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Dr. James Smith stepping down as EMU president in 2026

EMU Board of Regents Chair Chad Newton (left) and EMU President Dr. James Smith speak at the June 20, 2024 EMU Board of Regents, where Smith announces his plans to step down after his contract expires.
Kevin Meerschaert
/
89.1 WEMU
EMU Board of Regents Chair Chad Newton (left) and EMU President Dr. James Smith speak at the June 20, 2024 EMU Board of Regents, where Smith announces his plans to step down after his contract expires.

Eastern Michigan University President Dr. James Smith says he will step down after his contract expires in two years. He is currently the longest tenured president of all public universities in the state.

Dr. Smith made the announcement at the end of Thursday’s EMU Board of Regents meeting saying he wanted to give the university plenty of time to find and install a new president.

Smith says he had always intended a ten-year run and then step aside. He says he’s very proud of his legacy.

“There’s some real points of pride that are the physical parts of campus, but I think the launching of the engineering program that’s turned into the GameAbove College of Engineering is really hard to not have at the top of the list.”

Board Chair Chad Newton praised Smith after he made his announcement, saying his leadership has guided EMU through many challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newton says he will consult with groups, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, to determine how the search for a new president will commence.

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News Reporter and Host Kevin Meerschaert was a student reporter at WEMU in the early 90s. After another 30 years in the public radio business and stops in Indiana, Maryland, Florida, and New Mexico, Kevin is back to where it all began.
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