After more than three decades of leadership in higher education, Dr. Ronald L. Carter joined AGB Search in 2018. As the 13th president of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), an historically black four-year research university in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2008 to 2017, Dr. Carter led his team to transform the institution into an independent new urban university with intellectually rigorous programs to support new generations of change agents. As a result of his leadership, an education at JCSU now includes a global perspective, heightened social activism, and a vibrant culture of community that extends beyond the campus gates.
Much of Dr. Carter’s success is due to his commitment to team leadership. With the aid of a carefully assembled, robust group of high-impact performers, Carter increased JCSU’s majors from 22 to 25, launched JCSU’s first graduate degree, and developed two fully online degree programs.
Under Dr. Carter’s leadership the University’s endowment grew from $37.2M to $66.6M. He championed the establishment of the President’s Gap Scholarship Fund, raising $7.4 M to bridge students’ financial aid shortfalls, and launched “Tomorrow Is What WE Make It,” the largest comprehensive campaign in the University’s history, to support campus and capital projects, scholarships, academic resources, and the Annual Fund. The campaign goal of $150M was exceeded by $9M.
Dr. Carter’s leadership in Charlotte’s Northwest Corridor led to substantial revitalization, spearheaded by the University’s construction of a state-of-the-art, $45 million, 62,000-square-foot STEM research facility and the construction of Mosaic Village, a $25 million, 124,000-square-foot mixed-use housing and retail space that provides employment and entertainment to students and local residents. The Arts Factory, JCSU’s main venue for the Visual and Performing Arts major, opened its doors in 2010 and became a cornerstone of the creative boom in the area. The University also played a vital role in the development and construction of the CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar that, will link JCSU to Charlotte’s Uptown and stimulate economic development.
Dr. Carter led the University to identify and nurture new student populations through innovative programs such as the Foster Village Network Center, which provides academic and social support to students who have aged out of foster care; Caminos Hacia el Exito , an English as a Second Language certification program; Metropolitan College for adult learners; University College, a comprehensive student support educational program based on metacognitive research; and increased recruitment in Caribbean, Latin American and African countries.
Dr. Carter began his career at Boston University, where he was the school’s youngest-ever Dean of Students. His interaction with Nelson Mandela’s relatives compelled him to work in South Africa, where he became Dean of Students and one of the first black senior administrators at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He returned to the United States in 1997 as the Provost and Dean of Faculty at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.
Dr. Carter has served on many boards, including Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, Opera Carolina, Mint Museum, Fifth Third Bank Affiliate Board, Association of Governing Boards, the United Negro College Fund and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Board of Directors.
Among his many honors, Carter received the 2011 Charlotte Catalyst Humanitarian Award for his efforts in diversity and philanthropy. In 2013, he received the Creative Thinkers Award for his leadership in building Mosaic Village and the Latin American Excelente Award for his sustained support of the Latino community. The Charlotte Post presented Dr. Carter with its 2014 Luminary Award. In 2017, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s School of Theology.
Dr. Carter has been involved on numerous university executive searches throughout his academic career. During his presidency at Johnson C. Smith University, he was a search committee member for the Head Basketball and Head Football coaches, and advised search committee members on the search for the 14th President of JCSU. As well, in his role as President, he has hired multiple individuals to hold executive, dean, faculty, and staff level positions within the University. At Coker College, Dr. Carter was a search committee member for the college’s Chief Financial Officer and hired several Directors, the head librarian, and more than fifteen faculty members.
A native of High Point, North Carolina, Dr. Carter graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and philosophy. He earned his Master of Theology degree and Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Boston University.