UVa-Wise to rededicate Smiddy Hall on June 11


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.

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan will join UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry and other officials for the ceremony, set for 1 p.m. outside the renovated Smiddy Hall. Chancellor Emeritus Smiddy and his family will also attend the rededication. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Tours of the facility will be offered following the rededication.

Completed in 1972 as the administration building, Smiddy Hall was officially named in 1985 on the occasion of Smiddy’s retirement after 30 years of leadership and service to the College. Smiddy Hall was renovated in 2011 to house faculty and administrative offices as well as classrooms. A new Information Technology wing was added to the building during the renovation.

Smiddy, a native of Jellico, Tenn., helped establish Clinch Valley College, now known as UVa-Wise. After his service in World War II, the educator, storyteller and traditional Appalachian musician, began his career as a high school teacher, band director and principal in the Lee County Public Schools. 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 its first chancellor.

He cultivated the fledgling College from a two-year institution to a four-year college. Under his leadership, CVC was 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.  He upheld the College’s mission of making higher education available to all regardless of financial circumstances.