St. Aug's chooses alum to become interim president
Posted April 23, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Three weeks after losing two top leaders, the Board of Trustees at St. Augustine's University announced Wednesday that Everett B. Ward will become the school's interim president.
Ward, who earned a bachelor's of arts degree from St. Aug's in 1982, will likely be the interim president between 12 and 18 months, the school said. Board members said he would also be considered for the job of permanent president following his interim term.
In a letter posted on the university's website, Ward said he is honored to accept the responsibility.
"In the days ahead, I ask you to join the St. Augustine's family in addressing the financial challenges currently confronting our university," Ward wrote. "With your assistance and with the support of our community and our business partners, St. Augustine’s will once again be viewed as a premier institution of higher learning."
Ward will take over for Dianne Boardley Suber, who was fired by the school's board of trustees earlier this month. Suber's firing came after she fired Angela Haynes, the school's vice president of business and finance. Haynes was rehired after Suber was removed.
The university’s finances have been scrutinized within the past few months after the school lost $3 million in tuition revenue due to falling enrollment. A contractor filed a lien against the school over $675,000 owed for work on its football stadium, which remains unfinished, but the lien has been settled.
Federal investigators are looking into allegations that St. Aug's provided false information on a federal grant proposal, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the university, has also requested information regarding the school’s finances.
Ward said in his letter that he has three goals for the university:
- Strengthen St. Augustine's financial position
- Strengthen the faith that students and alumni have in the school
- Strengthen the faith that the community and business partners have in St. Augustine's
Ward was the chairman of the St. Aug's Board of Trustees from 2009-11.
Ward earned a doctorate degree in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University, and he was the first African-American executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. He also served as the co-chairman of the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Committee and vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee black caucus.