Shaw University Names First Female President

Published June 2, 2009

Shaw University added another chapter in Black history on Tuesday by choosing its first female president.

The nation's oldest historically Black college in the South named Dorothy Cowser Yancy as interim president after splitting with former president Clarence Newsome three weeks ago.

Yancy, who retired from Johnson C. Smith University 11 months ago after 13 years as president, told a crowd of supporters at Shaw's downtown Raleigh, N.C., campus that "we have a lot of work to do. ... Whatever it takes is what we're going to have to do."

During Yancy's tenure at Smith, she increased academic standards, expanded technology on the Charlotte, N.C., campus, tripled the endowment and completed two record-setting capital campaigns.

"We've chosen a lady who was born to lead," William Gary, chairman of Shaw's Board of Trustees, told WRAL-TV in Raleigh. "Nobody can get it done any better," adding that luring her out of retirement to take the helm at Shaw was a coup by university officials.

Newsome left the university on May 12 amid growing discontent among students and staff and a $20 million debt. He had been at Shaw since 2003. 

In December, Shaw laid off a number of employees, gave others a pay cut and suspended retirement benefits. Dozens of students also protested about poor living conditions in university dorms.

Written by BET.com Staff

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