Edgar Ashley Smith
General Counsel at Houston Community College System
Growing up in Houston, E. Ashley Smith graduated from Lamar High School and the University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate and Law Schools. He has also received a Masters of Law from the University of Houston and Master of Business Administration from the University of Saint Thomas. He began his legal career in 1971 in Houston as General Counsel to a financial institution holding company that he would be instrumental in taking public on the American Stock Exchange. Shortly thereafter in 1981, Ashley began his 14-year political career when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he chaired numerous committees dealing with higher education, financial institutions, insurance budget & oversight, governmental organizations and science & technology. Ashley transitioned into his next career as a health care professional when he became President & CEO of the Texas Institute for Research & Rehabilitation (TIRR), which rose on his watch (1997-2003) from being U S News and World Report ranking #8 nationally to #2 best in the United States. Ashley then re-entered the education field when he became Vice-Chancellor at the University of Texas System for Governmental Affairs and Policy (2003-06) where he focused on financial sustainability including tuition deregulation and indirect cost reimbursement for grants. Finishing that assignment, he returned to the public sector as Chief Legal Officer for the parent company of Stewart Title, a Fortune 1000 public company, from which he retired in 2011. He accepted a new challenge in 2014 returning to the education field to assist the new Chancellor of the Houston Community College System as his General Counsel, where he works today.