After 17 years of service to the University of Houston-Victoria, Dr. Don Smith is retiring. On Wednesday, June 21, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., the Office of Academic Affairs will host a reception to honor his service and many contributions to UHV.
When he first came to Victoria in 1987, Smith was greeted by an institution that had 22 faculty members to teach just over 1,000 students. The university was housed in a single building rented from The Victoria College. Almost 20 years later, UHV boasts an enrollment of nearly 2,500 students, many of them online, and employs 79 faculty members to instruct them. It operates out of two buildings of its own and has developed branch campuses in both Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch.
Smith has played a key roll in that expansion. He served six years as dean for academic affairs and, after a brief appointment at another university, returned to UHV in 1995 to fill his present position as provost. While in those offices, he served as interim president three times. Most of the faculty members at UHV today can remember meeting Smith as part of their interview process.
“Don has been a fair and even-handed administrator, readily available to faculty for support and encouragement in our endeavors to better our teaching, increase our knowledge, and improve our programs,” said Dr. Sandy Venneman, associate professor of biology and president of the UHV Faculty Senate.
Active within the surrounding community as well, Smith has served as a member of several boards, including the board of directors for the Victoria Symphony Society and the regional advisory board for the South Texas Small Business Development Center.
When asked how he’s going to spend his retirement, Smith responds, “I expect to teach a couple of courses online, write a couple of articles, win a couple more marathons (in my age group), and spend more time with my wife and grandchildren.”
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Berea College, a master’s degree from Ohio University and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. His career has encompassed positions at six universities, including teaching appointments that took him to Europe and Asia.
“Don Smith is a wonderful colleague and a model provost and academic administrator,” said UHV President Tim Hudson. “A talented listener with wide experience, Don is a person of great insight, intelligence and integrity. I am certain that UHV will continue to call on his wisdom in the future, even if less frequently, as he enters this new, well-earned phase of his long and successful career.”