The St. Augustine’s University Board of Trustees announced that Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail will become the institution’s 13th president. She’ll be serving in the role occupied by her husband, Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, who passed away from COVID-19 in October 2020, three months into his presidency.
She was selected by a presidential search committee composed of trustees, alumni, faculty, deans, local government officials and members of the surrounding business community.
“We are excited and fortunate to have an innovative, proven … 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 James E. Perry, chairman of the St. Augustine’s Board of Trustees, in a statement.
A prolifically published scholar, McPhail is currently the president and CEO of the McPhail Group, LLC and serves as a professor of practice at the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership at Kansas State University. She also served as the founding professor and director of Morgan State University’s community college leadership doctoral program and worked as a leadership coach for Achieving the Dream from 2004 to 2018. Prior to that, she was president of Cypress College.
McPhail received the Diverse Champions Award from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2018; she was also the recipient of the 2010 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) National Leadership Award and the 2008 League of Innovation’s Terry O’Banion Leadership Award.
She described herself as both “humbled and honored” to lead the university.
“I am committed to the success of this University and each of its students,” she said in a statement. “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 [St. Augustine’s University] community to move us forward.”