The President's Office

The President's Office provides leadership, vision, and support to make Southern Adventist University an exceptional place of spiritual and academic growth for students as well as a safe place for parents to entrust their children, a great place for employees to work, an alma mater for alumni to be proud of, an institution of distinction for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and ultimately, a place of opportunity to connect all on campus with mission, service, and their calling. 


About David Smith, PhD

David Smith took office as the 26th president of Southern Adventist University on June 1, 2016. Prior to that, he worked as professor and chair in Southern’s English Department from 1981 to 1998 before leaving to become president of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Smith served there for 13 years and returned to Tennessee in 2011 as senior pastor for the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.

Smith's initial goals for Southern are to increase enrollment, find ways to make a Southern education more affordable, and reduce student debt. He also wants to give students increased leadership opportunities, enhance the spiritual life for students and faculty, and further build Southern’s presence in the community.

Smith holds a doctorate in English from the University of Tennessee, while both his master’s degree in English and bachelor’s degree in History were awarded by Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He is married to Cherie Smith, a pastor at the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, and has two daughters. His wife and children are all Southern graduates.