ETSU Advancement appoints Joe Smith as executive director of communications

Published 11:13 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

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East Tennessee State University’s Division of University Advancement announced the appointment of Joe Smith as the office’s new executive director of communications. He began his new role on Oct. 3.
Smith, an Elizabethton resident, has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving as ETSU’s senior director of strategic communications in the Office of Marketing and Communications. He is a graduate of Elizabethton High School.
“Few people on campus have the institutional knowledge, communications acumen and passion for ETSU that Joe Smith brings to our office, so we feel fortunate that he is now part of the Advancement team,” said Pamela Ritter, vice president of University Advancement. “His experience and his appreciation for ETSU will help us more effectively communicate with our donors, alumni and university partners.”
In his new role, Smith will oversee all communication activities within University Advancement in support of the institution’s fundraising activities. He will also work closely with the ETSU Alumni Association.
Smith has earned two degrees at ETSU — a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications in 1994 and a Master of Science degree in digital marketing in 2016. He is currently pursuing his third ETSU degree, an Ed.D in educational administration and policy analysis.
Smith began his communications career as an ETSU undergraduate when he was hired as an editorial assistant in what was then called ETSU’s Office of University Relations. He worked his way up through the office, eventually directing and overseeing the Office of University Relations and its divisions of communications, video and photographic services, marketing, creative services and WETS-FM (NPR affiliate).
Throughout his time at ETSU, Smith has served as the campus spokesperson and open records custodian; led crisis communications; served as managing editor of the alumni magazine, ETSU Today; and led the university’s external and internal communications activities, newsletters and initiatives.

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