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Tyson's Donnie Smith pledges $3.2 million to alma mater

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith and his wife, Terry, have pledged $3.2 million to establish the Donald and Terry Smith Endowed Chair for International Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.


“The new faculty position will help bring science-based agricultural solutions to areas of the world with struggling agricultural practices and economies, as well as provide unique opportunities for the state of Tennessee,” said Larry Arrington, chancellor of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, in a news release about the gift.

Smith earned his undergraduate degree in animal science from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Terry Smith is a graduate of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Smith was appointed CEO of Tyson in 2009, but worked with the company in various capacities since 1980.

The search for the Smith Endowed Chair and director for international programs is underway. The chair will help faculty develop an international dimension to their current work, with the goal is to find solutions to encourage less-equipped societies to maximize available resources in an effort to provide better nutrition for all of Earth’s inhabitants.

The college’s agriculture institute has ongoing international farming projects in Africa, Europe, South America and Southeast Asia.

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