'It feels so right!'

Friday, March 7, 2008
Elizabeth McDow, Lewisburg site director, chats with Dr. Janet Smith, new president of Columbia State Community College.

Dr. Janet Smith, the new president of Columbia State Community College, visited the Lewisburg campus last week for the first time since being confirmed to the post earlier this year. But in a very real sense, she was really coming back to her roots.

Born in Houston County, Tenn., near Erin, Smith is the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college.

In her younger days, she says, there were two easy career paths for women: teaching and nursing. She didn't care for nursing, so she went to Austin Peay State University as a health and physical education major, "because I had been a jock in high school."

Smith stayed on at Austin Peay for her master's degree and coached the school's first women's volleyball team. Her first job was at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, N.C., in the health and physical education department. It was a two-person department, so when the chairperson resigned she asked if she could have that job and got it.

"That's how I got into administration," she laughs.

See Friday's Tribune for the complte story.