Johnson C. Smith President Ronald Carter to Resign

Carter delivered more than anyone could hope for in an HBCU presidency by today’s standards — a solid run of success.

Carter delivered more than anyone could hope for in an HBCU presidency by today’s standards — a solid run of success.

Johnson C. Smith University President Ronald L. Carter will resign at the conclusion of the upcoming academic year, adding to the massive list of HBCU executive transitions over the last 24 months.

Carter had a lengthy tenure by historically black college leadership standards — the Morehouse College alumnus will leave Charlotte with eight years and a long list of academic, capital and community development accolades to bullet his resume, in addition to leading the institution into its sesquicentennial celebration.

“I am deeply appreciative of the Board’s accolades. Together, the Board and I have been engaged in a creative, inspiring and enjoyable process of moving this historic University forward, simply because it deserves always to be better,” Dr. Carter said. “Now, we are proud to complete the strategic process of transforming the University into its rich and fertile opportunities as an independent new urban university. Those who know me appreciate that I have never been content to rest on the University’s undeniable progress or on my laurels. If anything, they are signs — still, small calls — for me to move into my next service.”

Carter is leading JCSU in the midst of a $150 million capital campaign, has grown the university’s endowment by $17 million, created the school’s first graduate program, built a new science center, and helped to keep the university regionally relevant during Charlotte’s emergence as the south’s metropolitan flavor of the decade.

His greatest accomplishments have little to do with the campus proper; first, he was not washed out by the post-departure shadow cast by President Emerita Dorothy Cowser Yancy, which Carter briefly boxed last fall along with a few rounds against a disgruntled former board member, and survived.

Second, Carter helped to spearhead revitalization of Charlotte’s West End, an extraordinary example of how HBCUs, and specifically private black institutions, can leverage history and economic impact to improve the prospects of black communities facing gentrification.

And Oprah came to campus.

And now he’s out. It’s unclear if its on his terms or those of the board, but he can leave without scandal trailing him, without the school bordering on closure, and with the school better than he found it.

For being number 35 on a growing list of presidents either running or being thrown out of the door of our institutions, Carter deserves a lot of credit for that.