(Editor’s note: I’m on a quest to catalog all of the places in the Memphis area with historical markers in a semi-weekly feature called “On This Date, Something Happened".)
In honor of the University of Memphis' 100th birthday, here's another historical marker from campus. This one, planted outside of J.M. Smith Hall (aka the chemistry building), celebrates the building's namesake.
J.M. "Jack" Smith holds the distinction of being the first U of M alumni to become president of the university.
"Born at Stantonville, Tennessee, J. Millard "Jack" Smith was the president of Memphis State College from 1946 until 1960 and was the first alumnus of the college to become president. Following World War II, he guided the institution through an era of academic progress, culminating in 1957 in the achievement of university status. He was Tennessee Commissioner of Education in 1938 and, again, in 1949-1950, and was president of Tennessee Polytechnic Institute from 1938 – 1940."