Thomas S. Smith (educator)

Last updated

Thomas S. Smith (1921–2004) served as the 13th president of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin from 1969 to 1979. [1]

Smith came to Lawrence from Ohio University, where he had spent two years as provost, assuming the president's office on July 1, 1969. He presided over the college until his retirement on August 31, 1979. [1]

He led the college during one of the more difficult periods in its recent history. Student unrest over Vietnam and civil rights activism, as well as pressure from the student body for more of a voice in matters of academic and student life required delicate but decisive leadership. When Smith arrived on campus in 1969, his first faculty meeting was disrupted by students protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

During the 1970s, the college, along with American higher education in general, faced an extended period of fiscal austerity, necessitating difficult decisions and the retrenchment of faculty, staff, and administration.

Among the milestones of his presidency were the completion of a major capital campaign; the opening of the Seeley G. Mudd Library in 1975; the strengthening of the university endowment; an extensive administrative reorganization involving academic affairs, admissions, development and student life; improvements in the curriculum and the renovations of Sage and Ormsby Halls.

"Tom was a quiet and unassuming man, yet forceful and straightforward in his dealings and interactions with others," recalled Richard Warch, who succeeded Smith as Lawrence president in 1979. "I had the privilege of serving with him for the last two years of his tenure (as vice president of academic affairs) and counted him a friend and mentor and admired him as a man of principle and honor."

In 1972, President Richard Nixon appointed Smith to the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science, the selection committee for the prestigious awards for distinguished contributions in physical, biological, mathematics, or engineering sciences. The following year, Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey appointed Smith chairman of the newly created State Ethics Board, a position he still held when he left Lawrence.

Smith also served on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and Independent College Funds of America, Inc.

After leaving Lawrence, Smith served as executive director of the Lakeshore Consortium in Support of the Arts, an organization promoting increased awareness of, participation in, and contributions to an enhanced environment for arts activities in the Fox River Valley. He maintained a commitment to liberal education in retirement remaining active with the Waupaca-based Winchester Academy, encouraging it to foster its historic focus on the liberal arts and sciences and music.

Born February 8, 1921, Smith was one of 10 children—five of whom survived infancy—born to a Hubbard, Ohio steelworker and his wife. He attended Kenyon College on a full tuition scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 1947, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics. He earned a Ph.D. in physics at Ohio State University in 1952. [1]

Later that same year, Smith began his academic career as an assistant professor of physics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. In 1961, he was appointed an assistant to the president of Ohio University. From 1962 to 1967, he served as vice president for academic affairs and was named provost in 1967. [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nathan Pusey</span> American academic (1907-2001)

Nathan Marsh Pusey was an American academic. Originally from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Pusey won a scholarship to Harvard University out of high school and went on to earn bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in the classics at Harvard. Pusey began his academic career as a professor of literature at Scripps College and Wesleyan University before serving as president of Lawrence College from 1944 to 1953.

A provost is a senior academic administrator. At many institutions of higher education, the provost is the chief academic officer, a role that may be combined with being deputy to the chief executive officer. They may also be the chief executive officer of a university, of a branch campus of a university, or of a college within a university.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences</span> Largest of the twelve faculties that constitute Harvard University

The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is the largest of the ten faculties that constitute Harvard University.

Richard Warch was an American professor, ordained minister and academic. He served as the 14th president of Lawrence University.

The School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is the largest of the eight schools and colleges that comprise Tufts University. Together with the School of Engineering, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and engineering. The two schools occupy the university's main campus in Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts and share many administrative functions including undergraduate admissions, student affairs, library, and information technology services. The two schools form the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E), a deliberative body under the chairmanship of the president of the university. Currently, the School of Arts and Sciences employs approximately 540 faculty members. There are over 4,300 full-time undergraduates and 1700 graduate and professional students.

Grayson Louis Kirk was an American political scientist who served as president of Columbia University during the Columbia University protests of 1968. He was also an advisor to the State Department and instrumental in the formation of the United Nations.

Joanne Vanish Creighton is an American academic who served as the 16th President of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, from 1996 to 2010. On August 10, 2011, the Haverford College Board of Managers named her interim President of Haverford College, replacing Stephen G. Emerson, who resigned.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of the Bahamas</span>

The University of The Bahamas (UB) is the national public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas with campuses throughout the archipelago. The main campus is located in the capital city of Nassau, on the island of New Providence.

John F. White was an academic administrator, president of National Educational Television, and president of the Cooper Union.

Daniel J. Myers is the President of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania and a professor of Sociology. His best known research is on the urban unrest of the 1960s and the media coverage of those riots, specializing in identifying the patterns of unrest diffusion. He has written several books and articles, and is co-author of the best-selling sociological social psychology textbook, Social Psychology.

James Donald Freeze, S.J. was the Academic Vice President for the main campus of Georgetown University from 1979 to 1991. In this role, he supervised all academic programs of Georgetown's College of Arts and Sciences, School of Foreign Service, School of Language and Linguistics, School of Business Administration, Graduate School, and School for Summer and Continuing Education.

John Duncan Wiley is a faculty member and former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Wiley was named the 28th Chancellor of the University on November 10, 2000, and assumed office on January 1, 2001. He stepped down as chancellor and returned to the faculty on September 1, 2008. From November 1, 2008, through November 2011, he served as interim director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

William Samuel Livingston was a political science professor who was the acting president of the University of Texas at Austin, a position he held from 1992 until 1993. Born in Ironton, Ohio, Livingston fought in World War II as a first lieutenant and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In 1943 he obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from Ohio State University before transferring to Yale University, where he was award a PhD in 1950.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Glover</span>

Joseph Glover is an American professor and served as the Provost for the University of Florida from 2008 to 2023.

Molly Easo Smith is an Indian-American professor and scholar of Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, and academic administrator.

Ian Gatley was the former Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, New Jersey.
He is also a Distinguished Professor of Physics in the department of Physics at the College of Science and Liberal Arts in NJIT.
He is a prolific scholar well known in Astronomy and Imaging Science.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thyrsa Frazier Svager</span> African American mathematician

Thyrsa Anne Frazier Svager was an American academic who was one of the first African-American woman to gain a PhD in mathematics. Born in Ohio, she graduated from high school at the age of 16, going to Antioch College in Ohio and then doing her postgraduate degrees at Ohio State University. Frazier Svager was the head of the Department of Mathematics at Central State University (CSU) in Ohio for decades, ending her academic career as provost and dean for academic affairs. She and her husband, physics professor Aleksandar Svager, invested one of their salaries during their careers to build a legacy for scholarships. After her death, the Thyrsa Frazier Svager Fund was established to provide scholarships for African-American women majoring in mathematics.

Joan Huber is an American sociologist and professor emeritus of sociology at Ohio State University. Huber served as the 79th president of the American Sociological Association in 1989. Huber taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1967 to 1971, eventually moving to Illinois, where she taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. While instructing numerous sociology courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Huber served as the director of Women's Studies Program for two years (1978–1980), and then became the head of the Department of Sociology in 1979 until 1983. In 1984, Huber left Illinois for an opportunity at the Ohio State University, where she became the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, coordinating dean of the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, and senior vice president for academic affairs and university provost. During her time, Huber was president of Sociologists for Women in Society from 1972 to 1974, the Midwest Sociological Society from 1979 to 1980, and the American Sociological Association from 1988 to 1989. Being highly recognized for her excellence, in 1985 Huber was given the Jessie Bernard Award by the American Sociological Association. Not only was Huber an instructor of sociology at multiple institutions or president of different organization, she also served different editorial review boards, research committees, and counseled and directed many institutions on their sociology departments.

Mark A. Nook is the 11th president of the University of Northern Iowa. Prior to this, he was the chancellor of Montana State University Billings.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Presidential History". Lawrence University. Retrieved 16 January 2021.