Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail was officially inaugurated as the 13th president of Saint Augustine’s University on Thursday, April 28, in a ceremony at the Raleigh Marriott City Center Hotel.
The event opened with a procession of faculty and staff. At the event, a wide range of dignitaries took the stage to offer greetings and congratulations, including N.C. Congresswoman Alma Adams, Wake County Commissioner James West and Shaw University President Paulette Dillard.
Music was provided by Grammy award-winning singer Bebe Winans and the Saint Augustine’s University Chamber Singers. Faculty, staff and administrators from Saint Augustine’s attended the event, joined by Dr. McPhail’s family members from all over the country.
A dramatic tribute to Dr. McPhaiul was presented by a troupe from the university’s Theater Department, led by Dr. Kaye Evans, who heads that department as well as being dean of the School of Arts & Communications.
The event culminated with Dr. McPhail accepting symbols of her leadership from representatives of the Episcopal Church, taking her oath of office, and getting serenaded by her Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters.
The event was hosted by WTVD television news anchor Joel Brown. A reception followed.
In a video released before her inauguration, Dr. McPhail outlined her priorities and plans.
“We want to strengthen our short- and long-term sustainability initiatives such as enrollment, technology, facilities, academic programming and fiscal stewardship,” Dr. McPhail said “We look forward to enhancing the student experience and student engagement. We want to ensure student and employee’s well being. We are building a culture of caring, engagement, innovation and accountability, And, of course, we want to advance and strengthen SAU’s external image and brand.”
Among her plans, Dr. McPhail said she wants to “aggressive institutionalize efforts to increase external giving and strategic partnerships” and “empower faculty enrich current programs and create impactful graduate programs.”
She ended the video: “I am so proud to serve to serve as the 13th president of Saint Augustine’s University and delighted that we are reimagining Saint Augustine’s University together. Falcon Pride!”
A lot of improvements already have taken place on campus since she took office in February of 2021. The most noticeable is the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. center.
Jaidan Davis, a freshman sociology major, is pleased with what she has seen. “I feel like she’s getting a lot done,” Davis said. “I feel like I’ve seen change since I’ve been here.”
Prior to joining Saint Augustine’s, Dr. McPhail served as president and CEO of the McPhail Group, LLC and was a nationally recognized thought leader in higher education. She is the founding professor and director of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University.
Dr. McPhail is the former president of Cypress College in California. She also recently served as a professor of practice at Kansas State University in the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership Development.
This article is based on information from the Office of Marketing and Communications and reporting by Shappelle Marshall of the Falcon Forum.