UPDATED 5:12 p.m., Aug. 25
Smith Jackson will step down from serving as Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Elon University at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year, President Leo Lambert announced during an address to faculty and staff Aug. 22. cq-jb
According to The Office of Student Life, Jackson’s career in higher education has spanned more than 30 years. Jackson was born in Dothan, Alabama, and received his undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Alabama before earning his doctorate at Auburn University in counselor education.
He held higher education positions at Muskingum College, Auburn University and St. Louis University before becoming the Dean of Students at Huntington College in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1994, Jackson started at Elon College as Dean of Students. In 1998, he was promoted to the Vice President of Student Life.
Lambert said in an email that Jackson is, "one of the important architects of the modern Elon."
In this role, Jackson is responsible for all student life at Elon, including heading 15 departments that provide student services and programs ranging from Residence Life to Health Services. Jackson authored 10 articles and book chapters and made presentations at professional conferences on experiential learning, Fraternity and Sorority Life and Academic-Student Life partnerships.
Senior James Fariello was an Executive Intern under Jackson during the 2015-2016 school year and worked closely with him, researching a cappella groups at Elon and across the country to learn how they handle finances and interactions with advisers.
"There is a lot more than people think about him," he said. "He cares so tremendously about students on campus. He's incredibly hands on."
Students have come to know Jackson’s email updates, informing students of everything from school cancellations to tragedies.
"[Jackson has been] a model of integrity, a voice of solace in times of campus tragedy, a principled leader, a mentor to hundreds of students and staff members," Lambert said. "He will go down in Elon history as one of our most important leaders of all time."
Provost Steven House will be forming a search committee to replace Jackson in the coming weeks. cq-jb