COLUMBIA, SC (courtesy ciu.edu) — The inauguration of Dr. Mark A. Smith as the seventh president of Columbia International University was held November 3 in Shortess Chapel on the campus of CIU. The inauguration was part of the college’s 2017 Homecoming celebration.
The Honorable J. Ronald Mullins Jr., vice-chairman of the CIU Board of Trustees and a Georgia Superior Court judge, presided over the inauguration.
Students, alumni and others expressed excitement about the future of Columbia International University during the inauguration. Presenting greetings from the students, Student Body President Kyle Jones told the hundreds of alumni and dignitaries gathered in Shortess Chapel, that after Smith officially became president on July 1, he brought “a sense of anticipation within the student body.”
Addressing Smith directly, Jones added, “the students, have heard your heart for us, and for the university” and that “you relationally care for, and act for, the student body.
“We look forward to serving alongside you as we ‘impact the nations with the message of Christ,’” Jones added quoting from CIU’s mission statement.
The Inaugural Address was given by 2017 CIU Alumnus of the Year Ralph Enlow Jr. (’72,’82), who serves as president of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). He noted that while CIU anticipates growth under Smith’s leadership, he added, “I implore you that during your administration there will be as much attention to CIU’s core, as to its circumference,” a reference to CIU’s Five Core Values.
In his Inaugural Response, Smith said he will strive to expand the school’s educational horizons while never neglecting the calling God has placed on the CIU students.
“We stand by the fact that we will use new ideas and 21st century technology, but we will stand by the fact that making Christ known is what we’ll stand for until we die,” Smith added.
After the ceremony, CIU junior Abigail Cotton said Smith is in her prayers.
“I pray that this new era we are moving into be positive and true to where we came from,” Cotton said.
“I am excited for Dr. Smith’s time here,” added senior Nathan Kyles. “He has a good understanding of the history of CIU and still plans to move forward. I see the Lord doing good work though him.”
Click here to listen to the podcast for Dr. Smith’s inauguration.
Smith comes to CIU from Ohio Christian University (OCU) where he served as president for 11 years, increasing enrollment from 400 to approximately 4,600 students during his tenure. Prior to coming to OCU, Smith served as vice president for adult and graduate studies at Indiana Wesleyan University where he oversaw the doubling of enrollment from approximately 5,000 to 10,000 students in four years. Smith also has experience in Pre-K to 12th grade education, having served as principal of Bible Fellowship Christian School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Since Smith became president of CIU, the school has added a fully online MBA, as well as fully online bachelor’s and associate degrees in business. In addition, CIU has announced $22 million in facility expansions with the largest portion dedicated to a $15-20 million Business and IT Global Initiative Center.