Dr. John Smith Retires from South Alabama

By: Amelia Rose Zimlich | Editor In Chief | arz1722@jagmail.southalabama.edu

Photo credit: Executive Vice President website

Executive Vice President Dr. John Smith retired from the University of South Alabama on Feb. 1.

Smith arrived at South in 2008 as vice president of Student Affairs. In 2010, he was assigned the additional role of special assistant to then-President Gordon Moulton. He was appointed to his role as executive vice president in 2014.

As executive vice president, Smith oversaw the operations of multiple departments, including the USA Police Department, the USA Bookstore, Campus Dining, Student Housing and Safety and Environmental Compliance. In his tenure, he oversaw many campus developments, including the addition of the Campus Rec Center and a new dining hall, among other projects.

Smith has served as interim president three times in his career. Before coming to South, Smith served as interim president at the University of Central Arkansas, among other roles. He served South Alabama in the role of interim president twice, once beginning shortly before the death of President Moulton in 2013 and again after the retirement of President Waldrop in 2021.

In 2014, the Faculty Senate wrote a resolution commending Smith for his service to South in the role of acting president. The Senate wrote that Smith earned “the enduring respect and affection of students, faculty, and staff for his exemplary performance and dogged promotion of student interests in that role [of vice president of student affairs]” and praised him for “his characteristic proficiency, quiet grace and good humor.” Because of this, he was named an honorary member of the Faculty Senate.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with exceptional individuals who care deeply about our students, patients and alumni,” Smith wrote in his final email to the USA community as interim president. “I’m thankful for so many people along the way – from Gordon Moulton, who first hired me; to Dr. Tony Waldrop, who allowed me to join his administration as executive vice president; to my colleagues on South’s leadership team, who selflessly advance South’s missions; to the Board of Trustees, who twice entrusted me to lead the University as interim president. Above all, I’m thankful for my wife, Jeanne, who has supported me and each university where I worked.”

A retirement reception for Dr. Smith was held on Jan. 26 at the Hargrove Club in Hancock Whitney Stadium. Smith spent 14 years at the University of South Alabama and retired to be near family in Georgia.