Dr. Julianne Malveaux announced her resignation as the 15th President of Bennett College Tuesday, February 28.
Dr. Malveaux stood before a shocked crowd as she informed the campus of her decision during a town hall meeting. The college sent out a press release informing the media and community of the news that same morning.
“The timing shocked me. It made me immediately worry about the future of Bennett College,” says Danielle Haddad, a senior social work major from California.
“I heard the rumor going around, but I didn’t believe it was true,” says Jasmine Carter a junior political science major from Maryland. “I checked my email after my 9:30 a.m. class and saw her statement. Then I went to ACES and listened to her explain her decision to leave.”
The Bennett College Board of Trustees says class of 1961 alumna Dr. Esther Terry, the current Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, will be named the Interim President until a successor is found. Dr. Terry has taken on the title of Chief Academic Officer for the remainder of the spring semester.
Dr. James Dixon, the current Chief of Staff will serve as the Chief Administrative Officer.
The Board of Trustees is currently assembling a search committee to assist in the search of Bennett’s next president. The college says the committee will be made up of alumnae, trustees, faculty, staff, and students.
Charles Barrentine, the chair of the Board of Trustees spoke in an interview following the resignation about the process of finding the next president.
“Obviously we want to do it in an expeditious manner, but we want to make sure we got the right person. What I think the board will do, the board will make sure that we are thorough. I was on the last search. I think it took us six months.”
He continues, explaining the length of the process.
“There are an enormous amount of talented people out there that are qualified in some way to be the president of Bennett, but not in every way. So, weeding that out will take a little bit of time. Our hope would be to at least have it done by then. The rule of thumb is that six months, it takes at least that.”
Barrentine goes on to say there isn’t a candidate at this time.
“I don’t have a candidate and I shouldn’t have one at this point.”
Bennett College highlighted several accomplishments during Dr. Malveaux’s five-year administration. A prepared statement says she completed a $21 million capital improvements program that built four new buildings and renovated existing facilities, increased enrollment, expanded alumnae involvement, and reaffirmed Bennett’s accreditation among other things.
“I reflected on the contributions she made and those buildings. They are more than just the infrastructures. They’re more than working models, they really are the pathways to our future.”
Barrentine also goes on to talk about other contributions made by the outgoing president.
“I was reflecting on the doors she opened for Bennett, and she has opened a lot of doors for Bennett. [Dr. Malveaux] allowed us to grow and continue to be at a place where we will be able to continue to help young ladies become leaders.”
Jasmine Carter a junior political science major shared her final thoughts about Dr. Malveaux resigning.
“I think Dr. Malveaux is a great woman, I’m sad to see her go but I’m also proud of all the great things she has done for our school.” Carter says.
Bennett College released the prepared statement below from Dr. Julianne Malveaux about her resignation.
“Leading Bennett College has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In my five years at the college, we have embraced Bennett’s historic commitment to create an oasis where women are educated, celebrated, and transformed into 21st century leaders and global thinkers. As I reflect on my accomplishments and of the college’s growth and transformation during my tenure, I realize that it is time for Bennett, and for me, to embark on a new chapter. Five years is the longest time I’ve ever held a job in my life, and while I remain committed to HBCUs and the compelling cause of access in higher education, I will actualize that commitment, now, in other arenas. I will miss Bennett College and will remain one of its most passionate advocates.”
By: Ratasha Smith