Board of Trustees Statement Announcing Seventh President of Johnson University
When selecting the 7th president of Johnson University, the trustees based our selection on a set of personal qualifications and professional achievements which may be found on the president-elect website.
Chief among these criteria included the following:
· One who was 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, & 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 fund raising
· One who is able to model preaching
So, 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 7th president of Johnson University. Effective July 1, 2018
Dr. Smith was an obvious choice to our trustees as he met all of the characteristics we deemed important to become the 7th
President of Johnson University.
Dr. Smith has proven himself a skilled leader in his administrative roles at Johnson University.
· He enthusiastically embraces our institutional mission:
“To educate students for Christian ministry and other strategic vocations framed by the Great Commission in order to extend the kingdom of God among all nations”
· He was reared in The Hampton Christian Church in upper east Tennessee.
· Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. from University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1990
· Master of Arts in Religion, Emmanuel Christian Seminary in 1996
· Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) Johnson University, 1978
· Other education: Milligan College, East Tennessee University, Berea College
· Dr. Smith has taught at Johnson for 28 years
· He is a historian (1) of American religious history, (2) of the history of our religious tradition, and (3) of the history of Johnson University, having published numerous works about each of those three areas
· He wrote the centennial history of Johnson University: Above Every Other Desire: A Centennial History of Johnson Bible College 1893--1993
· He is updating that work for our 125th anniversary in 2018-2019
· He knows about higher education administration
o Served as chair, General Education Committee
o Served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
o Currently severing as provost/vice president for academic affairs. During his tenure as provost, Dr. Smith has excelled in helping usher in an era of tremendous programs and faculty growth.
o He received a Certificate in Executive Leadership after completing a Fellowship at the Executive Leadership Institute of the Tennessee Independent College and University Associate, where he was recognized as a most capable academic leader
So you can see, Dr. Smith has demonstrated his commitment to the core values, mission, and vision of Johnson University.
His wife, Debbie, is a Johnson alumnus, class of 1979.
Debbie has also faithfully served the Johnson community ---for many years in a variety of leadership and servant roles---
ranging from the director of food services to landscaping, and to serving Mrs. Weedman, our current first lady. Debbie’s parents, Charlie & Marie Hathway, also served at Johnson for over 10 years.
As the first lady of Johnson, Debbie will continue giving full expression to her servant-heart as she serves by Dr. Smith’s side.
Tommy & Debbie are loved and respected by their fellow alumni, colleagues, and leaders in the churches they have served in Tennessee: Here in Knoxville, Valley Forge, Kingston, Embreeville in Erwin, Morristown, Farragut, Chattanooga, and Seymour
Dr. Smith will continue in his role as provost until he becomes president-elect on January 1, 2018.
Considering all the factors involved in choosing the best possible president for the future of Johnson University, the trustees are more than pleased to call Dr. L. Thomas Smith to serve as her seventh president. Effective July 1, 2018.