“No one wants to patronize a business where they are treated poorly,” he said. “If we don't treat our students better and in a dynamic way, they will find places that will.”
During the ceremony, Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said it's critical that the university think of itself within the context of the national higher education landscape at large, not just as a member of the historically black college and university community.
“Institutions of higher education are institutions of higher education,” McDavis said. “The same things need to be done at Langston University as need to be done at Ohio University.”
McDavis was Ohio University's president while Smith was serving as vice president for student affairs. Colleges and universities, regardless of their size, location and student base, need to continue to adapt to new technology. University officials must be comfortable with change rather than bound by tradition and inertia, he said.
McDavis said he expects Smith will embrace progress as Langston's president. Smith didn't shy away from change during his time at Ohio University, McDavis said, and he expects him to lead Langston in a similar fashion.
“I know he will succeed because he is open to change,” McDavis said. “I'm sure that President Smith has big plans for Langston University based on his experience.”