Dr. Chris and Trip Smith

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

If you look at the healthcare landscape of Chattanooga and the surrounding area, the impact of Dr. Chris Smith’s work can be seen all over. Along with her husband, Trip, she’s ensuring her impact continues long after her teaching career ends.

Chris started her nursing career with a degree from Vanderbilt University and worked in a hospital in Louisiana. Her early career was focused on people’s health. Trip’s career was concentrated on petroleum engineering, with a BS from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. In addition to finishing his career as an entrepreneur, Trip worked for oil and gas mainstays like Chevron, Pitts Oil and North American Royalties.

While they met in high school in Chattanooga, Trip and Chris married in 1976 in the iconic Patten Chapel on UTC’s campus. They have three children and six grandchildren. Returning to Chattanooga in 1982, Chris eventually enrolled in the UTC School of Nursing’s first class of Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) students, graduating in 1997 and working for Erlanger, providing care in Chattanooga’s Westside Community. She returned to school and completed her PhD from East Tennessee State University.

We learned something long ago from Gordon Street, Trip’s grandfather. Money is like manure. If it piles up, it stinks, but if you spread it around, it does a lot of good.

Trip and Chris Smith

Named the FNP program coordinator at UTC in 2005, Chris was selected as the director of the School of Nursing in 2014 and has spent more than twenty years at UTC focused on educating new nurses.

Recently, Trip and Chris named the UTC School of Nursing as a life insurance policy beneficiary upon their passing. A common planned giving tool that the Smiths added to their repertoire of generosity for UTC, they decided to add to their support because of their collective belief that education is the foundation for successful lives.

“We cannot think of any place more deserving of our support than those places that educate. We have had very successful careers because of the foundations we received at our universities. If we can give back to those places, this will ensure that those who come after us have the same opportunities that we have had.”

When asked why they selected UTC specifically to support, they boiled it down to the enduring bedrock of education. “No one can take away the education someone receives, and it doesn’t get worn out or become obsolete. What one learns always remains. The ROI never diminishes.”

Like the Smiths, you can support UTC with a future gift through your estate plans. Learn more about gift planning and membership in our Legacy Society today.

Dr. Chris Smith at Undergraduate Commencement in 2023

Make a Big Impact with a Future Gift

Learn more about UTC’s Legacy Society, and how you can include the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in your estate plans.

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