Smith: ‘Some things must never change’

Progress can’t eclipse school’s values, IWU president says

Henry Smith does not intend to see Indiana Wesleyan University lose momentum during his tenure – he plans on keeping the university growing all the way to the top.

"Let me be so bold and declare that IWU seeks to become a premier international Christian university," Smith said.

Smith, IWU’s eighth president, was officially sworn in Friday, promising students, faculty, staff and alumni to continue to keep the university moving forward while remembering the school’s core values.

While encouraging that the school continue to improve its academic quality, he called for the campus community to continue to grow as an ideal work environment and to strengthen relationships with community members.

"I believe we must live with a forward lean if we are to maintain our momentum," Smith said. "I am convinced that we are on the verge of moving to a new level of influence."

He cited the school’s recent growth, including an increased budget of $140 million – up from $34 million 10 years ago. The school, which now has 14,000 students on 14 campuses in three states, also recently became the largest private university in Indiana.

The school’s current pace of growth helped bring Smith to IWU.

Smith has been with IWU since 2004, when he was named the school’s first executive vice president. Carl Sheperd, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said IWU chose Smith with the idea of finding someone capable of replacing former President Jim Barnes when he was ready to retire. Barnes was president for 19 years and led the university to its current success.

Smith was named president-elect in 2005 and has been preparing for the office since.

"The cry was, ‘We’re on the right track, let’s not slow down or hit a speed bump,’" Smith said.

In moving forward, though, IWU must remember its philosophy of being a community with strong ties to Christian values, Smith said.

"Many things have changed at IWU, but some things must never change," he said.

The university community, along with representatives from Smith’s former places of work, the city of Marion and colleges across Indiana welcomed the new president at the ceremony.

Several of the speakers commended the president’s Christian faith along with his leadership.

"In the years I have known him, Dr. Smith has proven to be a wonderful church man," said David Wilson, chairman of the board of trustees for Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where Smith was provost and vice president for academic affairs.

IWU Student Government Organization President Aaron Baker praised Smith for connecting with the students and said he trusted Smith to lead them into the future.

Smith has also been a crucial asset to Marion, Mayor Wayne Seybold told the audience. Seybold has often brought Smith in to help with recruiting efforts, the mayor said, which often brings good results.

"He has hit the ball out of the park every time," Seybold said.

The inauguration ceremony was the high point of a week of homecoming events, which conclude today. The school celebrated Smith, who has been in office for nearly 100 days, and the homecoming with festivities, including a parade Thursday night and a special chapel service Friday morning that brought alumni together with current students.

Originally published October 7, 2006



Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *