Former Daily Mail editor to speak at Marshall commencement
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - James C. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, will deliver the keynote address at Marshall University's 176th commencement Saturday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in downtown Huntington.
Earlier in his career, Smith spent 10 years on the news staff of the Charleston Daily Mail. He had risen to the position of managing editor when he left in 1992.
A native of Carlisle, Ky., he is a 1981 graduate of Marshall, which he attended on a football scholarship. He will speak at the 9 a.m. commencement for undergraduates.
"It's humbling, absolutely humbling, and gratifying at the same time," Smith said of being selected to not only speak at commencement, but to receive an honorary doctoral degree of humane letters.
Smith leads a company of 60,000 people in 140 countries who provide critical news, information and technology to leading decision makers around the world. The company's products primarily serve professionals in the legal, regulatory and financial markets and reported revenues of $12.8 billion in 2012.
Smith is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on the board of directors of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council. He also serves on the international advisory boards of British American Business and the Atlantic Council.
Smith's football career at Marshall was cut short by knee injuries in each of his first two years, but he stayed involved with the football program, serving as a student assistant on Coach Sonny Randle's staff.
He also was active in student affairs and participated in the university's honors program before graduating magna cum laude.
"Marshall was great to me," Smith said. "I loved the environment, I loved learning. I loved discovering that I loved learning. The environment there was just perfect for me. It was big enough to offer everything but small enough that you could actually have relationships with the professors."
Except for the 1970 plane crash, Smith said he knew nothing about Marshall before being recruited to play football. But he accepted the scholarship -- which he continued to receive until graduating, despite not playing -- and never regretted choosing Marshall.
Smith began his career as a journalist and was managing editor of the Charleston Daily Mail when it was acquired by Thomson Newspapers in 1987. He rose through the ranks at Thomson Newspapers to become responsible for operations in North America.
Following the divesture of Thomson's newspaper business in 2000, Smith moved to the professional publishing side of the company where he was responsible for a number of businesses serving the legal, regulatory and academic markets.
He also served as global head of human resources before becoming chief operating officer of The Thomson Corp. Following the acquisition of Reuters in 2008, Smith ran the professional division of the combined company. He was named chief executive in January 2012.
Smith spends much of his time traveling, often to other countries. He splits time among offices in New York, London and Stamford, Conn., where he and his wife, Pam Kushmerick, maintain their home. He has four sons.
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