HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Marshall University hosted an investiture for University President Brad Smith this morning, with many people coming out to show their support.

Smith, a Marshall Alumnus and Kenova Native, was named the university’s 38th president on Oct. 28, 2021 after former president Jerome Gilbert announced he would be resigning at the end of 2021. While smith has served in the role since January, his ceremony serves as an official recognition and formal installation of his presidency.

Smith gave an emotional speech during the investiture, saying he chose this date for the event to honor his late father, whose birthday is today. Smith says he never thought he would be president of a university, but timing and fate led him to this point, and his devotion to giving back to his home state runs deep.

“Our time is now. We are strong. Our students need us,” Smith said. “Our community needs us to stay. West Virginia needs us. And the greater global society needs us. And, quite frankly, we have everything it takes to lead the way.”

Smith is a former CEO of Intuit. He also co-founded the Wing 2 Wing Foundation with his wife, Alys, with the goal of providing an increase in access and support for education as well as entrepreneurship and investment.

Smith says he and other university officials have been working on a strategic plan all summer to increase enrollment at the university as well as make their education more affordable for students.

Local, federal and state leaders as well as presidents from other universities across the Mountain State attended the event.