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Henry Louis Smith was the ninth president of Davidson College and the first president to not be an ordained Presbyterian minister.[1]

Henry Louis Smith
9th President of Davidson College
In office
Preceded byJohn Bunyan Shearer
Succeeded byWilliam Joseph Martin Jr.
Personal details
BornJuly 30, 1859
Greensboro, North Carolina
DiedFebruary 17, 1951
Greensboro, North Carolina
Alma materDavidson College

Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Smith graduated from Davidson in 1881 but returned as a professor of physics before becoming president in 1901. It was during his time as a professor that Smith and a group of students created one of the first x-ray images in America.[2]

During his administration, Smith led the construction of many infrastructure projects, including the establishment of the first electric light plant in town and the construction of several dormitories and academic buildings.[3]

Smith left Davidson in 1912 to become president of Washington and Lee University[4] and in 1929 would eventually retire in Greensboro, North Carolina.[5]


  1. ^ "Trail to the Chiefs: Tour Highlights Presidential Portraits". Davidson College. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  2. ^ "Almanac: The first American X-ray". Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  3. ^ "Smith, Henry Louis". Davidson College. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  4. ^ "Smith, Henry Louis – Davidson College Archives & Special Collections". Retrieved 2017-07-11.
  5. ^ "Smith, Henry Louis | NCpedia". Retrieved 2017-07-11.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
John Bunyan Shearer
President of Davidson College
Succeeded by
William Joseph Martin Jr.