Dr. Aaron Smith has been appointed vice president and dean for student development at the University of Lynchburg.
University of Lynchburg President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren announced the decision Monday in emails to students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Smith had served in an interim role since May 21.
“The student experience, inside and outside the classroom, is the University of Lynchburg’s highest priority,” Dr. Garren said. “Dr. Smith’s vision and leadership will take that commitment to an even higher level, allowing students to grow personally and professionally through their personal engagement on campus. Dr. Smith’s individual excellence in academics and athletics was clearly demonstrated during his undergraduate years at this institution and he has subsequently continued to advance through his graduate programs as well as in community service and leadership, both locally and regionally.”
Dr. Smith is a three-time graduate of Lynchburg. He earned a BA in Communication Studies in 2005, followed by a MEd in Educational Leadership in 2007. In 2018, he earned his EdD in Leadership Studies. He is a graduate of Leadership Lynchburg, a program offered by the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. Dr. Smith serves at the state level on the Board of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) as well as on other community organizations within the region.
He has served as the institution’s diversity and inclusion officer since 2016. Before that, he had been the assistant director for human resources and student employment coordinator.
He is the author of So I’m a Leader. Now what?, a practical guide for new leaders based on Dr. Smith’s personal experiences. His doctoral thesis, “This Is How We Did It: A Grounded Theory Approach of Black Male Success,” explores how 14 Black men in Central Virginia achieved life success, providing a framework for others to emulate.
“I call the University of Lynchburg home,” Dr. Smith said. “This is a place where I’ve been supported and where I’ve been able to thrive. My hope for our division is to support students so they can thrive and grow.”