St. Aug’s hires interim president. Retiring leader to leave early, but ‘was not pushed out,’ trustee says.

St. Augustine’s University’s board of trustees named the Rev. Gaddis Faulcon its new president this week.
St. Augustine’s University’s board of trustees named the Rev. Gaddis Faulcon its new president this week.

St. Augustine’s University has named an interim president, replacing its retiring leader several months before expected.

The Rev. Gaddis Faulcon will take the reins of the historically black college near downtown Raleigh effective immediately, according to the Rev. Hilton O. Smith, chairman of the university’s board of trustees. Smith said the board approved hiring Faulcon this week.

“At this time of significant positive momentum surrounding the next phase of the University’s evolution, the Board of Trustees has determined there is a need to launch the formal transition and search process for the new President,” Smith said in a statement released late Friday by the university. “We are pleased that Dr. Gaddis Faulcon, our 1974 alumnus, has agreed to lead our transition team. He brings the passion and previous experience serving in this pivotal role.”

In an email, Faulcon referred questions to the university.

In its statement, the school quoted Faulcon as saying, said, “I am truly honored to be asked to lead my alma mater at this crucial time in our 152-year history and look forward to working with all those who are committed to writing our next great chapter together.”

Faulcon is pastor and founder of the Agape Worship Center and Training Institute in Creedmoor, just north of Raleigh. He is a 1974 graduate of St. Aug’s, according to his biography on his church’s website.

The university’s statement said Faulcon has 30 years of experience in higher education, including in administrative roles. The statement said Faulcon had recently served as vice president of enrollment management at St. Aug’s and was interim president at Shaw University in Raleigh from 2014 to 2015.

Faulcon is a native of Oxford. He received a master’s in recreation resources management and public administration from N.C. State University in 1981 and a doctorate in education and public administration from NCSU in 1994, St. Augustine’s said.

Faulcon is taking over from Everett Ward, who announced in late January that he would retire in July. Ward could not be reached Friday.

Smith, a retired pastor who lives in Ohio, and Kimberly Williams Moore, an adjunct professor at the university, both said Ward would help Faulcon transition into the job.

WRAL TV reported that Ward had been pushed out of the presidency early, citing no sources.

According to the university’s website, Ward was appointed interim president of St. Augustine’s in April 2014. A year later, the board of trustees voted to make him the 11th president of the school.

In a phone interview, Smith said the board had voted this week to hire Faulcon immediately, meaning Ward no longer would hold the title of president. But he said Ward would continue to serve in a supportive role and would be welcome at the university always.

“He was not forced out,” Smith said. “He is forever a member of the family. He is a son of St. Augustine’s.”

The university has had its struggles. It was released from two years of probation by its accrediting agency in December after addressing issues involving funding, accounting and educational effectiveness.

The school was founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. The school has about 800 students and about 200 faculty and staff members, Moore said.

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Martha Quillin is a general assignment reporter at The News & Observer who writes about North Carolina culture, religion and social issues. She has held jobs throughout the newsroom since 1987.