A. D. Smith

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Albert Durant Smith (born June 30, 1854 in Cobb County, Georgia; died May 13, 1943 in Birmingham) was the ninth President of Howard College, serving from 1896 to 1897.

Smith joined the faculty in 1881 and was a professor of mathematics when Howard moved from Marion to East Lake in 1887. He also acted as business agent for the college, and commanded its corps of cadets.

In the Summer of 1896, just as the institution's mortgage was facing imminent foreclosure, he was appointed "chairman of the faculty and manager of the college." He solicited a loan guarantee from banker Burghard Steiner to extend the school's credit, which allowed time for a fund-raising campaign and "special collections" at the state's Baptist churches which gave the institution a sounder financial foundation. He also negotiated an end to a property dispute with the East Lake Land Company over parcels adjoining the campus and was able to resume capital improvements such as the laying of sidewalks and renovations to some of the temporary buildings.

Smith maintained strict, military-style discipline among students, permitting visits to downtown Birmingham only for four hours on Saturday mornings. Citing lack of facilities for coeducational study, Smith ended the short-lived practice of admitting female students. Eugenia Weatherly was allowed to complete her degree in 1898. By then, Smith had resigned from the presidency to enter into private business.

He and T. A. DeLand compiled the 1888 book Northern Alabama: Historical and Biographical and served as secretary of the board of the East Lake Atheneum at its founding in 1890.

Smith and his wife, the former Mary Ann Mell, had three children: Mell, Albert Lee, and Patrick.

Smith died in 1943 and is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.

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