Johnson C. Smith University announced that Charleston, S.C., native Dr. Valerie Kinloch will assume the role of president beginning August 1, 2023.

Kinloch is a 1996 JCSU graduate and a member of the school’s board of trustees. She was chosen unanimously by the board of trustees.

She currently serves as Dean of the School of Education at the University of Pittsburg, leading 300 faculty members and 1000 students. She also oversees fundraising projects and capital projects, and renovations.

Kinloch has also served as associate Dean of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement and as a literacy studies professor at Ohio State University.

“It’s a dream come true to be invited to lead one of the finest historically Black colleges and universities in America– and at the same time, come home,” Kinloch said in a release. “This university set me on course to grow beyond anything I could imagine, so it is incredibly gratifying to return and give back to the institution that helped make me who I am.”

Kinloch succeeds former JCSU president Clarence D. Armbrister who announced his retirement in January.

According to the release, Kinloch wants to raise JCSU’s national profile and increase funding and alumni engagement.

“We need to make space for innovation and for different types of learning– not just inside classrooms but also through internships, experiential engagements, and job placements with businesses, organizations and community groups with whom we have deep relationships,” Kinloch said.

Daija Peeler covers arts, culture, and faith in Charlotte.

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