Brent Smith, 67, died Monday, October 4, 2021. A talented professional in the field of audio and video technology, Brent built a career in broadcasting and then higher education where his expertise and engagement helped tell the power of education to transform the lives of young people. At the time of his death, he was assistant director of Teaching & Learning Technologies at Elon University. He was a beloved husband, father, colleague, mentor and friend who was quick to laugh, to offer a word of encouragement and support, and to deliver the perfectly witty pun.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Brent was a life-long Red Sox fan. He grew up in Oregon and received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and broadcasting from Southern Oregon State College in Ashland.
He would spend 24 years in television, first as a production assistant with Guam Cable TV in Agana, Guam, after his wife, Peggy, was offered a teaching job there. Returning to Oregon in 1981, Brent would spend the next two decades as production manager for KCBY-TV in Coos Bay. In that role he worked as a specialist in all areas of video production, including the production of special programming and marketing messages.
In 2001, Brent joined Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as assistant director of electronic media productions and resources. While serving as assistant director of campus information services there in 2012, he served as a peer consultant in writing the description for Elon’s new video integration manager position. He later said it was only after he saw the job posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education that he realized the role at Elon offered a challenging opportunity at a great school. He applied and joined the Elon community the following year.
At Elon, Brent emerged as a leader within the Teaching and Learning Technologies department, working to provide audio and visual support for events, managing live event video production and managing facilities in the School of Communications. In his role, Brent interacted with and built connections with people across Elon’s campus, lending his deep knowledge and expertise to capturing events large and small at the university.
During a gathering of friends at Elon following his death, members of his team in Teaching & Learning Technologies shared how Brent worked behind the scenes to support their work, and how quick he was to express his pride in what they were able to accomplish. He worked frequently with students, and delighted in seeing them succeed, multiple people shared during the gathering. Brent was remembered as a diehard science fiction and “Star Trek” fan, a frequent whistler and singer during his walks around campus. He was a friend, a mentor, a member of the “wolf pack” and a person who was generous with his praise and support, friends recalled.
Brent was an avid reader and lifelong supporter of libraries. With an office at Elon in Carole Grotnes Belk Library, he often referred to himself as an “honorary librarian.”
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to support local libraries in honor of Brent. For those who wish to make a donation to a library in the Elon area, gifts can be made to the Carol Grotnes Belk Library at Elon or the Alamance County Public Libraries.
Brent is survived by his wife, Peggy, and daughter, Mallory. Messages of sympathy can be sent to Elon Information Technology c/o Family of Brent Smith, Alamance Building 213E, 2575 Campus Box, Elon, N.C. 27244.
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