TALLADEGA COLLEGETalladega College announced that its president and chief executive officer, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, will retire effective June 30, 2022. When Dr. Hawkins took the helm at Talladega in 2008, the institution was struggling to survive and had under 300 students.

Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, president of Talladega College.

He implemented rigorous plans for renovation and growth that resulted in a total transformation of the college. He had one of Talladega’s most prized possessions, Hall Woodruff’s acclaimed Amistad Murals, removed from the walls of Savery Library, where they had hung for almost 70 years, and appraised. They were valued at $40 millions, but in danger of disintegrating. With the assistance of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the murals were restored and sent on a three-year, eight city tour. The value of this historic collection soared to $50 million.

As a result of Dr. Hawkin’s vision, enrollment doubled to 601 students in one semester. He stabilized finances; increased fundraising; restarted athletics; reopened historic Swayne Hall; expanded academic offerings; restarted athletic programs; beautified the campus; initiated a robust building campaign; and successfully guided the institution through SACSCOC accreditation in 2009 and 2019.

The college ha enjoyed record high enrollment increases every academic year since 2018, and all previous enrollment records were shattered during the 2020-2021 academic year, when enrollment soared at an all-time high of over 1300 students.

Between January 2019 and January 2020, the college held ribbon-cutting ceremonies for three new facilities – a new residence hall; the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the Amistad Murals; and the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center. To construct the museum for Woodruff’s murals, Dr. Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest-ever financial gift, a one million dollar donation from alumnus Dr. Williams R. Harvey. Dr. Hawkins also secured a 1.5 million dollar contribution from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the state of Alabama. The Talladega College Board of Trustees voted to name the new student center in honor of Dr. Hawkins in recognition of his many outstanding contributions to the institution.

Under Dr. Hawkins’s leadership, Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS); built an acclaimed 400 member marching band; took 23 students on all-expenses-paid tour of Japan via Kakehashi Project Study Tour; won at least 17 athletic championships; and celebrated the return of Hale Woodruff’s critically acclaimed Amistad Murals to the campus.

Talladega’s 2019 SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) accreditation was reaffirmed through 2029 with no recommendations for change in any of the standard reviewed and, for the first time ever, the college gained accreditation to teach at the master’s degree level.

As a result of the transformation he brought to Talladega, Dr. Hawkins has become widely known as “the turnaround expert.” He serves as chair of the 37 presidents of member institutions for the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) board of directors, and also serves as UNCF chair of the executive committee of member institutions, vice chair of the corporate board, and vice chair of the corporate board executive committee. He was appointed to the White House Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in September, 2018. In addition, he was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. Dr. Hawkins was the first African American to chair the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is the author of two books, and a member of the Talladega Rotary Club, the Delta Upsilon Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was ranked first place among the Top Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 by HBCU Campaign Fund.

About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabamaa’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the bet southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Rev. Dr. Edward L. Wheeler

ATLANTA, GA – The Interdenominational Theological Center’s President Rev. Dr. Edward L. Wheeler announced on April 26 that he is retiring from the role he’s held for the past four years. Wheeler made the announcement during a board of trustees’ executive meeting, on campus.

According to a press release from the University, Wheeler is the 10th person to serve in ITC’s top leadership role since its founding in 1958. Wheeler stated in his remarks to the board that he will be concluding his presidential position effective June 30, 2019, a position he has held since 2015.

The ITC board of trustees’ accepted the retirement letter with an expression of gratitude for Wheeler’s services.

“I have been blessed by mt time at ITC,” said Wheeler. My prayer is that new leadership will help ITC realize the unlimited potential. ITC’s liberating Africentric focus is needed now more than ever.”

Under Wheeler’s leadership, the institution has achieved several goals which include:

  • Probation with SACSCOC was removed, and its accreditation reaffirmed.
  • ITC received a $250,000 sustainability grant from the Lilly Endowment.
  • Enrollment has increased.
  • Curriculum revisions has been implemented.
  • Policies and procedures designed to increase institutional effectiveness have been put in place and;
  • admission standards have been raised.

“The tenure of Dr. Edward L. Wheeler at the ITC made a remarkable impact on the life of our community,” said Dr. Maisha Handy, ITC Provost. “He is a great mentor to many and a model of excellent leadership in theological education. He will be greatly missed even as we pray God’s blessing on his season of retirement.”

In addition to his tenure as President, Wheeler was an Adjunct Professor at ITC from 1977-1982 and was Dean of Morehouse School of Religion from 1982-1985.

“Transitions are essential part of life,” stated Wheeler. The world is changing, the church is changing, and theological education must be change to be relevant to the changes taking place all around us. I am confident the next generation of leadership for ITC will move the mission forward so that ITC will continue to prepare transformative leaders for an ever-changing world.”

ITC’s Board will spend the next two months identifying what the next President’s work will be. An interim will be appointed to assume the duties of the presidential office, and a search will be launched later this year.

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About the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC)

Established in 1958, The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) is a Christian Africentric ecumenical consortium of seminaries and a fellowship that educates students who commit to practicing justice and peace through a liberating and transforming spirituality to become leaders in the church, local and global communities. Its seminaries include the Morehouse School of Religion (Baptist); Gammon Theological Seminary (United Methodist); Turner Theological Seminary (African Methodist Episcopal); Phillips School of Theology (Christian Methodist Episcopal); and the Charles Harrison Mason Theological Seminary (Church of God and Christ). The Selma T. and Harry V. Richardson Ecumenical Fellowship provide theological training to students from various other faith traditions. Visit www.itc.edu for more information.

Dr. Everett B. Ward, president of Saint Augustine’s University, center.

RALEIGH, NC – Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) president Dr. Everett B. Ward announced this afternoon that he is retiring from the role he has held for the past five years. Dr. Ward made the announcement during a board of trustees’ executive session, on campus.

Dr. Ward, who became the 11th president and only 3rd Saint Augustine’s University alumnus to lead the university, said in his remarks to the board that he will be concluding his presidential position effective July 24, 2019, a position he has held since 2014.

“It’s now time for the Saint Augustine’s Renaissance to continue with a new chapter. I’m extremely grateful for the commitment exemplified by our students, staff, faculty and alumni. Together, along with friends of the university, we conquered significant challenges with our eyes on the prize.”

According to a press release by the University, Under Dr. Ward’s leadership, the University has achieved several goals. Most recently, the University was removed from probationary status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) Accreditation Agency in December. Along the way, donor supporter increased from $1 million in 2014, to $2.9 million in 2018.

SAU’s Student Body president Alston DeVega says he’s grateful for Dr. Ward’s vision and dedication to the University. “I’m immensely grateful to have Dr. Ward as we did,” said DeVega. “He brought life back to the University, while getting us off probation. Our institution will never see another leader with the same expertise and poise, as Dr. Ward’s had exemplified.”

The Raleigh native told the members of the board that he was also proud of the university’s effort in attracting some of the best and brightest young minds to the university.

“Given the accomplishment of these goals, now is the time for me to transition the leadership of Saint Augustine’s to the next President. We’re at a critical point in the history of our university and I know that now is the time to transition to an even more exciting chapter in the life of our institution.”

Dr. Ward said the future is bright for him personally and for the University.

“I look forward to continuing to lead St. Augustine’s through the period of transition. During this time, I will remain the No. 1 champion of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends throughout this period. Once I leave St. Augustine’s, I will remain involved in activities around higher education.”

About Saint Augustine’s University

Founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the mission of Saint Augustine’s University is to sustain a learning community in which students can prepare academically, socially and spiritually for leadership in a complex, diverse and rapidly changing world. For more information, visit www.st-aug.edu.

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