Saint Augustine's University President Announces Plan To Retire

Jan 25, 2019

St. Augustine's University President Everett B. Ward in his Raleigh office, one day after announcing his retirement.
Credit Leoneda Inge / WUNC

After leading the historically black school for five years, Saint Augustine’s University President Everett B. Ward has announced he plans to retire.

Ward was born on the Saint Augustine’s campus and is a graduate of the university, as was his father. As far as leading the campus, Ward said it’s time to pass the baton.

“I am not going home to sit on the back screened-in porch in a rocking chair. There are things I will do," said Ward, 60. "But I just think the intensity of the day-to-day governance of a university, after five years, you need to know when you have achieved your goals.”

One of those goals was getting Saint Augustine's off probation. The small HBCU was on probation the past two years because of shrinking enrollment and funds. Ward is credited with helping turn that around. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges removed Saint Augustine's from probation last month, keeping its accreditation intact.

The university reports donor support almost tripled in recent years, from $1 million in 2014 to $2.9 million in 2018.

"I will always be involved in Saint Augustine's, even when I am not here on earth. I have made provisions for Saint Augustine's to be well taken care of," Ward said, insinuating the university is in his will.

Ward said his favorite moments as president include graduation day and freshman orientation.

In a statement, Saint Augustine's student body president Alston DeVega said he's grateful to have had Ward as president during his years at the school. "He brought life back to the university," said DeVega.

Ward's last day is July 24.