The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. George F. Smith as the 2007 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Smith currently serves as Professor of Resource Development at the University of Tennessee.
It is quite difficult to summarize the numerous contributions Dr. Smith has made in the community development arena. His work began with University of Tennessee Extension in 1974 and he has since garnered the mutual respect of agents, community leaders and rural development professionals not only in his state, but throughout the region and the nation. “Leaders inside and outside of agriculture and community development respect and trust George Smith,” said Clark Garland, professor and chair of the University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Economics Department Awards Committee. “People admire his competence, integrity, leadership and professionalism.” The list of areas in which Dr. Smith has conducted successful educational programs is impressive. Most people would be hard pressed to develop sound educational programs in just one area. Dr. Smith, however, has done so in multiple rural development areas, including environmental stewardship, economic development, small business development, leadership and community facilities and services.
Dr. Smith’s reach doesn’t end with his educational programs. He was a key player in the development of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. He spearheaded many projects promoting tourism in that area and has provided special assistance to the area for more than 30 years. He is a long-time organizer of Tennessee’s State Rural Development Committee, which he also serves as executive secretary, and provides exceptional leadership as chair of the Water Quality Initiative Team and Environmental Stewardship Priority Program. He is chair of the Clean Water Tennessee Team, serves as Tennessee’s water quality program coordinator, and represents Tennessee on the Southern Region Extension Water Quality Program Committee. He also has been an extremely effective mentor to numerous agents and specialists and has held many regional and national leadership roles in environmental stewardship.
“Dr. Smith has truly made an impact on the lives of many people,” said Kelly Amonett, Extension agent and county director for Morgan County, Tennessee. “He has been a positive role model for me in my Extension career and I appreciate all the help and guidance he has provided me over my 30 years of Extension work. He is an outstanding individual and is very deserving of this award.”
Dr. Smith’s Extension program development in Tennessee is stellar, as evidenced by the 49 grants totaling close to $2 million he has secured since 1993. Also stellar is his steadily growing list of of publications and educational materials. Since 1993, he as authored or co-authored 31 professional papers and 50 departmental and Extension papers, developed 12 videotapes, CDs, DVDs and Web-based publications, obtained funding for and coordinated the development of a multi-media educational game for youth, and coordinated the publication of a water best quality management practices handbook in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
For his innovative community development Extension activities, for his sustained commitment to advancing the community development work of Extension educators throughout the country, and for his dedication to rural people and communities in America, it is most fitting that Dr. George F. Smith be honored by the Southern Rural Development Center as the 2007 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award.