*GREENSBORO, NC -— Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall, the new president of Bennett College, returns to North Carolina to a campus that was her first choice as a place to serve in that capacity.
She has long envisioned joining its community of scholars, using her skills to connect and build upon its distinctive legacy.
Ten years ago, Dr. Fuse-Hall was a candidate for the position but was not selected.
For her that “no” simply meant “not yet” and that if the chance came again, she would be ready, setting an example of leadership for students who may face similar situations.
“I made sure I was very familiar with the operations side of the house and the academic side of the house,” she said.
She sought opportunities to learn more about university administration, to become more active in the community, to gain international experience through a fellowship and to learn about public-private partnerships.
A decade later, with years of experience in senior leadership posts at universities, she will step into her role as the 17th president on July 1, succeeding Dr. Esther Terry, at the private four-year historically black, liberal arts college for women, located in Greensboro, N.C.
The college will hold a press conference to introduce Dr. Fuse-Hall to the broader community on Monday, July 1, 2013, at 11 a.m. (EST) at the Global Learning Center, Bennett College, 512 Gorrell St. in Greensboro.
Dr. Terry, a Bennett alumna who has led the institution for the past year, launched a successful campaign to build financial support for the college and expanded relationships with the business community.
She previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. In that position, she led the redesign of the general education curriculum and established the honors program. Dr. Terry also pushed for stronger emphasis on mathematics and sciences to prepare students for the science, technology, engineering and math professions.
Dr. Fuse-Hall said she set her sights on Bennett long ago because of its “outstanding reputation” and welcomed the opportunity to work with its students and faculty.
“My role throughout my work has promoted and encouraged women to go on and become bigger and better than they think they have the potential to achieve,” she said. “I’m fiercely committed to the success of our student scholars and faculty scholars, and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they have what they need.”
After growing up in North Carolina, she was also familiar with Greensboro.
“Greensboro is an educational hub like no other with five colleges,” she said. “It has a strong business community. It is a vibrant community with culture and art. Greensboro is someplace I wanted to be.”
Dr. Fuse-Hall brings 25 years of experience in higher education to the table. Most recently, she has been interim executive director of Title III Programs at Florida A&M University and chief of staff to the president there. She has served as executive assistant to the chancellor at North Carolina Central University and corporate secretary at the General Administration for the University of North Carolina, the 17-campus system.
The new president said her vision for the college includes increasing enrollment to 1,000 from about 730 by recruiting both locally and nationally with the help of a network of alumnae. Academically, she wants to prepare students to go on for graduate and professional degrees and to be global leaders.
“I really believe we should modulate our work to prepare our young ladies for global leadership,” she said. “I want to bring in speakers who understand that, and I will work with the faculty to make sure we are promoting a global curriculum. This is critically important today.”
Charles Barrentine, the chairman of the board of trustees at Bennett and a retired vice president for Eastman Kodak, said he thought Dr. Fuse-Hall was the right person for Bennett at a time when it seeks, in addition to increasing enrollment and creating an atmosphere of global learning, to “double or triple” its endowment and add new disciplines.
“It’s where we are going,” he said. “There are a lot of people who probably could be president of Bennett, and meet part of the criteria and be O.K., if we didn’t want to go anywhere, but we are moving forward and need a strong, well-balanced leader. The college is in transformation. When we look at what we want to do strategically, she can take us there.”
About Dr. Fuse-Hall:
Born in Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall spent much of her early life in Fayetteville, N.C., where her parents were educators. Dr. Fuse-Hall is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Rutgers School of Law. She began her career as a judicial law clerk in the Essex County Superior Court in Newark, N.J. and later worked as staff attorney in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the New York Regional Office.
She is married to Dr. Jarvis Hall, an associate professor of political science at North Carolina Central University. The couple has lived in Durham and Tallahassee. Their daughter, Ifetoya, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill this spring and is now working for Teach for America in Texas.
About Bennett College:
Bennett College is a small, private, historically black, liberal arts college for women, one of only two in the country. The college offers women an education conducive to excellence in scholarly pursuits; preparation for leadership roles in the workplace, society, and the world; and life-long learning in a technologically advanced, complex global society. As a United Methodist Church-related institution, Bennett College promotes morally grounded maturation, intellectual honesty, purposeful public service, and responsible civic action. The college welcomes students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds.
In 1873, Bennett College had its beginning in the basement of the Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as St. Matthew’s Methodist Church). Seventy young men and women started elementary and secondary level studies. In 1874, the Freedmen’s Aid Society took over the school, which remained under its auspices for 50 years.
Within five years of its founding, a group of emancipated slaves purchased the present site for the school. College courses and permanent facilities were added. In 1926, the Women’s Home Missionary Society joined with the Board of Education of the church to make Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., formerly co-educational, a college for women.
For more information on Bennett College, visit the college’s website at www.bennett.edu. For additional information on Dr. Fuse-Hall, to arrange an interview or to confirm your attendance at the press conference, please contact one of the media officials at the top of the release.
Jerry Thomas Public Relations