Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail succeeds husband as president of Saint Augustine’s University

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Saint Augustine’s University has named a new president following the Oct. 2020 death of former University head Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail.

Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, wife of Irving McPhail will take over as SAU’s 13th president effective Feb. 24, the University’s Board of Trustees announced Tuesday.

“We are excited and fortunate to have an innovative, proven credential leader of Dr. Christine McPhail’s stature to lead St. Augustine’s University to the next level of excellence as we reimagine a new model of the HBCU of the future,” said Retired Honorable Justice James E. Perry, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Currently serving as the President and CEO of the McPhail Group, LLC, Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail is a nationally recognized, well-respected thought leader in higher education in her own right. Dr. McPhail also currently serves as Professor of Practice at the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership at Kansas State University. She is the Founding Professor and Director of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University. Under McPhail’s leadership, Morgan State University received R1 Carnegie classification, indicating that the program awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees during the update year.

“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected by the Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees to serve as its next president,” said Dr. McPhail. “I am committed to the success of this University and each of its students. I also feel a responsibility to carry on my late husband’s work to establish the University as a 21st Century, learning-centered institution while at the same time leaning on several decades of experience in higher education leadership and strong partnerships with the SAU community to move us forward.”

St. Augustine’s University photo

Prior to her role at Morgan State University, she served as President of Cypress College in California. She is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics International, an organizational development company that uses psychometric research and behavioral studies to advise and consult with businesses and individuals on how to assess human capital.

After several decades in higher education, Dr. McPhail served as a leadership coach with Achieving the Dream from 2004 to 2018.

The organization’s mission was to help leaders shape the teaching and learning environment by engaging, aligning, and inspiring people to act.

She has developed proven coaching and consulting methodologies and leadership programs that are now used by numerous institutions to help their leaders drive results.

The SAU Presidential Search Committee, under the direction of Trustees Rodrick Miller and Marley Bollinger, was comprised of individuals from local government, the Raleigh business community, higher education experts including SAU deans and faculty, SAU alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees.

“After interviewing several potential candidates to carry on the work unfortunately cut short by the loss of her husband, Dr. McPhail quickly rose to the top of our list,” said Miller, a Saint Augustine’s alumnus. “She has distinguished herself as one of the foremost authorities in higher education leadership and strategic organizational advancement. We are certain she is the best choice to lead SAU into the future.”

Dr. James West, Wake County Commissioner, added, “I had the pleasure of serving on the Saint Augustine’s University Presidential Search Committee, and I celebrate the appointment of Dr. Christine McPhail as President. This is a great moment for SAU and this decision opens a vista for greater things to come in building this university’s partnership with Wake County.”

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Christine McPhail is the President of St. Augustine’s University,” said Billie Redmond, Founder of Trademark Properties in Raleigh. “She brings a depth and wealth of academic and relationship-building skills and translates that into a new vision that bridges the local to the global in preparing students for the inclusive, changing workplace of the future.”

Dr. McPhail is the recipient of the 2018 Diverse Champions Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, the 2010 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) National Leadership Award, and the 2008 League of Innovation’s Terry O’Banion Leadership Award.

She served on the Advisory Council for the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the National Center for Postsecondary Research at the Community College Research Center.

Dr. McPhail also served as the affirmative action officer for Division J of the American Education Research Association and on the editorial board for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

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