by Moxye Staff
A South Jersey woman has been named the first female president at Tuskegee University.
The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Lily D. McNair to become Tuskegee’s eighth president, the first female to take the post in the school’s 136-year history.
McNair, a native of Browns Mills, is currently provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Wagner College in New York and begins her duties at Tuskegee on July 1, a news release from the school said.
“When we launched our presidential search last October, our goal was to identify someone who could champion both Tuskegee’s historic legacy and her place in the future of higher education,” John E. Page, chair of Tuskegee’s Board of Trustees, said in the release.
“Our Board of Trustees is confident that Dr. McNair brings to Tuskegee the precise skill set required to ensure we continue thriving as one of the nation’s leading HBCUs,” Page said, referring to Tuskegee’s status among historically black colleges and universities.
The Pemberton High School graduate earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Princeton University in 1979, and master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Since 2011, McNair has served as the second-ranking executive of Wagner College — a private college of 2,200 students located on New York City’s Staten Island. A clinical psychologist by training, McNair’s higher education career includes other academic, research and executive appointments at Spelman College, University of Georgia, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and Vassar College.
She will succeed interim president Charlotte P. Morris, whose tenure with the university included two terms as interim president — the most recent began on July 1, 2017.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected to serve as the eighth president of Tuskegee University,” McNair said in a statement. “The historic contributions of the university’s students, faculty and alumni are well known and valued throughout the nation. I very much look forward to building on the legacy of my predecessors so that Tuskegee University will ascend to even greater heights in the years to come.”
Her selection came after a six-month national presidential search that began on Oct. 18, 2017.
The Presidential Search Committee — in partnership with the search firm Isaacson, Miller — conducted listening sessions with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
More than 150 prospective candidates were evaluated and the field was narrowed to a small group who were interviewed in person, the release said.
Booker T. Washington, who led the institution from 1881 to 1915, was the first president of Tuskegee University.
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