The Four Candidates for Langston University President: Philip Birdine, Myron Pope, Kent Smith & Charles Williams. (Brian Vadakin)

For Langston University, the search has been narrowed down to four viable men looking to become their next university president. Former Langston University president, JoAnn Haysbert resigned after six years of service and went to Hampton University to serve as executive vice president. Haysbert was the first female president of Langston, and now that leaves the next heir to the Langston with big shoes to fill.

The candidates for Langston University’s vacant university president position are as follows: Dr. Philip Birdine, Dr. Myron Pope, Dr. Kent Smith and Dr. Charles Williams. The ultimate decision will be made by the Board of Regent for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges on Jan. 20, but now is a good time to get to know the men who has a chance to become Langston University.

Dr. Kent Smith currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Ohio University. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Southern University before coming to Ohio University. Smith served as dean of students at Auburn University.

Smith’s skills as a businessman are well recognized. Smith currently oversees a $72 million budget as a member of the Budget Planning Council at Ohio University. Under Smith’s direction, Ohio University has raised $1 million of a $2 million in its goal to develop a stronger sense of philanthropy at the university.

Myron Pope is the current Vice President of Enrollment Management at the University of Central Oklahoma. Pope received a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in English, a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama, and a Doctor of Education degree all from the University of Alabama. In his cover letter sent to the university, Pope expressed how much he wanted to hear the Langston University students opinions on matters affecting the university.

A Langston graduate, Philip Birdine currently serves as the president of Western Oklahoma State College. He has more than 30 years of experience in education. Under his years as the president, he has helped increase enrollment and made tough decisions on financial obligations.

Charles Williams serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.Williams received a bachelor’s degree in history education and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was awarded a doctoral degree in counselor education with a minor in higher education administration from Iowa State University. Dr. Williams is associated with the United Way, United Arts Council, Foundation Health Systems, Winston-Salem/Forsyth schools, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Boy Scouts of America.

The position became available after former president, JoAnn Haysbert resigned after six years of service. Haysbert will return to Hampton University to serve as executive vice president. She has worked in different positions at Hampton for 25 years. Haysbert was the first female president of Langston.

In Haysbert’s absence, Henry Ponder is the interim president until the final decision is announced.