Feb. 22, 1999

CONTACT: Pat Mroczek




YPSILANTI &emdash; After a career that encompasses four decades in his field and 25 years at Eastern Michigan University, Vice President for University Marketing and Student Affairs Laurence N. Smith has announced he will retire next year.

Smith shared the news with his staff during a University Marketing and Student Affairs Division Council meeting last week. In a letter to the division leadership, he said, "Over the past few months, I have shared with many of you my thoughts about looking to the future and closing out my career at EMU. I have come to a decision and have shared with President Shelton my intention to retire from EMU effective June 30, 2000.

"In talking with the President, it became very clear to both of us that my dual role as vice president for marketing and student affairs is unique in higher education, and one that grew out of a unique set of circumstances, talents and needs at the University," he said. "As we evaluated this role, it also became clear that it is a role which has grown increasingly large and complex and will continue to become even more so.

"Because of my love for, and my roots in, student affairs, I have elected to focus my next 16 months as the vice president for student affairs," he said.

President Shelton has announced the creation of a new Cabinet-level position that will be responsible for various public relations activities at the University.

Smith called the change a positive opportunity for the University. "While many of the details have yet to be determined, it is encouraging to note that increased emphasis in these areas will only serve to help all units at the University."

When Smith retires next June, he will have spent 40 consecutive years in higher education administration, 31 years as a vice president and 25 years at Eastern Michigan University. "My style as an administrator is that organizations deserve lead time, so I am making the announcement now. I believe the highly professional organization we have created at Eastern Michigan University is program driven, rather than personality driven. We are in good shape and will continue to charge into the future."

At EMU, Smith serves as a member of University governance and administrative councils and chairs the University's Sesquicentennial Celebration. Areas that report to him include McKenny Union and Campus Life, Career Services, Dean of Students, Student Judicial Services, University Health Services, Housing and Dining, Student Media, Recreation and Intramurals, as well as Marketing and Communications areas.

Smith joined Eastern Michigan in 1975. Two strongly held beliefs have guided his actions and shaped his efforts and accomplishments: "the test of our effectiveness is the positive difference we make in the life of an individual student" and "people support what they help to create." Smith's personal philosophies helped set a University standard for service during his tenure.

He has gained national recognition as a pioneer in the marketing of non-profit institutions and organizations as well as for his work in executive development and Transformation Management -- mobilizing institutions, communities and organizations for revitalization and renewal.

Smith is active on numerous professional, civic and corporate boards, committees and task forces on national, state and local levels. He currently chairs the National Academy for Leadership and Executive Effectiveness, sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

He has written numerous articles, manuals and books. He has several major works in progress including Student Success: How to Succeed in College and Still Have Time for Your Friends, to be published by Harcourt Brace in 1999 and Eastern Michigan University: a sesquicentennial portrait, a history of the University to be published in 1999.

Among his recent works, he is co-author of The Adult Learner's Guide to College Success, published by Wadsworth Publishing Co. in 1995. He is also lead author of Mobilizing the Campus for Retention: An Innovative Quality of Work Life Model (1981) and the Guide to Student Success (1996, 1989, 1987) and was a contributor to Increasing Student Retention (1985). Smith is lead author of the chapter on education in The American Management Association Handbook of Marketing for the Service Industries (1991).

Prior to coming to Eastern Michigan, he served from 1969-75 as vice president for student affairs at Chicago State University. He also held positions including assistant vice president for student affairs at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1960-69.

A graduate of the University of Rochester, New York, he earned a master's of education degree in college student personnel at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he also completed advanced graduate studies.