John Smith Program Co-Chair

John W. Smith

Associate Vice President for University Development
Tennessee Tech University
Award Winner
2021 District III Mentor of the Year Award


John W. Smith started his career in university advancement at Tennessee Tech University in January 1995 as a graduate assistant while pursuing his master's in business administration.  He was later hired as an analyst in July of that year providing IT, reporting, and administrative systems support.  John’s movement into leadership occurred in 1999 when the division added prospect research and management to his portfolio of responsibilities, and he was promoted to assistant director for advancement services.  John spearheaded the division’s move to Raiser’s Edge in 2005, the same year he was promoted to associate director assuming responsibility for all service-related aspects of advancement services.  In 2014, Smith moved into the director’s role (and in 2016, promoted to executive director) assuming the full breadth of service and operational responsibilities for university advancement.

In 2009, Smith ventured into the philanthropy side of the advancement world having prospective donors assigned to him while maintaining his responsibilities in advancement services.  During this time he successfully secured a $100,000 gift for a capital project as well as a $25,000 gift from a disenfranchised alumna whose father served as the dean of students in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  From July 2020 to December 2020, John served a six-month stint as interim associate vice president for university development where he secured almost $500,000.  In January 2021, the interim title was removed and the full-time associate vice president position granted to Smith.

Smith has been married to his lovely wife, April, for 22 years.  The couple has two children: David, a sophomore at Tennessee Tech, and Lindi, a high school senior.