Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Georgia Episode 165: Class of 2024 Commencement Address
Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Rome, GA
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Episode 165: Class of 2024 Commencement Address

June 13, 2024 | 182 views

Welcome to Episode 165 of The Darlington Podcast! 

In this special Commencement episode, listen to Gordon Smith ('71), chairman of the Board of Trustees and retired executive director and chief operating officer of the United States Tennis Association, give his Commencement address on May 18. Smith reminds graduates that the tools they've received at Darlington enable them to change the world and become the people they most want to be, noting that his own Darlington story didn't end when he graduated, but that it had only just begun. 

Smith has served as a sports and tennis industry consultant since his retirement from USTA. He holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Juris Doctor from The University of Georgia, and spent 27 years at King & Spalding, where he worked his way up to senior partner. A member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he was listed in The Best Lawyers in America publication for many years. 

Smith holds the record as the longest-tenured CEO and executive director in the USTA’s history, serving from 2007 to 2020 and leading the association to unprecedented growth and achievements during his time at the helm. The USTA achieved a number of significant milestones and achievements under Smith’s leadership, including the launch of its unified youth tennis initiative, Net Generation, as well as driving forward the complete digital overhaul of the USTA’s digital platforms and assets to make the digital experience for tennis players more modern and consumer friendly. He also oversaw tremendous growth of the U.S Open and stewarded the two largest infrastructure construction projects in USTA history.

At Darlington, the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus is a loyal volunteer, supporter and leader. Smith, a visitor emeritus and former class agent, begins his term as chairman of the Board of Trustees in May and currently serves as co-chair of the Ever Forward Campaign. 


The Darlington Podcast is a collaboration between the communication and advancement teams, and is hosted by various members of the school community. Episodes are released each Thursday morning and available on most podcast platforms (search for The Darlington Podcast in your podcast player). Once new episodes are posted, you'll also be able to find them at www.darlingtonschool.org/podcast. Please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so that you'll get the latest episode each week! 

The Darlington Podcast intro music was written and performed by Elliot Luitwieler ('22) and Kathryn Davidson ('22). Justin Bruce, Upper School learning specialist, lends his voice and editing and production is handled by Maddie Chastain, content manager.

If you have ideas for future episodes or have any questions about The Darlington Podcast, please email communications@darlingtonschool.org