Smith to become UHV interim provost, special assistant to incoming president
Don Smith, who guided the University of Houston-Victoria through a year of change as its interim president, will stay on as interim provost and special assistant to the president through the fall semesterbeginning Aug. 18.
Smith agreed to serve in the position to assist Philip Castille, who is the sole finalist for the UHV president’s position. The UH System Board of Regents is expected to confirm Castille as president on Aug. 17, and he officially will begin the following day. Smith also will start his new job that day.
“I have put in many years with UHV and know very well the demands on a new president; so I will assist the transition as best I can and greatly appreciate Dr. Castille’s confidence in my ability to do that,” Smith said.
Smith agreed to fill the position made vacant after Suzanne LeBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, stepped down June 1. Smith served as UHV provost from 1995 until his retirement in 2006. He also served from 1987 to 1993 as UHV’s chief academic officer, then called dean for academic affairs.
Castille, who worked at UH-Downtown from 1981 to 1994, said he is glad to have Smith’s counsel as he assumes his first university president position.
“I’m very glad that Don has agreed to stay on, and I’m impressed by the confidence and respect that the faculty and the UHV community has for him,” Castille said.
A national search will be conducted for a provost and vice president for academic affairs during the fall semester.
Smith came to Victoria in 1987 when UHV had 22 faculty members and just more than 1,000 students. In 1993, he accepted a position with the State University of West Georgia but returned to UHV in 1995 as provost and vice president for academic affairs until his retirement in 2006. He also served as interim president for the university three other times.
Before his retirement, he was involved in the planning for UHV’s downward expansion, and helped plan and institute off-campus and online course offerings.
Much of his academic publishing and presentation work dealt with interinstitutional collaboration in the delivery of academic programs. Smith served as an unofficial liaison between UHV and Victoria College, with which UHV shares some facilities, calling it “among the most successful college partnerships in the state.”
He came out of retirement as provost emeritus in August to assume the UHV interim president’s position. During the past year, Smith has overseen the admission of UHV’s first freshmen and sophomores, and the opening of Jaguar Hall, the university’s first residence hall.
Other universities at which Smith served as faculty or administrator include Ohio University, the University of Maryland University College, the University of Wisconsin and Frostburg State University.
Smith also previously served as a member or board member of several boards and organizations, including the Victoria Symphony Society and the regional advisory board for the South Texas Small Business Development Center.
He and his wife of 44 years, Mona, have two children and four grandchildren.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.
Ken Cooke 361-570-4296