The University of the South dedicated its newest residence hall, Lucy and Herbert Smith Hall, on Sept. 16. Regents, guests, faculty, staff and students gathered in the afternoon sunshine on the front terrace of Smith Hall, where they were welcomed by Dean of Students Eric Hartman. “Welcome to the new home for 90-plus students. Welcome to a residence hall that will help reactivate the core of campus. Welcome to outdoor study spaces,” Hartman said, beginning a list of the new dormitory’s benefits.
Chuck Nabit, C’77, chair of the Board of Regents, formally presented the building to the University. It was accepted on behalf of the institution by Vice-Chancellor John McCardell (photo below). McCardell extended a special welcome to the Smith family members and friends who were in attendance. A multi-generational gift, made many years ago and carefully stewarded by the Smith family, made the residence hall possible.
Herbert Smith Sr., C’1903, was a member of the famed 1899 football team and a long-time Sewanee trustee. His son, Herbert Jr., C’36, took his place in the family business in Birmingham and also served his alma mater as a trustee. McCardell shared his fond recollection of meeting Herbert Smith Jr.’s widow, Elizabeth (Bibby), soon after taking office at Sewanee. The Smith family “epitomizes the never-failing succession of benefactors,” said McCardell.
Smith Hall and its neighbor, a superbly renovated Cannon, are important teaching tools as well as important to revitalizing the central campus. In addition to rooms for more than 90 students, a community kitchen, and other usual amenities, the new residence hall also features indoor and outdoor classrooms, indoor bike storage, study spaces for both quiet time and group work, and easy access to Abbo's Alley and the great outdoors—all just steps from the historic Quad. It was built to exceed LEED sustainability standards.