UGA Heritage:

Hoke Smith Building and Annex

     

Michael Hoke Smith, Hoke Smith Building and Annex (today)

 

The Hoke Smith Building and Annex were built in 1940 and named for Michael Hoke Smith, a former teacher, lawyer, publisher, governor, senator and secretary of the interior.

The building appropriately houses most of the offices of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service since Smith introduced the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established the service.

Smith was born in Newton, N.C., in 1855 and moved to Atlanta with his family in 1872. He was a “renaissance man” in the true sense of the word. He was educated by his father, became a school master in North Carolina and later practiced law in Atlanta. In the 1880s, he purchased the Atlanta Journal and built it into a successful newspaper. He was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Grover Cleveland, but returned to Georgia and was elected governor in 1907. He lost the office in the next election, but was reelected in 1911. The following year, Smith returned to Washington, D.C., as a U.S. Senator and introduced the Smith-Hughes Act, which made funds available for high school training in agriculture and home economics.

Smith was a strong supporter of corn and domestic clubs for girls and boys – forerunners of the 4-H program – and a member of the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame. He died in 1931 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Atlanta.

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