Stewart Smith served as an influential leader during his 22-year administration as President at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Marshall entered a period of stability and growth during Smith’s term from 1946 to 1968. In 1949 Smith appointed a separate dean for the graduate school allowing campus programs and building projects to flourish. Enrolment increased to 8,177 by 1968 with the addition of a dining hall (1946), a new science building (1950), dormitories (1958, 1962, 1967), gymnasium (1961), library remodeling and addition (1967), and an academic building (1968). Marshall’s greatest achievement came on March 2, 1961 when legislation granted the school university status.
The Smith Academic Center consisting of Smith Hall, the Smith Music Hall, the Communications Building and the Birke Art Gallery was completed between 1967 and 1970. It was named for former university president Stewart H. Smith and is the largest classroom building on campus.