Lamar Smitherman

Lamar Smitherman

The History Museum of Burke County will welcome Lamar Smitherman, outreach and industry relations associate for the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Morganton, who will share an update on the school’s opening and discuss its importance to the community at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 27, at the museum as part of its “Coffee at the Museum” series. The presentation is free and open to the community. Refreshments will be served.

Smitherman is the former publisher of “The News Herald” and “The McDowell News.” His retirement from that position marked the end of a newspaper career that lasted for more than 40 years, according to a previous News Herald article. He started out as a sales representative and worked his way up to publisher in various positions in Alabama and Mississippi. He accepted a partnership in an independent publication and then opened his own paper, “The Autauga Times,” which he later sold. He returned to newspaper publishing for a while and then was named director of special products and acquisitions of Gannett Corporation. This position included producing three military publications, publishing three community newspapers and assuming responsibility for all commercial print operations, according to the article. Afterward, he took a job as a retail sales manager of a Media General newspaper before becoming publisher for the newspapers in Morganton and Marion.

Smitherman has been active in his communities in a variety of ways throughout his newspaper career, serving on the boards of several chambers of commerce, United Way agencies, and other civic organizations, the article said. He is a past president of the Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation, and currently serves on the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation, Burke Development Inc. board and as a trustee for Western Piedmont Community College. He is a past board member of Burke County United Way and the Burke County Chamber of Commerce.

"The school will be a game changer for Morganton, Burke County, and all of Western Carolina," Smitherman said of NCSSM-Morganton. “The program is a great opportunity to learn about the impact the school, its faculty and students will have on the local community and economy.”

To learn more, contact the History Museum at 828-437-1777.

Staff writer Tammie Gercken can be reached at

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