Dr. William C. “Bill” Smith, a recently retired University of Southern Mississippi College of Business marketing professor who earned several honors for teaching, research and service in his 37-year tenure at the school, will give the keynote address for its fall commencement ceremonies.
The ceremonies are at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 at Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus. Approximately 1,100 students are degree candidates for the fall 2016 semester.
“I’m really honored to be asked to do this, and consider it the high point of the time I’ve been associated with the University,” Smith said. “Commencement is such a happy occasion, and when I participated in the ceremonies as a faculty member I always enjoyed watching the students celebrate their achievement with their family and friends.”
Smith said his commencement address will focus on what comes next for students after they receive their diploma. “Obtaining a college degree is an important step toward achieving a successful and rewarding career,” he said. “I’m going to talk about how they do that after graduation, in a world where change is constant.”
Popular among students and colleagues, Smith received the USM Excellence in Teaching Award his first year at the university, and was a three-time recipient of the AT&T Outstanding Faculty Member Award. For his work promoting attendance at Southern Miss athletics events, Smith was honored by the Hattiesburg Sales and Marketing Executives organization with its Distinguished Marketing Award. His research has been published in Industrial Marketing Management, the International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration, Economic Development Review and the Journal of Economic Development.
In addition to teaching and research, Smith served USM as an administrator, chairing the Departments of Economic Development, Tourism and Sport Management and Marketing and Merchandising. He was also the college’s assistant dean for corporate relations and graduate program chair. Outside of academia, Smith’s experience includes work as a technical sales representative and market research analyst for the Linde Division of Union Carbide Corporation, and as a materials manager for American Industries International, a multi-billion dollar building materials exporter.
Active in community service, Dr. Smith has served on the boards of directors for the United Way of Southeast Mississippi, Southern Mississippi Federal Credit Union and the DuBard School for Language Disorders. Upon his retirement this year, friends and colleagues honored him by establishing the Dr. Bill Smith Marketing Scholarship Endowment with the USM Foundation.
For more information about Southern Miss fall 2016 commencement, visit https://www.usm.edu/commencement.