University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator has appointed veteran higher education administrator Don Noel Smith as interim president of the University of Houston-Victoria, pending approval by the UH System Board of Regents at its meeting on Aug. 17.
Smith currently is provost emeritus at UHV, where he served as chief academic officer for many years, as well as interim president for three extended periods. He assumes his new role after UHV President Tim Hudson accepted a new position as special assistant to the chancellor for international programs and initiatives for the UH System. A national search is under way for a new president of UHV.
"It was important that we find a talented and experienced leader who will ensure that our commitment to the success of the first freshman class at UHV is fully realized," Khator said. "Don Smith has devoted much of his professional life to advancing the cause of higher education in Victoria. Since the selection process for a new president needs to be thorough and deliberate, we are fortunate to have someone of Don's caliber to keep the momentum moving forward."
Smith joined UH-Victoria in 1987 as dean for academic affairs. He remained in that post until 1993 when he became vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculties at the State University of West Georgia. He returned to UH-Victoria in 1995, serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs until his retirement in 2006.
"It is always an honor to serve an institution you love," Smith said. "When the chancellor asked me to accept this latest appointment, I had to think about it, but not a lot. I have a great loyalty to UH Victoria, to its first-rate faculty, staff and students and to the UH System. If the chancellor and others think I can be of help, I am glad to take on this role."
Having previously worked on the plan for downward expansion at UHV, Smith said he recognizes that one of his first challenges will be to make sure the first freshman class has the best possible educational experience. He also will focus on off campus and online offerings.
"I also believe that UHV's partnership with Victoria College, in which we share a library and other facilities, is among the most successful college partnerships in the state. I am committed to enhancing the awareness that UHV and Victoria College are good places to pursue academic careers."
Universities at which Smith served as a full-time faculty member or academic administrator include, earlier in his career, Ohio University, the University of Maryland University College, and the University of Wisconsin; and, later, Frostburg State University, the University of West Georgia, and UH-Victoria. His professional contributions include numerous articles and presentations at national and international conferences. In recent years these dealt especially with inter-institutional collaboration in the delivery of academic programs. Smith received a bachelor of arts degree from Berea College, a master's degree from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, all in English.
He serves as a member or officer of several boards and organizations, such as the Board of Directors for the Victoria Symphony Society and the regional advisory board for the South Texas Small Business Development Center.
He and Mona, his wife of 43 years, have two children and four grandchildren.