While students enjoyed their Spring Break, the Dillard University Board of Trustees selected the university’s ninth president, who is the first female president-elect.
Dr. Marvalene Hughes, currently the president of California State University at Stanislaus, will begin her presidency on July 1.
"I was solely attracted to this position because I owe much of my early training and inspiration to the instruction and close mentoring I received at an historically black university," Hughes said in a statement. "I am extremely proud of my heritage and the legacy of excellence with which I was imbued during those years."
Hughes received both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Tuskegee University. Hughes also received her Ph.D. in counseling and administration from Florida State University. She also pursued post-doctoral study at Harvard, New York and Columbia Universities.
Hughes said she is grateful for the opportunity to serve at CSU-Stanislaus and the people of California and is excited and ready to take on a new leadership challenge.
"I now take on a very special challenge-one of personal passion and extreme importance-the presidency of Dillard University, one of AmericaÃ¯¿½s outstanding private liberal arts universities," Hughes said.
Hughes comes to Dillard with an extensive background in higher education. In 1994, Hughes was elected the first African American female president of California State University. Hughes was also the vice president for student affairs/vice provost and professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities and was the system-wide administrator for all of the university’s campuses.
"The Board felt that she (Hughes) was the best candidate to move Dillard to the next level of academic excellence," said Charles A. Ferguson, chairman of the Dillard University Board of Trustees.
Various other roles for Hughes included the vice president and professor at the University of Toledo, associate vice president for student affairs at Arizona State and a senior-level administrator at San Diego State University. Hughes has also made international partnerships with many universities.
Ferguson also added that it is a great time for Dillard to have a female leader given the enrollment is mostly female.
Charlie Nelms, vice president for institutional development and student affairs in the Indiana University system and Hughes were brought to campus during this school year to meet with faculty and students. But after a unanimous decision, the Board chose Hughes to take over the reigns of the university.
The Board was very comfortable with the leadership of Dr. Bettye Parker Smith and therefore took as much time as it was needed to find the best possible candidate for president, according to Maureen Larkins, director of university communications.
"The number of women in leadership positions in higher education as not been growing as quickly as it could be and this is a great step in the right direction," Larkins said.
Some students are eager about the arrival of the new president.
Romiesha Tucker, junior, business management major from Chicago said that it is good the university has a female president because so many of the students are female. Tucker said that more students will be comfortable with speaking to her about problems and concerns.
Other students are just ready for a change to come at Dillard whether it be a male or a female who brings the change.
"I would hope that the university has its stuff together," Shaheed Muhammad, freshperson said. "I want a change and if she stirs it up, it would be nice. Something is better than nothing."