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Virgil Smith

Chairman, SE Smith Edwards Group, LLC

Virgil Smith

Virgil L. Smith is vice president of talent acquisition and diversity at the Gannett Company.  He is the former president and publisher of the Asheville Citizen-Times. He is a highly motivated and experienced executive with high proficiency in talent acquisition, organizational development, and diversity management vital to the growth, expansion, and profitability of a global media conglomerate.  Smith earned his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees from the University of San Francisco.


Smith received the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Partners in Education Volunteer of the Year Award for his work in establishing the Asheville-Buncombe Education Coalition.  He is a former Chairman of the Asheville-Buncombe VISION.  He received the Eighteenth Annual Adult Dr. King’s Legacy of Peace, Justice and Community Award, from the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council and The Asheville Buncombe Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, for his work in the community that exemplified the work of Dr. King.  He received the Robert L. Mason, Distinguished Service Award by the North Carolina Association for Community Education; the Children First 2000 Service Award for Early Education, and received the Asheville Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Beat the Odds Community Award for dedication and commitment to educating Children.  Virgil was named “Man of the Year” in Stockton, California by the Esquire Club; was named “Alumnus of the Year” for Leadership Fresno (California).  Smith was awarded the annual Ida B. Wells Award for Diversity for distinguished leadership in increasing access and opportunities to people of color in journalism, and improving the coverage of communities of color in American media, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council.

Industry affiliations and board positions: 

Board member of the American Press Institute, member of the FCC Diversity in the Digital Age Committee, Memberships in the National Hispanic Journalism Association, National Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalism Association, National Association of Native American Journalists, and is Chairman of Gannett’s Leadership and Diversity Council.