Psychology professor honored with annual Chancellor’s Cup

Craig A. Smith (John Russell/Vanderbilt)
Craig A. Smith (center) with Peabody Dean Camilla P. Benbow and Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos surprised psychology professor Craig A. Smith with the 2016 Chancellor’s Cup on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 21.

Friends and colleagues at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development gathered in the lobby of the Peabody Administration Building for the presentation. The Chancellor’s Cup has been given annually since 1963 for “the greatest contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student-faculty relationships in the recent past.”

“I’ve known Craig for a number of years, up close and from a distance, and have watched all of the amazing things he has done,” Zeppos said. “He is a brilliant faculty member and a great teacher by any measure. But what he does is really emblematic of this award because his devotion to students outside of the classroom is unparalleled. I know personally any number of students whose lives he has fundamentally changed and who have gone on to do great things.”

Smith is an associate professor of psychology and human development and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator. His research centers on the relationships among cognition, emotion and adaptation, and he has examined, among other areas of interest, the roles of emotion and coping in long-term adaptation to chronic health conditions.

Smith serves as associate dean for undergraduate studies and the acting associate dean for graduate education, and has advocated for undergraduates in numerous ways, including as a Faculty VUCeptor for the freshman orientation program; and serving on the Undergraduate Honor Council Board of Advisers, the Graduate School Faculty Council and many other committees.

Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development describes Smith as “… a formative figure in the lives of many Vanderbilt undergraduates (not only at Peabody) who has helped them discover their passions, conceive immersive research and service experiences and design their life paths. He is known for going above and beyond in guiding his students.”

Established by the Nashville Vanderbilt Club in 1963, the Chancellor’s Cup is presented by the president of the Club and the Chancellor during Homecoming week each fall. The award consists of a cash prize, an engraved pewter cup as a permanent trophy, and one year’s custody of a silver Tiffany and Co. bowl bearing the names of all prior recipients.

Smith is the eighth member of the Peabody faculty to receive the award. Previous Peabody recipients include:

  • Paul S. Redelheim (1981)
  • Robert B. Innes (1988)
  • Howard M. Sandler (1993)
  • Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey (1999)
  • Ann M. Neely (2004)
  • John M. Braxton (2009)
  • Joseph H. Wehby (2013)