Dr. Martha A. Smith, president of Anne Arundel Community College from 1994 to 2012, was awarded the status of president emeritus by the college’s board of trustees at its Nov. 13 public meeting.
During her 18 years at the college, Smith touched the lives of thousands of county residents through her work as a visionary leader and as a driving force that made AACC one of the most respected and outstanding community colleges in the nation.
“It means a great deal to me, and I'm so thrilled,” she said. “For me, it symbolizes the extraordinary collaboration among all of the college's constituents and stakeholders.”
Smith instituted AACC’s first strategic planning process, which integrated planning, budgeting and assessment, and led the college to evolve from an institution that provides instruction to one that produces learning. Smith also made student success the centerpiece of the college’s strategic goals, and focused on achieving diversity and developing critical thinking skills as well.
“She led the college in truly making us the community’s college, promoting student success and meeting the needs of the community through shared governance,” said Dr. Dawn Lindsay, who succeeded Smith as the college’s president. “She created a dynamic workforce and high expectations that really set the foundation for what we’re doing now and plan to do in the future.”
Under Smith’s leadership, AACC saw unprecedented growth. During her tenure, the college’s annual credit and noncredit headcount grew from around 40,000 to 53,000, and the number of degree and certificate programs doubled. Over that same period, the Class of 2012 saw nearly double the number of students – close to 2,000 – graduate with a degree or certificate as the Class of 1996, when 1,030 students crossed the stage.
Smith also secured county and state funding for the construction and/or major renovation of 13 capital projects, changing the face of the Arnold campus and expanding the college’s presence in Arundel Mills and Glen Burnie. Besides partnering with the county and state, Smith initiated and expanded partnerships with the business community and with other higher education institutions as well.
To be eligible for president emeritus status, a candidate must have served at least 10 years as president and exhibited a record of excellence in leadership, professional growth and development, student success, and contributions to the college community deemed to have a lasting, positive impact on the institution. To be conferred, an award of emeritus status must be by unanimous vote of the board of trustees in public session.