February 12, 2016
Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents elects James M. Smith as University’s 23rd president
President of Northern State University to assume duties on July 1, 2016
The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents has elected James M. Smith as the University’s 23rd president. Smith will assume the duties on July 1, 2016.
Smith’s election follows a national search process that began in April 2015. He has served as president of Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, South Dakota since June 2009. For the past seven years (2008-2015), NSU has been named by US News and World Report as one of the best undergraduate public institutions in the Midwest.
“This is a special moment in the 167-year history of our University, as we elect Dr. Smith as our 23rd president,” said Board of Regents Chairman Mike Morris. “He brings extraordinary energy, vision and experience to this role. I join the entire Eastern Michigan community – students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters – in welcoming Dr. Smith to a special place that emphasizes teaching, student-faculty engagement, and student success.”
NSU is premier residential and liberal arts institution, characterized by outstanding instruction, community relations, and co-curricular opportunities.
“I am honored to be selected as the next president of Eastern Michigan University,” said Smith. “This is an outstanding opportunity. Eastern Michigan University is poised for wonderful things, with terrific curricula that are appealing to undergraduate, graduate, transfer and non-traditional students. I am looking forward to getting to know Eastern’s esteemed faculty members, student support staff, and of course, the outstanding students at Eastern.”
Board of Regents Vice Chair Mary Treder Lang said, “I’m confident the campus community will enjoy getting to know and working with Dr. Smith as we continue to move this great institution forward. I also wish to extend the Board’s sincere gratitude and appreciation to Don Loppnow as he continues to lead us during the coming months in his capacity as interim president.”
Prior to accepting the presidency at NSU, Smith was vice president for Economic Development at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, Ohio. A veteran educational leader, Smith has also served as a professor, branch campus CEO, education dean, doctoral program director, and university liaison to K-12 schools. During his time at BGSU, he had the opportunity to visit Eastern’s campus on several occasions.
Smith began his career as a public school teacher and principal at the K-8 level, working in both rural and suburban schools. One of his most cherished honors is the West Texas A&M University Distinguished Teaching Award, which he received in 1994. He holds a B.S. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, M.S. from Xavier University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University.
He has been an active fundraiser and was instrumental in helping NSU obtain the largest donation in its history, a $15 million gift.
Regent Michelle Crumm, who chaired the search process, said, “Dr. Smith’s selection represents the culmination of a process that drew an outstanding field of candidates, including many sitting presidents or provosts. The process was rigorous and difficult, but yielded an exceptional result. I want to note the outstanding work of the Search Advisory Committee, which helped identify finalist candidates and contributed greatly to the successful completion of this process.”
The Search Advisory Committee included:
- Regent Michelle Crumm, Chair
- Regent Michael Hawks (BBA83)
- Regent James Stapleton
- Regent James Webb (BBA71, MBA76)
- Anne Balazs, interim director, Graduate Studies
- David Turner (BBA94), vice president, University Human Resources
- Joe Chrzanowski (BBA73, MBA78), chair of the EMU Foundation Board of Trustees
- Anjali Martin, student body vice president, Honors College student majoring in International Affairs with a triple minor in French Language, Music Performance, and International Business
- Nakayla Clark, student leader from the Office of Diversity and Community Involvement, majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and minoring in Spanish
- Donald Loppnow, representing the Ypsilanti community and emeritus faculty
Loppnow will remain interim president until Smith begins his presidency in July. Loppnow said, “As a member of the Search Advisory Committee, I found Dr. Smith to be highly engaging, intelligent and inspiring, with a rich understanding of Eastern’s history, mission and special community role. I am eager to work with him as he assumes leadership of our great, historic university. I anticipate an excellent and seamless transition that will continue to move Eastern Michigan forward.”
The eight-member EMU Board of Regents made the final election pursuant to the Michigan Constitution, which provides that the Board is vested with the authority and responsibility to elect the President of the University.
Under the terms of the five-year contract, Smith’s annual salary will be $400,000, with potential for a 10-percent annual bonus based on achievement of performance goals.
by Walter Kraft