Press Releases

New Furman President Rodney Smolla Announced as Speaker for Outstanding Leadership Luncheon

August 6, 2010

Presented by the Leadership Greer Alumni Association
The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Rodney Smolla, President of Furman University, will be speaking at the upcoming Outstanding Leadership Luncheon. The luncheon will be Thursday, August 19 at the Thornblade Club from 11:30am to 1:00pm. The Outstanding Leadership Luncheon is designed to award and recognize a graduate of a Leadership Greer Program that has demonstrated effective leadership and furthered the growth of the community through active involvement in community/civic programs, organizations and/or activities.  Tickets to the luncheon are $27. You can register to attend online at

Rodney A. Smolla became Furman University’s 11th president on July 1, 2010.
He is nationally recognized as a scholar, teacher, advocate and writer, and is one of America’s foremost experts on issues relating to freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of the press.  A native of the Chicago area, he is a 1975 graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of the football team.  He graduated first in his class from Duke University Law School in 1978.

Prior to coming to Furman, the 57-year-old Smolla served three years as Dean and Roy L. Steinheimer Professor of Law at Washington and Lee School of Law.  He has also been Dean and Allen Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law as well as Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at the College of William & Mary. During his legal career, Smolla has presented arguments in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  He has also testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to teaching at William & Mary, Richmond and Washington and Lee, Smolla has been a professor at the University of Illinois, University of Arkansas and DePaul University law schools, and a Senior Fellow of the Washington Annenberg Program of Northwestern University.  He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne, University of Denver, and Duke Law schools.

Smolla is active in civic and community affairs, and frequently speaks to community groups, church groups, youth groups, schools and college organizations.  He serves on numerous civic, community, professional and corporate boards, including the Board of Directors of Media General, Inc., and the chairmanship of the Council for America’s First Freedom, an organization dedicated to religious freedom.

He is married to Michele B. Smolla, and their blended family includes five children, from college age through fourth grade.  One of their children, Miles, is a sophomore at Furman.

In addition to the Award, this event, organized by the Leadership Greer Alumni Association, will serve as a kickoff for the Leadership Greer Class XXXI and the official passing of the gavels to the new Chairmen of each of the Leadership Greer program Boards for 2010-2011. The mission of the Leadership Greer Alumni Association is to develop leaders for the Greater Greer Area by providing training, networking and community service opportunities for graduates of Leadership Greer and other recognizable leadership programs. 

For information, applications or further information about any of the Leadership Greer programs, please contact Mark Owens of the Greer Chamber of Commerce at (864) 877-3131 or visit the Chamber website at  

The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary, non-profit organization that represents approximately 590 businesses in the Greer area. The mission of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce is “To Champion Economic Prosperity for our members and the greater Greer community.”  For more information on the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, call 864-877-3131 or visit


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