LANGSTON, OK — The Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges has appointed Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as interim president of Langston University, beginning July 6, 2023. Dr. Jackson will serve until a nationwide search for President Smith’s successor is completed and the University’s seventeenth president assumes office.
“We appreciate Dr. Jackson’s willingness to step forward to lead Langston University through this upcoming transition,” said Jarold Callahan, Chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “Her knowledge and dedication to Langston ensure we will maintain operational and program continuity. With capable interim leadership in place, we can devote our time and energies to conducting a comprehensive search to find the right person to lead this critical University moving forward.”
Dr. Jackson has been with the Langston University since 2014 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. She has held other leadership positions at the University including Associate Vice President for Student Success and Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
“Dr. Jackson has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience in higher education and an appreciation of Langston University’s role in the state, region, and nation,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., who announced plans to retire after 11 years as Langston University’s president. “I appreciate her willingness to serve and have full confidence in her ability to lead the University through this transition.”
Before joining Langston University, Dr. Jackson spent 11 years at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, where she served as tenured faculty, graduate program director, and department chair. Before transitioning to higher education, she spent over a decade in public education as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, and principal.
Dr. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Southern University and A&M College. She earned a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University.
“I appreciate the confidence of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents in asking me to serve Langston University during this transitional period,” said Jackson. “I look forward to collaborating with the campus community to ensure continuity and remain focused on our mission.”
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