The Board of Directors of Hazard Community and Technical College has awarded Dr. R. Kathy Smoot with the Distinguished Service award. Dr. Smoot is a retired Vice President and Provost at HCTC. The board honored her because of her “extraordinary achievements in improving the quality of life and creating educational opportunities for Southeastern Kentuckians for over 20 years.”
Dr. Smoot provided leadership for the development and expansion of quality academic programs across the HCTC service area. She was a member of the leadership team that founded the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music; and she worked with The Telford Foundation to develop the Telford Scholars Program and provided leadership for renovation of the Telford Technology Center at the Lees College Campus. Her writing ability and grasp of the history were instrumental as she worked with a team of faculty writers (and served as editor) to document the history of Lees College, which resulted in publication of Place of Hope, Place of Progress: An Illustrated History of Lees College, 1883-1996. She assisted in the finding the funding for the celebration which was a two-day event involving the return of hundreds of former friends, faculty, staff, and students to the historic campus.
She served as Interim President of HCTC from January to August 2007. As Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Lees College, she led the transition to Lees College Campus of HCC in 1996. As a member of HCTC Cabinet, she provided college leadership for other changes through the years (Lees to HCC/UK, HCC to HCTC, UK to KCTCS, addition of Technical Campus, Knott County Branch, and Leslie County Center). She is recipient of the 2014 HCTC/KCTCS Benefactor of the Year for the creation of the Smoot Scholarship and other contributions.
She was active with the Jackson Woman’s Club and was selected Outstanding Clubwoman of the Year, 2016-17. Her initiatives include Downtown Mural Project, Downtown Park Project, Interfaith Food Pantry Project, Student Art Show Project, and Downtown Christmas Project. She provided leadership for the Trolley Restoration Project for the city of Hazard while serving as Interim President. She worked with Jackson and KCTCS leadership to move Lees from a residential campus to a more traditional community college campus, without a loss of students, while serving as Interim President.
She was appointed by the Governor and served on a state task team to improve Early Childhood Education in Kentucky. She provided leadership for development and expansion of the Dual Credit Program for high school students across the region; and she was a member of leadership team that established the University Center of the Mountains (UCM) to provide higher education to students across the region.
HCTC President Dr. Jennifer Lindon presented the honor to Dr. Smoot during the Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce Civic Night on April 30 at HCTC. In accepting the award, Dr. Smoot noted, “Few of us accomplish much working alone. I’m a big supporter of the team concept. I accept this award on behalf of the team.” Dr. Smoot attended the ceremony with her husband, Bob Smoot, and her daughter, Dr. Sunshine Smoot.