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.

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For more information about the inauguration Dr. Leroy Staggers, visit

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.


Dr. Jarrus Hardrick earned the permanent post after serving as interim president since July 2018.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FMU’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Jaffus Hardrick as its 14th president, effective immediately. The Board originally tapped Hardrick to serve as interim president in July 2018. During the institution’s annual Founders’ Day observance, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert, III boldly declared, “Something is happening at Florida Memorial University. There is new energy and it is exciting.”

The same sentiments have been shared by many key leaders throughout South Florida and the country. Many have expressed support for and have endorsed Hardrick as the right leader for FMU.

“Dr. Hardrick is an ambitious and visionary leader who has demonstrated a commitment to student success and academic excellence throughout his career,” said Attorney JoLinda Herring, chair of FMU’s Board of Trustees. “He brings a wealth of experience and we want to continue the momentum. It is truly a new day at FMU.”

According to a press release by the University, an award-winning academic executive, Hardrick comes to South Florida’s only historically black university with more than twenty years of experience in higher education. He worked for more than ten years at Florida International University (FIU) where he served as vice provost for Access and Success and vice president of Human Resources. Under Hardick’s leadership, FIU earned national recognition from Forbes, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other organizations. Prior to FMU, he worked at Baylor University for twelve years serving as assistant provost for Academic Affairs and vice president of Human Resources.

“I thank God for the opportunity to serve and lead FMU to the next level of academic excellence and national prominence. Under my leadership, FMU will be fully integrated into the greater community and focus on preparing students to compete in the global marketplace, transition to rigorous graduate and professional schools, or develop their own enterprises,” said President Hardrick. “Our five strategic principles will help us continue to transform ourselves and our community.”

“A healthy and prosperous FMU is good for our diverse student body and great for this community. We cannot do this work alone. I am inviting the entire community to support our students and help us close the resource gaps that create barriers to graduation.”

Since assuming the role as FMU’s interim president, the Hardrick Administration has accomplished the following, among other things, which has made a difference:

  • Expanded donor pool and raised more than $1.7 million in less than a year;
  • Hosted 50th anniversary gala celebrating FMU’s five decades in South Florida;
  • Secured a partnership with CareerSource South Florida to established a career services center;
  • Expanded micro-credential and vocational opportunities;
  • Approved the development of two healthcare-oriented degree programs;
  • Strengthened FMU’s Division of Academic Affairs and the university’s student engagement infrastructure; and
  • Expanded student internship opportunities with various city and federal agencies.

Hardrick is an HBCU alumnus, earning his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; a master’s in Education in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University; and a doctorate in Educational Administration from Baylor University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a board member of the Florida Education Fund, Inc., and is an active participant in several other organizations. His scholarship has been published in the Association of Public and Land-Grant University, Association of American Colleges and Universities. He is also co-author of Making Global learning Universal: Promoting Inclusion and Success for All Students (Stylus).



Located in the City of Miami Gardens, Florida Memorial University is a private, historically black institution that offers 28 undergraduate degree programs and four graduate degree programs to a culturally diverse student body. Since its inception in 1879, the University has upheld a commitment to provide an academic education solid foundation built upon the pillars of leadership, character, and service. As South Florida’s only Historically Black College or University (HBCU), it is widely recognized as the birthplace of the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. For more information, visit