Meet the Finalists


West Virginia State University Presidential Finalists Named

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
June 25, 2020
West Virginia State University Presidential Finalists Named
Three Higher Education Leaders to Visit State’s Campus Next Week

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The West Virginia State University (WVSU) Presidential Search Committee has selected three higher education leaders as the finalists to become the 12th president of the University.

Dr. Nicole Pride, vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Dr. Patricia Ramsey, senior executive fellow at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; and, Dr. Rodney Smith, president and CEO of the University of The Bahamas, have been invited to campus next week to meet with constituent groups.

The meetings with students, faculty, staff and community leaders will take place in the James C. Wilson University Union and will follow state and CDC social distancing and safety guidelines for events.  The meetings will also be available virtually via Zoom.

Ramsey will be on campus Monday, June 29. She formerly served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at both Lincoln and Bowie State universities.

Ramsey also served as the interim president at Bowie State University, vice president for academic affairs at Shaw University and associate vice president for development at Norfolk State University.  She is currently serving a three-year term on the appeals panel of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as a three-year term on the Middle States Regional Council of the College Board. Ramsey and has represented HBCUs from the state legislative level to the halls of Congress.  Ramsey has been recognized as a “National Role Model” by Minority Access, Inc.

A biologist by training, Ramsey earned a master’s degree in Botany from Howard University, the master’s degree in Biology from Harvard University and a doctorate in Biology from Georgetown University. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Norfolk State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology Education.  Ramsey completed leadership programs in the Millennium Leadership Institute, Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management, and the CIVIC Leadership Institute.

Pride will be on campus Tuesday, June 30. Prior to joining North Carolina A&T State University, where she also served as chief of staff and chief communications officer, Pride served as vice president for development and communications for Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She also served in numerous capacities at IBM including marketing program manager, corporate learning division and manager of corporate community relations and public affairs for nearly a decade. In addition to her professional appointments, Pride has served on numerous boards and committees, and her research interests are in the areas of board governance and leadership.

Her awards and honors include the Triad Business Journal’s 2018 Outstanding Women in Business award and the PR News’ 2017 cohort of Top Women in Public Relations in the nation.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in business management and economics from North Carolina State University, a master’s in corporate and public communications from Seton Hall University, and a doctorate in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University.

Smith will be on campus Wednesday, July 1. Before serving as president and CEO of the University of the Bahamas, he served as administrative vice president at Hampton University, with responsibility for strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, quality service training programs, assessment of all academic and non-academic programs, university athletics, and all aspects of enrollment management (offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Registrar).

He is the recipient of the 2016 JCN International Person of the Year Award, and has been inducted into Chi Alpha Epsilon Academic Honor Society, Alpha Chi Chapter; Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society; and Delta Mu Delta, National Honor Society in Business Administration.

Smith received his doctorate degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in the area of administration, planning and social policy. He earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in international development from Harvard University, a master’s degree from Fisk University in clinical/educational psychology, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

For more information about the finalists, please visit

WVSU has been searching for its 12th president, since the announcement that former President Anthony L. Jenkins was leaving to become President of Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. R. Charles Byers has served as interim president of the University since May 16.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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