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President's Biography

Meet Harris-Stowe State University's Interim President, Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, Ed.D.

Image of Dr. Latonia Collins Smith, President of Harris-Stowe State University

Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, currently Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will serve as Interim President, effective June 1, 2021. Collins Smith has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience with an extensive background in administration and program development. She began her career in higher education at Harris-Stowe State University in 2010 as a project coordinator in the Office of Counseling Services. She has also served the institution as associate provost, assistant provost and as executive director of the Center for Career Engagement.

Dr. Collins Smith is the co-principal investigator of a $5 million National Science Foundation grant to substantially strengthen STEM in the state of Missouri, the largest grant in the history of Harris-Stowe. She currently serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the nation’s largest regional accreditation body. She also served as the campus team lead for the following initiatives; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Re-Imagine First Year Project, the Strada Foundation Measuring College Value project, the Complete College America MSI Initiative, the Ascendium Project Success Initiative and the Gallup Alumni Survey Project.

Dr. Collins Smith serves as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Celebration Commission of Missouri and a member of the Downtown Advisory Board for Greater St. Louis, Inc. She served on both the Alumni Board of Directors and Alumni Foundation Board for the University of Central Missouri. She is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Dr. Collins Smith has received several leadership and service awards including the Equal Education Opportunity Group Pioneer Award, the NAACP Ben Hooks Community Leader award and the AKA Central Region’s Outstanding Educational Advancement Foundation Captain award. She is a 2019 Millennium Leadership Initiative Protégé, a St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow and a Higher Education Leadership Foundation Fellow.

Collins Smith earned an educational doctorate in higher education leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis. She holds a master of social work degree and a master of public health degree from Saint Louis University. She is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri, where she majored in social work.

Chair of the Board of Regents Ron Norwood commented that “Dr. Collins Smith has a proven record of outstanding leadership and will serve the University well.”

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