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Herff Professorships Honor Former U of M Business & Finance VP
For release: July 1, 2007
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A program of endowed professorships at the Herff College of Engineering at the University of Memphis has been established in honor of Dr. R. Eugene Smith, long-time administrator for the University.  The Smith Professorships will help the College attract and retain outstanding faculty members and help the University reach its goal of becoming one of the nation’s great metropolitan research institutions.  The program was announced last week at the meeting of the board of trustees of the Herbert Herff Trust, a private endowment that helps support the U of M’s engineering college and law school.

The program will fund professorships annually in the various specialties of engineering offered by the College. The professorships will be awarded for three years, with renewal based on performance review.  Recipients will be eligible to receive stipends of $5,000-$15,000 annually. The number of recipients and the amounts of their stipends will depend on the income realized from the trust each year.

A native of Walter Hill in Rutherford County, Tenn., Smith joined the University of Memphis administration in 1963.  By 1968 he was Business Manager, and in 1971 he was named Vice President of Business and Finance, a position he held until his retirement from the University in 2000.

During Smith’s tenure, more than 20 major construction projects were undertaken on campus, and the University expanded physically by acquiring land adjacent to the main campus, Meeman Farms in north Shelby County, and the former Kennedy Army Hospital at the corner of Park and Getwell.

Smith was active on committees of the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and with off-campus organizations outside the realm of academics.  He was nominated by the University of Memphis as Tennessee’s Educator of the Year, and he received the Professional Achievement Award in 1997 from his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University. 

Smith also served nationally as the president of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) in 1988-89, and that organization honored him with its Distinguished Business Officer Award in 1994.

After leaving the University of Memphis, Smith spent several years as interim president of MTSU, during that university’s transition between full-time presidents.

Smith has been involved with the Herff Trust since 1965 and a member of its Board of Trustees since 1999.

The Herff College of Engineering offers undergraduate programs in biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical engineering and engineering technology.  Graduate programs are offered in engineering technology and in biomedical engineering (in cooperation with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center) and civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering.

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Last updated: 03/19/2008 16:40:12
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