Dr. Colleen Perry Keith to become Pfeiffer University’s Next President

February 23, 2015

Dr._Colleen_KeithMisenheimer, N.C.—Dr. Colleen Perry Keith has been named the tenth president of Pfeiffer University. The announcement was made earlier today by Pfeiffer’s board of trustees. Dr. Keith, who has served since 2009 as president of Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC), Spartanburg, S.C., will begin her term at Pfeiffer on July 1. Regarded throughout the field of higher education as a thoughtful and effective leader, Dr. Keith has achieved extensive and noteworthy administrative and fundraising success over the course of her career. In 2010, she was named South Carolina Career Woman of the Year by the South Carolina Business and Professionals Woman’s Foundation. Under her leadership, SMC updated and implemented its master and strategic plans, launched and completed a $15 million capital campaign; started two new academic programs; initiated new construction, renovated existing space and acquired property for expansion; enhanced public relations and marketing efforts that resulted in the doubling of inquiries from prospective students; and increased annual giving by 249 percent. “I am honored, pleased, and excited that Dr. Colleen Keith has accepted the position of president of Pfeiffer University; she is absolutely the right person to lead Pfeiffer,” said Samuel “Chip” Asbury ’78, ’87 (MBA), board of trustees chair and leader of the Presidential Search Committee. “Dr. Keith has a demonstrated passion for students and their educational experience, a consistent track record of success in regard to student recruitment and fundraising, and an inherent understanding of the United Methodist tradition that will undoubtedly have a positive effect on two of our largest strategic initiatives: increasing enrollment for all educational programs and growing the institution’s endowment. This is a great day for Pfeiffer University and I look forward to welcoming Dr. Keith and her husband, Barry, to our community.” Dr. Keith earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from State University of New York, Binghamton; master of education, education counseling from University of Pittsburgh; and doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration and student affairs from The Ohio State University. Prior experience includes executive director of development, Ohio University; director of development, Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation; executive vice president, vice president of development and assistant to the president/capital campaign director for Methodist Theological School, Ohio. To complement her administrative expertise, Dr. Keith has taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, specifically MBA and master of communications courses as well as qualitative research and data analysis for doctor of ministry students and university survey and orientation courses as part of undergraduate students’ introduction to college. She currently serves on the boards of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, which she chairs; Mary Black Foundation; Greer Education Foundation; Arts Partnership; Spartanburg Academic Movement; Spartanburg Regional Hospital’s Hospice Home; and Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg County. On the state level, she chairs the President’s Council for the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities organization and is the secretary for the South Carolina Tuition Grants commission. She also serves on the advisory board for South Carolina Women in Higher Education. On the national stage, she is past president of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church and continues on its board. Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a globally engaged, regional university distinctive for its transformational undergraduate experiences and leadership in professional and graduate programs that fill demonstrated needs on its campuses in Charlotte, Misenheimer and Raleigh, and online. Vested in its history as a United Methodist-related university and propelled by an innovative faculty and staff, Pfeiffer prepares its students for a lifetime of achievement, scholarship, spirituality and service. Visit Pfeiffer at www.pfeiffer.edu or www.facebook.com/pfeifferuniversity. Pfeiffer University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees.

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A Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise

We give thanks for this Summons to Witness, Protest and Promise written by the cabinet of the North Carolina Conference.  In our ongoing collaboration, we affirm these words alongside them.  Across our state, we invite all United Methodists to be a part of building “the new world God promises as heaven in time descends to earth.” (Revelation 21)

A Summons to Witness, Protest, & Promise

We, United Methodists in The Western North Carolina Conference, join our voices with The North Carolina Conference in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.

We believe. . .

We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God’s intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

We protest. . .
We protest violent murders of Black men and women, most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We protest the narratives of fear and suspicion that divide people from one another.
We protest our historic failure to ensure all our churches are places of hospitality, welcome, and belonging for our Black brothers and sisters.
We protest the historic and continuing suppression of voting and other basic rights.
We protest all incendiary public leadership in this time of crisis and turmoil.
We protest the lack of will in our communities, our state and our country to protect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, and especially the most vulnerable, the young and the old.

We promise. . .
We promise to use our voices, resources and power to dismantle white privilege and racist systems, especially within our own United Methodist Church.
We promise to read the Scripture with ear and eye attentive to the continued call toward God’s will for all people.
We promise to exercise the right to vote and to work against voter suppression.
We promise to create around ourselves at all times hospitable space for all people.
We promise to name prejudice when we see it and to receive the correction of others who see prejudice in us.
We promise to be life-long learners, to constantly make adjustments in the way we use our power and influence, to be active participants in the building of the beloved community, and ultimately growing always in holiness toward the perfection we see in Christ.

Signed,

Bishop Paul Leeland
Laura Auten
Carl Arrington
Michael Bailey
David Christy
Amy Coles
Bev Coppley
Beth Crissman
Otto Harris
David Hockett
Kim Ingram
Linda Kelly
Mark King
Melissa McGill
Samuel Moore, Jr.
Dan Pezet
Mark Ralls
David Snipes
Caroline Wood
Jane Wood

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Tim Russell
Edie Gleaves
Ray Broadwell
Gil Wise
Gray Southern
Mike Frese
Kenneth Locklear
Randy Innes
Linda Taylor
Dena White
Tara Lain
Ismael Ruiz-Millan
Jon Strother
Beth Hood
Lisa Yebuah
Greg Moore
Steve Taylor

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