Smaw Receives Torch of Excellence Award

October 10, 2023

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Philosophy professor Eric Smaw has been selected as a recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award for 2023.

Rollins College philosophy professor Eric Smaw
Photo by Scott Cook.

Each year, the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award honors and celebrates one African American alum from the University of Kentucky whose faith, hard work, and determination has positively affected the lives of people on the University of Kentucky campus, the city, state, or nation. This year’s honoree is Rollins philosophy professor Eric Smaw, who earned his PhD in philosophy of law and human rights from the University of Kentucky.

While at Rollins, Smaw has sought opportunities to foster rigorous critical thinking among his students and empower them within and beyond his classroom, developing innovative courses featured in regional and national media, as well as contributing to the development of critical-race-theory courses. He also founded the Rollins College debate team, which under his mentorship has won national and international competitions. Smaw currently serves as special assistant to the provost for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), where he oversees ongoing diversity initiatives for the College.

Smaw will be recognized for his contributions at the 32nd annual Lyman T. Johnson awards luncheon on Friday, October 13.

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