Bill Smith named vice president for communication at Luther College
DECORAH, IOWA—President Jenifer K. Ward has announced the appointment of Bill Smith as vice president for communication, beginning Oct. 16.
Smith comes to the college from Arkansas State University, where he has served since 2013, most
recently as chief communications officer. At Luther, Smith will serve as the head of the newly constituted Division of Communication, encompassing the offices of marketing and communications as well as campus programming.
“I am excited to welcome Bill Smith to Luther. His academic training, deep communication and marketing experience and proven success in leadership in a breadth of institutional contexts, and his affinity for Luther, all bode well for a great next chapter in our story,” said President Jenifer K. Ward.
“I’d like to thank President Ward and the search committee for the opportunity to become a part of the leadership team of Luther College,” said Smith. “I’m excited to join the staff of one of America’s top liberal arts colleges, and one with such a storied past and vibrant future. I’m looking forward to communicating and promoting the great strengths of Luther to the community, the region and the world.”
Smith is a historian as well as a communications expert. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Arkansas, as well as an M.A. in history and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He has taught history at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. For the regional National Public Radio affiliate in Northwest Arkansas, he created and co-hosted a monthly “We’re History” radio program reflecting on the use of history in popular culture. His scholarly areas of expertise are U.S. diplomatic and military history as well as 20th-century U.S. and European history.
At Arkansas State University, Smith led external and internal communications efforts. He initiated a visual branding program, served as primary university spokesperson and managed crisis communications. For his work in university communications, he has won multiple regional awards from the Council for the Support and Advancement of Education (CASE).
As a crisis communications expert, he holds certifications in public information and the incident command system from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He achieved the National Weather Service’s StormReady Campus certification for Arkansas State in 2017 and 2022.
Smith is very involved in his community, having served in multiple volunteer roles for the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas. An avid cyclist, he holds a certification as a safety course instructor from the League of American Bicyclists, and he has served as board president of the Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition. His cycling interests brought him to Iowa in 2018 to complete RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa).
Bill and Vickie Smith will be joining the Decorah community together. “Vickie and I are very excited about coming to Decorah and experiencing all the great things to do in northeast Iowa,” Bill said.
About Luther College
At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Luther’s academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.