April 2014

St. Aug gets new leader


RALEIGH, April 7, 2014 — Rodney Gaddy, chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Augustine’s University, announced today that the board had decided on a “change in leadership” for the university. Gaddy told a throng of media, students, staff and faculty gathered in Prezell Robinson Library that the decision had come April 4 “after much deliberation and debate.”

He said Dr. Ronald Brown, currently the vice president of strategic initiatives, will become acting leader of the university, but said Dr. Brown’s tenure would likely be short while the board conducted a search for an interim president to replace Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber.

Gaddy’s announcement comes after a number of reports in local media about financial challenges being faced by the university, departures of top leaders at the university, an inquiry about the university’s accreditation status and other matters. Gaddy did not give specific reasons for the board’s decision. Asked by a reporter for the reasons, he said the decision had evolved during board meetings over the past several months.

“When we looked at all the challenges that we have financially and we looked at all the accreditation questions that were coming up, we decided that, in the future, a change in leadership would be very important,” Gaddy said.

To hear audio from the press conference, click below:

Text of Gaddy’s statement:

“On behalf of all of the Board of Trustees, I’d like to thank you for your attendance today and I want to take a few minutes to talk about the future of St. Augustine’s University. Although we’ve had many challenges – many of which you have written about and written about — I’m very confident that St. Augustine’s University has been, is and will continue to be an outstanding institution of higher learning.

“On Friday April 4 – last Friday – the Board of Trustees met and, after much deliberation and much debate, we have decided to make a change in leadership. Effective immediately, Dr. Suber will no longer hold the office of president of St. Augustine’s University.

“The Board of Trustees did not take this decision lightly and we also decided on a plan to ensure a smooth transition of presidential responsibilities. The day-to-day operations of the university will be led by acting executive director Dr. Ronald Brown, who is currently the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. This is probably for two weeks until we can name an interim president.

“The board is excited about the future for St. Augustine’s and really this is a time for new beginnings for us and for exciting possibilities. St. Augustine’s is a stable institution and will continue to be an institution of academic integrity. We have a very committed faculty and staff as well as some of the best students and alumni in the nation. Now is not the time for us to look backward but rather the Board of Trustees, the faculty, the alumni the family and friends of St. Augustine’s must focus on what’s ahead. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us but the Board of Trustees and I personally are confident that, by working together, we can be successful and have a stronger St. Augustine’s.”