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UVa-Wise announces rededication ceremonies

By STEVE IGO • Jun 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM


The University of Virginia's College at Wise will rededicate Smiddy Hall during

a June 11 ceremony in honor of Joseph C. 'Papa Joe' Smiddy, the college's first

chancellor and chancellor emeritus.

The University of Virginia President

Teresa Sullivan will join UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry and other officials

for next week's ceremony, set for 1 p.m. outside the renovated structure. Smiddy

and his family will also attend, and the public is invited. Tours of the

building will be offered following the ceremonies.

Completed in 1972 as the

college's administration building, Smiddy Hall was officially named in 1985 when

Smiddy retired after 30 years of leadership and service to the college first

established in the mid-1950's.

Renovations to Smiddy Hall commenced in 2011

to house faculty and administrative offices as well as new classrooms, and a new

Information Technology wing.

A native of Jellico, Tn., Smiddy helped

establish Clinch Valley College now known as UVa-Wise. After his service in the

U.S. Navy in World War II, Smiddy began his post-war career as a high school

teacher, band director and principal in the Lee County school system. He was

hired as the college's first biology professor in 1954 and later served as dean

and director of the college prior to being named as its first


Besides becoming a legendary educator in Southwest Virginia,

Smiddy built a reputation as a storyteller and traditional Appalachian musician,

all while cultivating the college from a two-year institution to a four year


Under Smiddy's leadership UVa-Wise became the first state college or

university founded in Virginia without a policy of racial exclusion and was the

first to recruit actively among all races. Smiddy also put his stamp on the

college's mission of making higher education available to all regardless of

financial circumstances.

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