John Tyler Community College President Marshall W. Smith Announces His Retirement
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Released on November 15, 2012
CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – When he was a college student, Dr. Marshall W. Smith considered pursuing a career in law. But, as it so often does, life took an unexpected turn. An internship, intended to be a job that helped pay the bills, instead, ignited a passion for working in higher education. From that point on, Smith never looked back. Now, more than 45 years later and more than 22 years after becoming president of John Tyler Community College, Dr. Marshall W. Smith has announced his retirement on August 1, 2013.
Dr. Smith became the sixth president of John Tyler Community College in September of 1990, and in the time since, has become the College’s longest serving president. Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, the College grew to two campuses; added a Nursing Education Center; nearly doubled in enrollment; became the first Virginia community college to construct an environmentally friendly building that received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification; expanded its offerings, dual enrollment program and workforce efforts; built new business partnerships with companies such as CJW and Rolls-Royce; added online classes and a myriad of scheduling options; and more. These achievements have earned John Tyler Community College recognition statewide and nationally, as noted by Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College, who says, “Marshall has had an outstanding career helping John Tyler develop into a national standout community college.” Art Heinz, chair of the John Tyler Community College Board concurs. "Dr. Smith should be commended on his efforts for building John Tyler into an excellent educational institution for the students and the community it serves,” says Heinz. “These efforts have also allowed many students to earn degrees and develop skills that provide untold benefits both at home and work. The Board is deeply grateful for this lasting legacy."
When asked what he has been proudest of, Dr. Smith says there are many things. One was the building of the Midlothian Campus, an undertaking that began soon after he took over the presidency and lasted nearly 10 years. The other goes beyond the brick and mortar that make up the College’s facilities; it goes to the heart of the College – its people. In an article announcing his retirement to the College’s faculty and staff, Dr. Smith wrote, “I am proud of many things that have occurred over the years here, but I am the proudest of the quality of the people of the College family. You come to work each day and quietly go about the business of changing the lives of our students for the better. You do it professionally, with compassion. You have answered what is truly one of the highest callings of all.”
The sentiments expressed by Dr. Smith are returned by those who have had the opportunity to work with him. “I have known Dr. Smith for twenty-five years,” says Joe Jordan, associate professor of mathematics at John Tyler and faculty liaison to the College Board. “I first met him when he was vice chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, and later, I worked with him during his twenty-two years as president of John Tyler Community College. Dr. Smith is a dedicated and caring educator. In all of my experiences with him, and they have been many and diverse, I have been aware of what a special person he is. John Tyler has truly been fortunate to have him as its president. He has led the College effectively and seen it achieve numerous goals. I know he will continue to lead with enthusiasm until he leaves the College. He will be missed.”
During his time as John Tyler Community College’s president, Dr. Smith has been active in accreditation work for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the accrediting body for nearly 800 colleges and universities in the 11 southeastern states and Latin America. He was the chair of the Virginia delegation to the Commission for three years, served on the Executive Council of the Commission for three years, and has chaired over thirty reaffirmation and special committees. He also served twelve years as secretary/treasurer and one year as president of the Southern Association of Community, Junior, and Technical Colleges. In 2005, the Commission on Colleges of SACS honored Dr. Smith’s service and leadership by awarding him the James T. Rogers meritorious Service Award. Dr. Smith says the work is hard but rewarding. “I get as much back as I possibly can contribute,” he says. “It’s good to understand what is working and what isn’t working at other institutions. I always learn something new and have put many of these ideas into play at John Tyler.”
Before beginning his career at John Tyler Community College, Dr. Smith was vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the Virginia Community College System; president of Germanna Community College; and dean of instruction and then dean of the college at Calhoun State Community College in Alabama. He also served as dean of students and assistant professor of education at South Georgia College; director of residence halls at The University of Alabama; and assistant director of housing at West Georgia College. In addition, he has been an adjunct member of the graduate faculty of Old Dominion University and George Mason University. He holds a B.A. from The University of Alabama, a M.Ed. from West Georgia College, and a Ph.D. from The University of Alabama.
Dr. Smith is married with two adult children and says he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and his dog, Duncan. He’s also anxious to do more travelling with his wife, Sheila, and hopes to stay involved in higher education, whether as a consultant or in a role involving accreditation.
John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers quality and economical opportunities for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 14,895 students during the 2011-12 academic year, offers 18 associate degrees, eight certificates, and 35 career studies certificates. The institution also serves 15,000 non-credit students and more than 1,000 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The College also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for Hamel Hall on its Midlothian Campus, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition. John Tyler Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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