LaTonia Collins Smith was appointed the twenty-first president of Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. She has been serving as interim president since last summer. Dr. Collins Smith is the first African American woman to serve as president of the university.
Harris-Stowe State University enrolls 1,400 students, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 84 percent of the student body at the historically Black university.
Before being named interim president, Dr. Collins Smith had been serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the university. 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 executive director of the Center for Career Engagement. Dr. Collins Smith served as 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.
Dr. Collins Smith is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri, where she majored in social work. She earned a master of social work degree and a master of public health degree from Saint Louis University and an educational doctorate in higher education leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis.