Individuals that define a visionary president are those who are cited for being committed to diversity, engagement with local communities, and committed to equality in opportunity. Mentioned are a few of those visionary leaders who are demonstrating a vision for the future of HBCUs.

Swiftly approaching her full first year as a Historically Black University president, Jerald Jones Woolfolk, 20th President of Lincoln University of Missouri, is at the forefront of continuing the mission of leading LU as a 21st Century HBCU.

Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk, Ph.D., 20th President of Lincoln University – Missouri. Photo Credit: Jefferson City Magazine.

With a work experience of 34 years, and 15 of those years serving in senior level administration positions, President Woolfolk has served at several HBCUs prior too Lincoln. Her presidency will mark one year as of June 1, 2019. The Jackson State University alumna is passionate about the logistics of graduating students within four years of their colligate studies

Featured in the Jefferson City Magazine, Woolfolk stated; “I know the value of an education and how it changes lives and patterns of living. As a native of the Mississippi Delta, one of the most impoverished areas of the country, education was my path to a better life. My parents instilled in my siblings and me from a very early age that we were going to college, and we did.”

Woolfolk’s goal is to strengthen the relationship between Jefferson City and Lincoln University. She wants the community to know that Lincoln University is a partner in the future growth and development of Jefferson City. She currently serves on the Board of Director for United Way of Central Missouri.

Sworn in as the tenth president of Morris College on April 12, 2019, Dr. Leroy Staggers is also a first-time college president. For sixteen years, he served as Academic Dean and Professor of English.

The Voorhees College alumnus has served as the academic dean at Morris College for 16 years. Staggers hopes to work diligently to keep students front and center, in all his decision made. He also plans to build onto the great achievement of past president Dr. Luns C. Richardson, who served the college for 43 years. He died in 2018 at the age of 89.

Before joining the Morris College family in August of 1993, Staggers served as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of English and Director of Faculty Development at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina. He has also worked as his alma mater as Chairman of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English. Also, Staggers served as Instructor of English and Reading at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.

Dr. Leroy Staggers pictured with students of Morris College.

Credited for her leadership with leading the institution to an increase in enrollment, improvements with tuition cost, and grant growth. Dr. Karrie G. Dixon took the helm as interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) on April 9, 2018.

Dixon, who co-chaired ECSU’s Working Group Phase 2: A New Direction, since October 2017, was appointed by University of North Carolina System Past President, Margaret Spellings. Prior to joining the UNC System, Dixon served a total of 10 years combined at two other UNC campuses. She was an assistance vice provost at North Carolina State University and remains and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the College of Education’s Department of Leadership, Policy, Adult and Higher Education. Dixon received her bachelor’s from NC State University.

Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.

Rebounding the institution from low enrollment and financial difficulties, after a year Dixon was named by UNC Board of Governors as Chancellor. On Friday, September 6, she will become the 7th chancellor installed and the second woman to hold the position.

ECSU is one of three UNC campuses that is a part of providing $500 tuition per semester in encouraging North Carolina high school graduates to further their education at their institution.

Named as ‘HBCU Male President of the Year’ on numerous occasions, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah exemplifies visionary onward. Serving as the 14th President of Virginia State University since February 1, 2016, Abdullah has proven VSU to its best values and continued growth for long-term success.

Under Abdullah’s leadership, the University had a 30 percent increase in fall 2016 enrollment. In 2017, the University’s first-time Freshmen increased nearly 50 percent than the number in 2015. Previously served as provost and senior vice president at Bethune-Cookman University, he has also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida Memorial University, and dean and director of 1890 land grant programs at FAMU.

An HBCU graduate himself, Abdullah received his undergraduate degree from Howard University in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He also is recognized as the youngest African American to earn a Ph.D. in engineering.

Quoted by him; “I believe in God. I believe in family. I believe in the transformative nature of education. I believe in Virginia State University.”

Dr. Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D.

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Every Monday, the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) will spotlight a Chancellor or President who currently serves a Historically Black College or University. This initiative recognizes and introduces those individuals who serve our nation HBCUs daily, changing and educating lives while producing the forthcoming visionary leaders of tomorrow.

This week’s Chancellor or President:  Dr. Leroy Staggers, Tenth President of Morris College

Dr. Leroy Staggers, Tenth President of Morris College, Sumter, South Carolina.

Dr. Leroy Staggers is the tenth President of Morris College and he has been a part of the Morris College family for twenty-five years.

For sixteen years he served as Academic Dean and Professor of English. The Academic Dean is a member of the Cabinet and is responsible for the supervision of all academic programs, all full time and part-time faculty members and all academic support instructional programs. Dr. Staggers has held other positions at the College to include Chairman of the former Division of Religion and Humanities (now combined with the Division of Social Sciences) and Director of Faculty Development. As Academic Dean, Dr. Staggers worked very closely with the late President Luns C. Richardson on all aspects of Morris College’s on-going reaffirmation of accreditation efforts, including the Southern Associations of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

In addition to serving in several administrative positions at Morris College, Dr. Staggers has remained committed to teaching in his role as Professor English. Frequently, he teaches English courses and enjoys working directly with students in the classroom and directly contributing to their intellectual growth and development. Dr. Staggers joined the Morris College family in 1993 as an Associate Professor of English.

Before joining the Morris College family in August of 1993, Dr. Staggers served as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of English and Director of Faculty Development at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina. Additional higher education administrative and teaching appointments included serving as Chairman of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. Also, Dr. Staggers served as instructor of English and Reading at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.

Dr. Staggers was born in Kingstree, South Carolina and grew in Salters, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Vorhees College and earn both doctorate and master’s degrees from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, he completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management (IEM) Program. The Harvard University IEM Program “addresses the critical stewardship role played by senior-level leaders at their institutions and provides a core set of conceptual tools for understanding both the quantitative and qualitative aspect of effective institutional leadership.”

He is a member of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church (JMBC) in Sumter, South Carolina where Rev. Marion Newton is Pastor. He served for 5 years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the JMBC Christian and Academic School. Dr. Straggers’ favorite Scripture for constant meditation is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

About Morris College

Morris College was founded in 1908 by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina to provide educational opportunities for Negro students in response to the historical denial of access to the existing educational system. Today, under the continued ownership of its founding body, the College opens its doors to a culturally and geographically diverse student body, typically from the Southeast and Northeast regions. Morris College is an accredited, four-year, coeducational, residential, liberal arts and career-focused institution awarding baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences and in career-based professional fields. For more information, visit www.morris.edu.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund

HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a non-profit advocacy organization which is mission to supporting the significance and campaign in raising funds for scholarships and services at historically black colleges and universities and predominately black institutions. HCF advocates for students, alumni, HBCU and PB institutions. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

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SUMTER, SC – Morris College will celebrate the inauguration of its 10th President, Dr. Leroy Staggers and all are welcome to attend. The investiture ceremony will be held Friday, April 12 at 11 a.m. in the Neal-Jones Auditorium. Following the ceremony, a luncheon will be held at 1 p.m. in the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center.

Several notable individuals will be present during the event. Sumter Mayor the Honorable Joseph T. McElveen, Jr. South Carolina Senate District 25 the Honorable J. Thomas McElveen, III, Sumter County Chairman the Honorable James T. McClain and Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale will bring greetings followed by faculty and staff, alumni, and the Student Government Association President.

The Presidential Charge will be given by President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund Dr. Michael Lomax.

According to a press release by the University, by unanimous decision, the Morris College Board of Trustees named Dr. Leroy Staggers, President-Elect until July 1, 2018. The board of trustees identified a Presidential Search Committee and initiated search for a permanent president in May of 2017 following the late Dr. Luns D. Richardson’s retirement after 43 years of devoted leadership Dr. Leroy Staggers served as interim President from July 1, 2017, to present.

Joining the Morris College family in 1993, Dr. Staggers, whose passion for students’ intellectual growth, has provided dedicated service to Morris College for roughly 24 years. Most recently, he has served 16 years as the institution’s Academic Dean. As Academic Dean, Dr. Staggers was responsible for the supervision of all academic programs, all full-time and part-time faculty members as well as all academic support instructional programs. He worked very closely with Dr. Richardson on all aspects of Morris College’s reaffirmation of accreditation efforts.

Before joining the Morris College family, he served as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of English, and Director of Faculty Development for Barber-Scotia College in Concord, NC. Additionally, he has served as instructor of English and Reading at Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL., and chairman of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English at Voorhees College in Denmark, SC.

This event is expected to reach capacity in the Neal-Jones Auditorium. There will be an overflow viewing area with a Livestream in the O.R. Reuben Chapel and Religious Center. You can follow the inauguration ceremony online by using the following hashtags: #MorrisInauguration #MOCOInauguration #MOCO10thPresident. A link to the live stream will be available soon.

Follow the inauguration on social media using the following hashtags:

#MorrisInauguration

#MOCOInauguration

#MOCO10thPresident

For more information about the inauguration Dr. Leroy Staggers, visit www.morris.edu/investiture.#

About Morris College

Established in 1908, Morris College is a historically black, co-educational, liberal arts college, operated by the South Carolina Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention. Located in Sumter, S.C. Morris’ mission is to provide students with the intellect and personal development needed to enhance their lives while preparing students for the path in which they choose to pursue.

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