Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. Selected as New President of Langston University

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - After a six month-long national search and selection process, Langston University has a new president.   Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., former vice-president for student affairs and chief student affairs officer at Ohio University in Athens, OH, was selected by the OSU A&M Board of Regents during a special meeting on Thursday in Oklahoma City. He will serve as Langston University’s 16th president.

The Regents voted unanimously to name Dr. Smith to lead Langston University. He succeeds former university president JoAnn Haysbert, who resigned last summer after six years of service to return to Hampton University.

“We are very pleased with our selection of Dr. Smith as the next president of Langston University,” commented Andy Lester, OSU A&M regent and chairman of the search committee. “As a scholar with a strong record in administration and a deep appreciation for the history of Langston University and its importance to Oklahoma, Dr. Smith is a superb choice. He impressed us with his focus on student education and desire for academic rigor. He also brings solid leadership qualities and a collaborative management style to the position. We were very fortunate to be able to choose from three outstanding finalists, any one of whom would have represented Langston with distinction. We are enthusiastic about the appointment of Dr. Smith and the future of Langston University.”

Dr. Smith commented on the announcement. “I am honored to serve as president of Langston University. This is a special place. During my visit this week to meet with a number of groups on campus, I was deeply impressed by the admiration they have for Langston University and their ambitious hopes and dreams for its future. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni and others who share a common dream to build an even better university structured around student success.”

The Chair of the OSU A&M Regents, Jay Helm, commended Dr. Henry Ponder for serving as interim president of Langston University. “We could not have ever selected a better person and more accomplished academic leader than Dr. Ponder to fill the gap between two presidents. He loves Langston University, where he earned his B.S. degree, and he has done a remarkable job these past five months. He will be an incredibly valuable advisor to Dr. Smith. We are grateful for his service.”

Established in 1897 as a land-grant college, Langston University is Oklahoma’s only Historically Black College or University. Langston’s enrollment exceeded 3,000 students this past fall semester. The university’s main campus is located in Langston, Oklahoma, and it maintains two education centers located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Langston offers a wide range of instructional programs, including professional programs in nursing and physical therapy and graduate programs leading to the Master of Education degree and Master of Rehabilitation Counseling degree.

About OSU A&M Regents
The Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges was created on July 11, 1944. The Board has the supervision, management and control of five institutions, including Connors State College, Langston University, Northeastern Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and Oklahoma State University. The nine Board members are appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma, including the President of the State Board of Agriculture. Board members are appointed for eight-year terms. The Board’s mission is to guide and uphold policies and procedures which nurture the higher education system in a manner which provides students access to a first-class collegiate education in the state of Oklahoma.