Mississippi College

Ronnie Smith of Regions Receives Executive Excellence Award From School of Business

April 24, 2008

Mississippi College School of Business alumnus Ronnie Smith is an accomplished banking executive who's never forgotten the people opening career doors for him.

A 26-year veteran with Regions, a leading bank-holding company based in Birmingham, Smith was in the spotlight at his alma mater Tuesday. He received the 2008 Executive Excellence Award at the MC business school's annual Honors Day luncheon.

A 1980 MC graduate with a bachelor's degree in economics and accounting, Smith began his speech by saluting some of the people laying the foundation, including MC professors like Sandra Parks. God, though, was truly the guiding force that led to his success in the world of finance and outside the banking community.

"God has a plan for all of us," the Broadmoor Baptist Church Sunday School teacher told an audience of dozens of MC students, families, and faculty at Anderson Hall.

As president of Regions' Southwest Region, Smith oversees all banking operations in his territory. He serves on the Executive Leadership Committee for Regions Financial Corporation. Regions maintains $141 billion in assets at its more than 2,000 branches in 16 states. He began his banking career at Deposit Guaranty National Bank in Mississippi as a management trainee in 1981.

Smith, who noted he's worked for eight different leaders in recent years, advised students to be prepared for careers that will see constant change. "I had to be willing to embrace change," Smith said. "It will happen with or without you."

Despite a rapidly changing workforce, Smith has maintained his focus as a devoted family man and active church member. He traces much of his devotion to faith and family to his undergraduate days at Baptist-affiliated MC in Clinton. "It is who I am at the core," he said beneath the huge blue banner trumpeting MC as a Christian university. "MC gave me a great foundation."

His community service stretches from the Boy Scouts to the Jackson Rotary Club. He and his wife, Candy Smith, are the parents of two children, Grace, 7, a Madison-Ridgeland Academy second-grader and Joshua, a student at the University of Mississippi. Smith also is an alumnus of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and a graduate of the KPMG Commercial Banking Institute.

Presented with his award from MC business dean Marcelo Eduardo, Smith is in good company. In previous years, other winners of the award included businessmen J.L. Holloway, chairman and president of Tenax, LLC. and Dan Grafton, president of the Mississippi-based L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace. Randall Crenshaw, executive vice president and general manager for Enterprise, a Division of Commscope, received the 2007 Executive Excellence Award at his alma mater, MC.

"I am so humbled by this," said Smith, who grew up in rural Southwest Mississippi near Natchez.

But people in the audience say Smith's latest honor is well-deserved. "He is an exceptional person," said Ralph Reed of Madison, a Mississippi College graduate and MC faculty member. Both teach Sunday School classes at Broadmoor Baptist Church.

At the luncheon, awards went to 23 MC business students. There were also 13 students inducted into the Delta Mu Delta business honorary society. Professor Michael Cudd received the 2008 outstanding faculty award. A graduate of Mississippi State University with a doctorate in finance from the University of Arkansas, Cudd joined the MC faculty in 2003.

PHOTO (left to right): Ronnie Smith is presented the Executive Excellence Award by MC School of Business dean Marcelo Eduardo.

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