UT Knoxville, ’80
Part of the Tennessee Alumnus‘ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.
Donnie and Terry Smith have big ideas for solving world hunger—and the couple believe the solution begins at their alma mater.
Both are 1980 graduates and have kept strong ties to the University of Tennessee. Their philanthropic contributions are evident across the Institute of Agriculture and the Knoxville campus. The culmination of their investments is the Donald and Terry Smith Endowed Chair for International Sustainable Agriculture at the UT Institute of Agriculture, which seeks to provide sustainable solutions for agriculture issues worldwide.
Terry Smith is an education graduate from UT and taught in the classroom for several years before becoming a full-time mom to their three children. Her compassion matches her husband’s drive to impact the global food landscape.
When Donnie Smith graduated with a degree in animal science, he stepped into an entry-level technician position at Tyson Foods. There he honed his knowledge of commercial food production, working a broad range of jobs before being asked in 2009 to lead the company as president and CEO. Thanks to his leadership, today Tyson is the largest U.S. meat producer.
Although Donnie Smith stepped down from his position at Tyson at the end of 2016, his and Terry Smith’s shared passion to see a hungry world fed continues.
The Smiths’ African Sustainable Agriculture Project Foundation and the Smith Chair are ensuring that sustainable agriculture solutions truly have a global impact.