Marshall presidential finalist Brad Smith visits campus

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:12 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The five finalists to become Marshall University’s next president are visiting campus during the next couple weeks and making their case for why they should be picked.

Tuesday, the only finalist who’s a Marshall alum, former Intuit CEO Brad Smith, visited the university’s South Charleston campus and spoke at the engineering building in Huntington.

“We consider the opportunity to serve Marshall in any capacity the ultimate privilege for me to pay it forward to those who invested in me and believed in me when I didn’t know what I might be capable of, and I want to come back and do the same thing for the next generation,” Smith said while talking to a crowd in the engineering complex.

After stepping down as Intuit CEO in 2019, the Kenova native and his wife developed the Wing to Wing Foundation to help small businesses.

In 2018, Smith, who earned a business degree from Marshall, donated $25 million to Marshall’s Lewis College of Business.

“Our future is not guaranteed,” Smith said. “No one’s is in this fast-changing world.”

Smith acknowledged he’s a non-traditional candidate for the job, being the only finalist who doesn’t have a background working in academia, but he says his track record would be an asset for the university.

“I believe the experiences I’ve had in the high-tech sector leading fast change in the Silicon Valley has produced a set of skills and an experience that I think will be helpful to our journey at Marshall University,” he said.

Smith says his hire wouldn’t be without precedent. He says out one out of five universities and colleges in the U.S. has presidents or chancellors who came from outside academia.

The Marshall Board of Governors will announce the next president on Oct. 28. President Jerome Gilbert’s last day is July 15.

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