Arthur K. Smith served as the 12th president of the University of Utah. During his tenure, Smith helped the U continue building a strong national reputation for its research programs, with research funding growing to nearly $173 million annually. By the time Smith left office, the university ranked 41st nationally in income received from patents and licenses. Smith helped attract major private contributions to the U, including the university’s largest individual donation to date—a $100 million pledge from Jon and Karen Huntsman for a cancer institute. Smith led the effort to convert the academic calendar to a semester system and established the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women to support women faculty and staff.
Campus underwent a construction boom during Smith’s presidency, with the building of the Languages and Communications Building, Eccles Broadcast Center, Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Building, and Red Butte Garden’s visitor center, among other facilities. Kingsbury Hall and Gardner Hall were completely renovated, and Marriott Library received a 200,000-square-foot addition. When Salt Lake City was selected in 1995 as the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Smith negotiated the U’s role as host of the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletes’ village. He helped initiate plans for projects that would serve Olympic needs while benefiting the university for years to come, such as the expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium and athlete dorms that would later become student housing.
Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and attended graduate school at the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. Prior to his presidency at the U, Smith was provost at the University of South Carolina, then vice president of the State University of New York at Binghamton. After leaving the U, Smith served as both University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president.