The Alumni Times - N.C. A&T State University Alumni Newsletter
Dr. Everett B. Ward, Ph.D. ’14

A Leader Rises to the Next Level

When St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh was searching for a new president, it could hardly have a found a leader with stronger ties to the school than Dr. Everett B. Ward, Ph.D. ’14. He’s not only a second-generation alumnus, he was actually born on campus.

St. Augustine’s was the home of St. Agnes Hospital from 1896 to 1961. Ward was born there, and, like his father before him, he’s been a St. Augustine’s man ever since. Last month, he was named president of the university.

“St. Augustine’s is a part of my entire being,” he says. “Because I am a graduate, because I’ve had a long family affiliation with the institution, there was no learning curve for me when it comes to understanding the historical significance of St. Augustine’s as well as the contributions that it has made as an institution to the state, to the nation and indeed the world over an extended period of time. I think that’s been a very strong asset to me coming into this role as president.”

Another asset is his doctoral degree from N.C. A&T. Throughout his career he had been interested in studying for a Ph.D., and A&T’s leadership studies program was a natural fit. He calls it “academic training to take you to the next level.”

“I found it to be extremely beneficial. It was a wonderful program,” he says. “I highly recommend it. It is designed for those executives who are really focused and have a clear roadmap with regard to their own personal intellectual development.”

When he was named interim president of St. Augustine’s in April 2014, he hadn’t been a faculty member or university administrator, but he had been deeply involved with higher education as director of programs for historically black colleges and universities with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“In that capacity I worked with university officials for a number of years on curricular development, research projects, as well as working with students at historically black colleges and helping them find career opportunities in the transportation industry,” he says. “I administered several programs that were funded by the federal highway administration for such areas as aviation and aviation science programs, as well as an internship program.”

The combination of his personal and professional background enabled him to get a fast start. Ward’s plan for his first 100 days as interim president created momentum that has continued since he was named president. It focuses on financial stability; strengthening the faith of students, employees and alumni in the viability of the institution; and engaging community and corporate supporters.

“Certainly, like most institutions, we’re currently faced with challenges,” he says. “With regard to those three specific objectives, I think we’re continuing to move forward.

“We have moved to strengthen our relationship with our alumni and external stakeholders. We are working diligently to strengthen our relationship with faculty, staff and students, and that certainly is moving in the right direction. We reinstituted the faculty senate, and we’ll be putting a staff senate in place to increase shared governance, so we’re very encouraged by that. We’ve just unveiled recently a fund-raising plan that was introduced to alumni during reunion weekend.

“I think we’re in a very good position. The objectives are clear, we’ve got our roadmap laid out and now it’s a matter of implementing that.”

Shared governance – a management structure that gives faculty a major role in the institution’s decision-making process – has been the historic model for universities. But it isn’t always a high priority for university presidents recruited from government or business.

“That’s the work style and leadership style that I’ve had over my years of service,” he says. “I’ve found it extremely beneficial, so I am very much a proponent of shared governance.

“I know that at the end of the day, we have to make those decisions out of the president’s office that are in the best interests of the university. But I think you arrive at those decisions when you have everyone at the table to share their opinions so that we can come up with a collective strategy to achieve our desired outcome.”

Ward earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Augustine’s in English and communications and went to North Carolina State University for a master’s in liberal studies with a concentration in public administration and African American history.

His diverse educational background and experience with HBCU’s have given Ward a clear idea of the future of historically black institutions.

“I think there continues to be a strong role for historically black colleges and universities in American society to produce that next generation of scholars and future generations,” he says.

“When you’re in a state, for example, where only 27 percent of your African American population has a college education, it says that there’s a dire need and continues to be a need for schools like St. Augustine’s and others that have over 50 percent African American student populations to continue to produce those scholars and those leaders who will make a tremendous difference in American society and, indeed, the world.”

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