“My ‘why’ is to level the playing field in West Virginia and in Appalachia, and to invest in those who have invested in me. I see Marshall University and the education that it offers as the great equalizer.”
– Brad D. Smith
Brad D. Smith
West Virginia native Brad D. Smith was elected to the role of Marshall University President by unanimous decision in October 2021, and officially stepped into the role in January 2022. Since assuming his presidency, Brad has leaned into his corporate experience as a Silicon Valley CEO, driving the university forward to best serve its students’ education and futures. From generating interest among prospective students to preparing current students for the world outside of Marshall, Brad has begun paving new paths for student success by tailoring students’ experiences, extending Metro tuition and encouraging design-thinking training. All of Brad’s work is inspired by his long-held mission to uplift West Virginia’s people and economy. As Marshall’s president, Brad believes in inspiring the future workforce now and providing opportunities for the next generation of leaders.
Brad D. Smith was installed as the 38th President of Marshall University at an outdoor ceremony on September 16, 2022. Watch the ceremony below.
Brad’s History with Marshall
Brad’s dedication to serving Marshall University was fostered well before his presidency, beginning first with his graduating from the university with his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1986.
As a proud son of Marshall, Brad has remained connected to his alma mater through the years by giving his time and financial support. In 2015, he and his wife, Marshall First Lady Alys Smith, donated $10 million dollars to establish a scholarship fund aimed at assisting students residing in underserved communities. The pair have a great belief and understanding in the power of education and wanted to do their part to boost first-generation college students in their educational pursuits.
Later, Brad and Alys donated an additional $25 million to Marshall’s schools of business – launching the Brad D. Smith Student Incubator.
Brad and Alys were both honored for their devotion to Marshall at the 83rd Alumni Awards Banquet in April 2022. Brad was bestowed with Marshall’s Distinguished Alumnus award, while Alys was the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Marshall University award.
About Brad’s Life
As a self proclaimed “boy from Kenova,” Brad D. Smith’s commitment to his home state runs deep. In recent years, his sole focus has been helping to facilitate change in West Virginia by developing, supporting and investing in people. He is passionate about providing educational and economic development resources to the Appalachian region, where many communities have been disproportionately affected by technological and economic change.
Prior to his presidency, Brad held executive leadership positions with various companies in Silicon Valley and is best known for his tenure at Intuit, where he served as CEO for 11 years before becoming Executive Chairman. Brad ultimately left the corporate world to put more of his time and attention into his philanthropy — both supporting and creating organizations that align with his mission of bolstering his home state and its people. Brad has also held board memberships at a number of esteemed organizations. He currently serves on the Amazon Board of Directors, the Humana Inc Board of Directors and is a Board Advisor for DignifiHealth.
Brad’s Wing 2 Wing Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife Alys, provides increased access and support for education, entrepreneurship mentoring and investment, and works to position West Virginia “as a showcase for the nation.” One of the foundation’s signature initiatives is Ascend West Virginia, the nation’s premier remote workforce recruitment program.
Alys Smith is a successful mediator and trial attorney who received her B.S. from The Ohio State University and her J.D. from The University of Akron School of Law. She sits on the board of the New Opportunity School for Women in Kentucky and is also the founder of Better2Mediate, a mediation service offering people a litigation-free solution to conflict resolution.
As mentioned above, Alys has helped lead positive change in West Virginia through the Wing 2 Wing Foundation and Ascend WV. The Smiths also bestowed a generous gift to West Virginia University in 2020 to create the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC) which further supports the environmental, educational and economic development of West Virginia.
With a goal to empower women in Appalachia and beyond, Alys uses her role as First Lady of Marshall to advocate for women’s equality and help them realize their fullest potential. Alys is also founder of the Women Warriors Summit, which aims to empower women to break barriers and have courageous conversations in all aspects of life.
Get to Know Brad
Brad D. Smith assumed the role of Marshall University President in January 2022. He was officially installed during an investiture ceremony later that year in September.
Brad D. Smith was born and raised in Kenova, West Virginia. Brad’s hometown sits on the border of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, and has a population of approximately 3,100 people. Honoring “the house that built him,” Brad has continuously given back to the community and his home state.
Brad D. Smith served as an executive leader for various organizations in Silicon Valley. His corporate tenure includes CEO and Executive Chairman for Intuit and numerous board memberships with prominent companies such as Yahoo, Nordstrom and Momentive (formerly Survey Monkey.)
Marshall University is the oldest university in West Virginia. As Marshall President, Brad is working to both preserve and build off of this treasured legacy to continue providing students with an unrivaled college experience that primes them for successful futures.
Brad D. Smith graduated from Marshall in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Since graduating, Brad has supported the university by donating time, resources and funds as a friend of Marshall.
Brad is married to Alys Smith, a mediator and trial attorney, who now serves as Marshall’s First Lady. Brad and Alys have worked tirelessly to support their respective home states of West Virginia and Ohio by supporting initiatives focused on three pillars: education, entrepreneurship and environmental conservation.
Marshall University Governance
Shared governance is a systematized structure of transparent decision-making that reflects shared interests and shared responsibility of all constituency groups.
Constituency groups – which include, but are not limited to, faculty, students, staff, the Board of Governors, and Administration – have assured, protected opportunities to influence decisions regarding the operation and direction of Marshall University and established organizational means by which they carry these out.
– Marshall University Shared Governance Ad Hoc Committee
Marshall University Updates and Initiatives
“The time to act is now. Change can happen to us, change can happen through us…Marshall is prepared to lead the way. We have been busy working across the campus to chart the course for the next chapter of great for Marshall University and play our part in the state of West Virginia…Marshall for all, Marshall forever.”
– Brad D. Smith on the future of Marshall from his Presidential Investiture speech