Buena Vista, VA – The Board of Trustees of Southern Virginia University has announced the appointment of Dr. Rodney K. Smith as the new University president effective June 1, 2004.

Dr. Smith was chosen from a pool of over 50 qualified nominations and applicants, and succeeds Dr. Monte S. Nyman, who has served as president for the past year.  Dr. Nyman took the reigns of SVU during the untimely hospitalization and eventual passing of Dr. E. Curtis Fawson in the summer of 2003.  Dr. Nyman, who has served the University for more than three years, including one year as the University’s academic vice president, was appointed president while a nation wide search was conducted to find a long-term successor. 

With Dr. Nyman at the helm, SVU continued its rapid growth and boasted its largest enrollment ever, 576 students, in the fall of 2004.  Dr. Nyman stated, “SVU is a great university and it has been a privilege and honor to serve as president this past year.  I look forward to working with Dr. Smith, Chairman Knight, and the Board of Trustees on a smooth transition to Dr. Smith’s leadership.  My commitment and support for this great institution will continue and I look forward to helping and serving SVU in other ways in the future.”

Dr. Smith comes to SVU from the University of Memphis, where he has been serving in the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law as the Interim Dean and Herff Chair of Excellence in Law.  Dr. Smith holds a Doctorate in Juridical Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from Western Colorado State College, and studied briefly in the University of Virginia’s graduate program in Government and Foreign Affairs before pursuing his Juris Doctorate.  

In addition to his work at the University of Memphis, Dr. Smith has held administrative positions at three other institutions including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as the Donaghey Dean and Professor of Law, the Capital University Law and Graduate Center as Dean and Professor of Law, and at the University of Montana School of Law as Dean and Professor of Law.  He has been an educator, administrator and public servant for nearly his entire career, including serving as the City Attorney in Bishop, CA for two years.

Dr. Smith has authored numerous books and articles, and has given many lectures, speeches and offered testimony before various legislative committees, including testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Dr. Smith has served on many committees and is a life member of the American Bar Foundation.  He is also the recipient of several awards, including an honorary Doctorate from Capital University.

In making the announcement of Dr. Smith’s appointment, Glade M. Knight, SVU Board Chairman stated, “We have been blessed and pleased to have someone of Dr. Nyman’s caliber to step in and ably serve Southern Virginia University as its president this past year.  We are equally fortunate to have someone with Dr. Smith’s background and experience to assume the reigns of this institution at this important time in the University’s history.  We look forward to much continued growth and progress in the coming years under Dr. Smith’s leadership.”

Dr. Smith, who is married with eight children, stated, “I am tremendously impressed with the academic quality at SVU, which is strengthened by the wonderful spirit and campus environment that exists.  I am following in the steps of some outstanding men and leaders in David Ferrell, Curt Fawson, and Monte Nyman.  It is a great privilege to serve SVU at this time and I look forward to serving and to the continued growth and progress of the University.