Philander Smith to Inaugurate Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., Ph.D. August 29, 2015

Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., Ph.D. will be inaugurated as the fourteenth president of Philander Smith College on August 29, 2015. A number of special events will be held leading up to the inauguration event. Learn more about this special occasion and the event schedule at the special Inauguration website at

Campus Cookout & Celebration
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 | Noon to 2:00 pm

Inaugural Community Symposium
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 | 6:00 pm

African-American Art Exhibit
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 – Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Inaugural Scholarship Gala
Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 | 7:00 pm

President’s Inauguration/Investiture
Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 | 12:00 noon

Ecumenical Interfaith Prayer Service
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015 | 3:00 pm

Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. was named 14th president of Philander Smith College on October 1, 2014 and began his tenure in January 2015. A dynamic scholar, transformative leader and forward-thinking visionary, Smothers is committed to building upon the institution’s strong and historic legacy, while advancing its mission to new levels of excellence. His focus will be on strengthening academic programs, enhancing the college’s local and national presence, growing enrollment, increasing donor giving, and better equipping graduates with the qualifications, skills and resources that will allow them to compete in the globalized 21st century marketplace.

Previously, Dr. Smothers served as vice president for institutional advancement at two historically black universities: Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, respectively, where he was responsible for university development and fundraising, sponsored programs, marketing and public relations, external affairs, community engagement and alumni affairs. As an accomplished fundraiser, he has worked extensively with individuals, non-profit organizations, corporations, and foundations along with federal, regional and state agencies, and holds a cumulative fundraising /grant writing record that exceeds $60 million.

While at Langston, Dr. Smothers also served as the associate vice president for academic affairs, assistant dean of the school of education and behavioral sciences and assistant professor of education. Years prior, he was on the faculty of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and was dean of enrollment management at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette. His higher education career began at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he spent eight years as an administrator in academic and student affairs.

About Philander Smith College

Philander Smith College is a private, residential, co-educational, four-year undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist church and a founding member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Philander is classified as a baccalaureate (liberal arts) college by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Updated in 2007, the College’s mission is to graduate academically accomplished students who are grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to intentionally change the world for the better.

The College is nestled near the progressive epicenter of downtown Little Rock which encompasses the thriving cultural and business River Market District and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Little Rock is the state capital of Arkansas, and is located at the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains and on the south bank of the Arkansas River. The city is served by airlines, trains, bus lines and both interstate and state highways.

Philander Smith College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, Association for Collegiate and Business Schools and Programs, and the Council on Social Work Education and currently offers four degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Bachelor of Social Work.

In the past the College’s mission has been to grant access to higher education to individuals who are, or who have the potential to be, academically talented, regardless of social, economic, or educational background . Although many of our students have stellar academic backgrounds, Philander Smith College also has the ability to nurture students who have been overlooked by other colleges. Many of our students come from low-income families and it is not uncommon that they are the first in their family to attend college. Some may also enter the college as average high school students, but emerge later with the capacity and motivation to pursue graduate and professional degrees and excel in their fields.