NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system office announced today (March 31, 2023) that Dr. Dwayne Smith will assume the role of interim president of Southern Connecticut State University beginning July 1, 2023. Since 2020, Dr. Smith has served as campus CEO of Housatonic Community College, where he has brought unparalleled energy and passion to the job, immersing himself in the Bridgeport community and tirelessly advocating for the campus and its students.
Southern Connecticut State University President Joe Bertolino wrote in a letter to the campus community, “I’ve become well acquainted with Dr. Smith during his nearly three years at the helm of Housatonic, and I’m pleased to say that he will bring with him many attributes that will be a perfect fit for Southern. With almost 40 years of leadership at public and private universities, he has a proven track record in enrollment management, curriculum development, strategic planning, and external fundraising – all areas of priority at our institution.
“As an adherent to the transformative power of higher education, Dr. Smith is dedicated to student access and success. And his professional commitment to equity mirrors our mission of social justice and anti-racism here at Southern,” Bertolino added.
Dr. Smith has deep academic experience at the university level, both as a faculty member and an administrator. Before coming to Housatonic, he served as interim president of Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Mo., following his successful 13 years as that institution’s provost. Previously, Dr. Smith served as an assistant vice president of academic affairs at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. He was also associate vice president for enrollment management and assistant professor of education at Park University in Parkville, Mo., a faculty member in the graduate school of Education at the University of Missouri Columbia, and an associate dean of multicultural affairs at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., where he created the university’s first diversity department.
Throughout his career, he has helped secure more than $16 million in external funding. He has received numerous awards and honors for his service to the community – including being recognized as one of the Connecticut NAACP’s 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut in 2021. He is a sought-after presenter at academic conferences and has been heavily involved in academic committee work.
Dr. Smith is also deeply committed to the university’s mission as a social justice institution. He understands the transformational power of public higher education and the incredible responsibility that comes with educating students.
Terrence Cheng, president of Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, said “I am fully confident that Dr. Smith’s immense higher education skills, scholarship, and experience, as well as his infectious enthusiasm, will serve Southern well, and I hope you will join me in giving him a warm welcome to campus.”
Contact: Victoria Verderame