W.Va. Native and Intuit Board Chairman Brad D. Smith Named Marshall University's Next President
Marshall University has named Kenova, West Virginia, native and Intuit Board Chairman Brad D. Smith as its next president.
The announcement was made by the Board of Governors Thursday morning at a press conference held at the Marshall University Memorial Student Center in Huntington. Smith was selected unanimously by the board.
Smith will replace Jerome Gilbert, who announced in April that he was stepping down as Marshall’s president. Gilbert joined the school in January 2016 after serving as provost at Mississippi State University. His tenure at the university ends in December.
Smith, who will become Marshall's 38th president, is a native of Kenova, West Virginia, and attended Ceredo-Kenova High School. He briefly studied at the U.S. Military Academy before returning to Marshall where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1986. He earned a master’s degree from Aquinas College in 1991.
In public forums with the candidates, Smith said his background growing up in West Virginia helped him to become successful in business. “What I think helps me in the situation is I am also a native of West Virginia, I am a graduate of our public education system in West Virginia, I’m a proud son of Marshall. None of those things qualify me to be president but they prepared me for a 36-year career that led large complex organizations through transformational change while preserving the core mission of that institution,” Smith said.
He has been a significant benefactor to Marshall, giving $25 million to its business school. Upon his departure as Intuit CEO in 2019, he returned to West Virginia to found the Wing 2 Wing Foundation and also founded along with his wife, Alys, the Ascend West Virginia program, which offers money for people to relocate to West Virginia to infuse the workforce with what Smith has described as "energetic" new talent. Smith currently serves as executive chairman of Intuit’s board of directors.
Smith's selection was lauded by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. "Brad Smith is a proud West Virginian and accomplished businessman. He is the perfect person to lead Marshall University in this next chapter and to be a force in helping our entire state succeed and grow," Manchin said in a statement. "As CEO, Brad led Intuit for 11 successful years and continues to serve as the executive chairman, representing West Virginia and Marshall University on a national stage for over a decade. Brad and his wife Alys have continued to give back to the Mountain State, through their efforts at Marshall and the Wing 2 Wing Foundation to spur entrepreneurship across the state. We are proud to welcome Brad and Alys home to Marshall University, and I look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
Other finalists for the Marshall president job included: Bernard Arulanandam, vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Bret Danilowicz, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Florida Atlantic University; Robyn Hannigan, provost, Clarkson University; Kathy Johnson, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).