Peter A. Smith Named New Executive-in-Residence

Peter Smith, Executive-in-Residence for the School of Business.

Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business, is pleased to recognize Peter A. Smith, trust administrator for John Hancock Financial Services, as a new Executive-in-Residence.  The appointment was made in recognition of Smith’s commitment to his business students and professional accomplishments.  Smith teaches risk management and insurance for the Department of Economics and Finance. 

“This distinction is rare for adjunct instructors,” says Alan T. Shao, Dean, School of Business.  “I am proud to give him the recognition, particularly because of his outstanding student course evaluations and capacity to serve as a role model for many of our students.  Students learn a valuable life lesson that he exhibits everyday by overcoming obstacles to perform at a very competitive level, despite any physical limitations.”

What many people don’t know about Smith is that he has retinitis pigmentosa, a type of progressive retinal degeneration that makes him blind.  His disability has hardly prevented him from pursuing his passion for teaching.

“Because I lost my eyesight slowly,” Smith said, “I slipped into it, and I was able to keep doing what I love to do.”

Cutting-edge assistive technology and speakers aid him in his everyday tasks. His home- office walls are lined with plaques from the Harvard Business School, his alma mater.  Trophies and medals are displayed on shelves, testaments of his marathon and cycling accomplishments.

The Executive-in-Residence says his disability has been a minor setback. “I like to use the analogy of a boulder in a stream,” Smith said. “The water will find its way around the obstacle.”

For his students, who appreciate his lively lectures and applied learning techniques, his blindness is irrelevant. “Professor Smith’s class was incredible. It seems like he’s in his twentieth year of teaching,” said Chris Haley, who was enrolled in Smith’s class and graduated with an accounting degree. “It was one of my most favorite classes that I took in the business school.”

Other Executives-in-Residence in the School of Business include:

  • George G. Spaulding, Executive-in-Residence Emeritus, columnist for the Post and Courier and member of the Board of Governors and College of Charleston Foundation Board
  • Tommy Baker, owner and president of Baker Motor Company, who teaches a seminar in entrepreneurship and is a member of the Executive Committee on the Board of Governors
  • Ben Lever, retired president of Ford Motors Company, Japan, who teaches international business and serves on the Board of Governors
  • Robert Brinson, co-founder of Halcyon, who instructs students in entrepreneurial leadership.

College of Charleston’s School of Business offers five undergraduate programs, an honors program, an M.S. in Accountancy and an MBA.  Approximately 1600 undergraduate and graduate students attend from as far away as China, Germany and Brazil. The faculty has research expertise in areas such as global logistics, hospitality and tourism, political economics, financial investment, bankruptcy, business intelligence, and sustainable business practices. Visit to learn more about our undergraduate and graduate programs, faculty and Centers of Excellence.

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