1980 - 1985

Charles Smith

Charles Edward Smith served as UT Martin’s fifth chancellor from 1980-1985. He was born in White County, Tennessee, to Cecil Edward Smith and Christine S. Newsome. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1961; a Master of Arts degree in English from George Peabody College in 1966; and a doctoral degree in higher education in 1976.

Smith began his career in journalism in 1961 as the editor of the Sparta Expositor newspaper. Two years later, he became managing editor of both the Putnam County Herald and Cookeville Citizen, and in 1964 he was hired as assistant news editor for the Nashville Tennessean. A career change in 1967 led him to become news bureau director for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and he promoted to public relations director by the end of the following year. From 1971-1975, he served as executive assistant to both the chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the president of the University of Tennessee System.

In 1975, Smith was appointed chancellor of the University of Tennessee’s Nashville campus. He held that position for four years before returning to the editor’s desk at the Nashville Banner in 1979. He became chancellor of UT Martin in 1980 and served for five years before accepting a position as vice president of the UT System. Smith then became commissioner of education for the state of Tennessee in 1987. He was named chancellor of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee in 1994.

Smith retired in 2000 after 32 years of state service. Following his retirement, he served two terms (six years) as executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and sets policy for The Nation’s Report Card, during the administration of President George W. Bush. He closed his professional career in Washington, D.C., with five years of service as vice president and head of the American College Testing Washington, D.C., office.