Nova Scotia

NSCAD president steps down

David B. Smith, president of NSCAD University, has announced he will step down at the end of the academic year.
David B. Smith has been president of NSCAD University since 2006. (CBC)

The president of NSCAD University has announced he will step down at the end of the academic year.

The reason for David B. Smith's resignation has not been released.

He's walking away from a $210,000 salary.

The 125-year-old Nova Scotia College of Art and Design —the oldest independent school in Canada granting fine arts degrees — is mired in financial problems.

Smith inherited a crippling debt amassed by a predecessor who opened an expensive Port campus.

The province covered the school's $2.4 million-deficit in December, but said NSCAD has until the end of March to present a sustainability plan.

Michael Donovan, chairman of NSCAD's board of directors, said he didn't think Smith's resignation had anything to do with the university's financial problems.

"He's been working very hard with the province to live within a plan that works within the fiscal constraints of the province," Donovan told CBC News. "We are very disappointed by his departure, but very please he agreed to stay on until at least the end of the academic year."

Smith has been president since 2006. He will stay on as a professor.

"It is very gratifying for me to know that I have had the opportunity to contribute to shaping the present and future of NSCAD," Smith said in a release. "Together we have faced many challenges over the years and this recent period has seen perhaps the greatest challenge to our institution."

The board will strike an ad hoc committee to select an interim president, the release said.