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Meet the President

DR NORMAN SMITH, President of Elmira College, has logged 45 years in higher education, both in the US and internationally, 29 years as a college/university chief executive.  He came to Elmira College from the presidency of Suffolk University Boston.  Smith is President Emeritus of Wagner College in New York City and is widely credited as having saved the College from closure and elevating Wagner to its sustained status as one of the top colleges in the Northeast.  During his tenure, Wagner was named a College of the Year by TIME magazine citing a new and innovative first-year experiential curriculum that became a national exemplar.

Smith is Past-President of Richmond, The American International University in London; a multi-sited residential and study abroad university with campuses in Richmond-upon-Thames, central London at Kensington Square, Rome and Florence.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Smith was at Harvard University where he was Assistant Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then of the John F. Kennedy School of Government where he was part of the inaugural management team assembled from within the University.  He earned his doctorate from Harvard and was a research fellow of the Harvard Philosophy of Education Research Center.

Still earlier in his career, he was Executive Vice President of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, Vice President and Dean of Philadelphia University and Assistant Dean of Students at Drexel University where he earned his BS and MBA.

President Smith’s awards and honors include honorary doctorates from Richmond University, Wagner College and Philadelphia University.  Drexel University cited him as one of their inaugural most distinguished and accomplished alumni from among over 120,000 graduates and he was more recently cited for lifetime achievement.  New York University awarded him their Presidential Medal for excellence in educational leadership.

Dr. Smith’s publications include “SELECTING THE RIGHT COLLEGE,” and “TOP TIER: The Wagner College Turnaround Years.”  TOP TIER was cited by the Council of Independent Colleges as a “Book of Note” for college presidents and academic leaders.  “WHAT COLLEGE TRUSTEES NEED TO KNOW” was coauthored with George J. Matthews, Chairman Emeritus of Northeastern University and Bryan Carlson, President of the Registry for College and University Presidents.  “MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN SELECTING YOUR COLLEGE” will be published, and available at no charge for download on the Elmira College website, in late August 2016.

Smith has served on numerous boards including the Executive Committee of the New York Council of Independent Colleges and Universities and as a Director of the Dime Savings Bank in New York City.  He was host, in London, to the Presidential Summit of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities.

Smith is married to Dr. Susan Robinson a career educator and arts executive presently at Friends Central School in Philadelphia.  She was a founder of AVENUES The World School in Manhattan and has been President of New York City’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center, President of the Staten Island Symphony and previously a college Associate Provost and Professor.  She earned her doctorate at Harvard and is an alumnae of Skidmore College where their daughter, Caroline, also graduated in 2014 and now resides and presently works as a designer/producer for a global marketing corporation in Boston.