Today: Jun 17, 2024

President Smith excited to have students back

Jay’Mi Vazquez – News Editor

Since June 2023, Dr.Dwayne Smith officially became the Interim President of Southern. 

Smith immersed himself in the school’s culture, getting involved with student organizations and events and even riding a bike every morning to campus; starting his day seeing students.  

“I really enjoy all aspects of the campus. I came on board in June; it was the beginning of the summer, and the campus did not have the bustling scholars. That has added so much to my enthusiasm for what I do,” Smith said. 

“I’ve been attending a whole lot of events! I’ve been at many of the sporting events, a lot of student organizational events. Next week I’ll be meeting with student groups. The goal is to merge myself in the fabric of the community that makes up our great institution,” Smith added.  

This is Smith’s 40th year of being involved in higher education. In his college days, he was a student activist and heavily involved in student life. 

“For me, it’s always been about the mentorship. It is all about people who show you a direction. So, giving back for me entails mentoring scholars. That has been one of my number one objectives,” Smith said. 

Smith also explained the importance of riding a bicycle to campus. He explained how he lives close enough to able to do this, but also explained the benefits he receives from doing this. 

“It’s nice to start my day. Somedays, I ride through the campus and the cemetery as well. It’s a nice, serene place. I look at the campus and meditate. I feel that it is a stress reliever. It is just a nice great way to experience the campus,” Smith said. 

Smith plans to become a part of the university for many years to come.  

“I hope that I’ll be here for quite some time. Mainly because I see the promise that we hold as an institution. We could change the lives of individuals and help them reach their full promise,” Smith said. 

There are three principles that Smith has been saying since he arrived.  

His first one is always, “Claim your space; that you belong at this institution. This is your institution; you deserve to be here.” 

His second one is, “You are enough. We have everything we need in order to reach our full promise.” 

His final principle is, “Don’t ever give up. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. There will be times when you get weary, tired, or dejected. Whatever the case may be, you got to keep focusing. Understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Healthcare studies major Matthew Cadichon, a junior, said he is excited to see what Smith can offer to make the school even better. 

“I’d like to see him participate in more student led events this upcoming semester like the Tail Gate or the Heritage Ball,” Cadichon said. 

Cadichon added how he would like to see a president more involved with students before he eventually graduates.  

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“It would make my overall experience better and probably everyone’s experience better if he is involved,” Cadichon said.  

Cadichon is proud of the university’s diversity. Saying how happy he is to see a racial change in leadership; hoping that it starts to create more changes in a once predominately white institute.  

Psychology major Sophia Louise, a freshman part of the Freshman Leader Experience program, said her experiences with Smith so far have been great.  

Louise is excited to be at Southern with a president who has shown great attributes like: “Communication, authenticity, enthusiasm, motivation.” 

“Having a president that is interactive with students, someone who is down to Earth” are all things Louise says she was anticipating for her college experience. She feels that this is exactly what she has seen from Smith so far.  

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