As the first lady of Johnson, she will continue giving full expression to her servant-heart as she serves by Dr. Smith’s side.

Dr. Smith will continue in his role as provost and will serve as president-elect until January 1, 2018, at which time we will appoint a new provost. He will then assume the full responsibilities of president on July 1, 2018.

Considering all the factors involved in selecting the best possible president for the future of Johnson University, the trustees are pleased to unanimously call Dr. L. Thomas Smith to serve as her seventh president.