71 // The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders
Smith Jackson PHOTO BY JUSTINE SCHULERUD
The Legacies of Elon’s Leaders // 72
MAN, MYTH AND LEGEND Sometimes all it takes is one look. Such is the case for Dr. Smith Jackson, the Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students. In 1992, while on Spring Break with his family, Jackson passed exit 140 on his way to the beach, with a sign pointing to little known Elon College. Something caught Jackson’s eye, as he stopped with his family, saw the campus and picked up admissions literature. When Jackson saw a position open up at Elon as Dean of Students, he knew exactly where he wanted to be. “This beautiful campus drew me in, and I knew it would be a great place to live and work,” Jackson said. Jackson has been the Dean of Students since his arrival in 1994 and the Vice President of Student Life since 1998. Jackson is responsible for all aspects of Student Life and its 15 departments, which includes overseeing Residence Life, Greek Life, Religious Life and many others. As an administrator in higher education for more than 30 years, Jackson prides himself on helping bridge the gap between administration and the student body. “By engaging students in the learning process, it develops a strong sense of community,” Jackson said. “As a university, we prepare students to lead meaningful lives.” As the chief student affairs ofﬁcer for the university, and
by serving on the president’s cabinet, Jackson does his best to look at university affairs from a student’s perspective. According to Jackson, executive decisions are made with students’ best interests in mind. “That’s something that really sets Elon apart – it’s truly a student-centered university that strives to keep giving back to the students.” As a university, Jackson is most proud of Elon’s continual commitment to a vibrant living and learning community. With its vision on the “total student,” Elon is continuing to make strides to make sure students enjoy their time at Elon, while at the same time ensuring the student is constantly learning academically and growing as a person. “Academic intellectual development is our top priority,” Jackson said. “However, it is important to remember that some of the best possible learning comes from outside of the classroom.” As a leader at the university, Jackson is excited about what the future of Elon holds and how the university will continue to educate students both in and out of the classroom. “You look around and Elon students are changing the world,” Jackson said. “It really speaks to our university as a whole and where we look to be in the future.”
Story By Jack Rodenfels
GET TO KNOW Smith Jackson Arrived at Elon in 1994 Stumbled upon Elon during Spring Break in 1992 Oversees Student Life and its 15 departments
71 // e Legacies of Elon’s Leaders PHOTO BY JUSTINE SCHULERUD Arrived at Elon in 1994 Stumbled upon Elon during Spring Break in 1992 Oversee...