JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Tougaloo College hosted Academy Award-winning actor Will Smith at its campus on Tuesday, January 31 for “Will Smith Day.”

The Jackson college is preparing to launch a new film academy in Fall 2023. Tougaloo leaders said Smith’s visit inspired students within the School of Humanities and the Department of Mass Communication.

The actor spoke about filmmaking, film production and life lessons.

“Don’t let your successes go to your head and your failures go to your heart,” he said.

Smith’s visit was spearheaded by his “King Richard” co-star Aunjanue Ellis, who is an Academy Award nominee and a Tougaloo alumn.

President Carmen J. Walters, Ph.D., said, “Our students were able to interact with Mr. Smith in a private setting. Mr. Smith is the first of a number of producers who are assisting us with launching our new program in Film Making and Film Production!”