Dr. Jenkins is second longest tenured leader in Livingstone College’s history

Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., second longest tenured president of Livingstone College.

SALIRBURY, NC – Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., announced to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9 that he will retire from his role on July 1, 2022, after 16 years of service.

Jenkins was appointed to lead the historically black college in February 2006. He is the second longest tenured president in the history of the school.

Prior to Livingstone, Jenkins served as president of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., where a gymnasium there bears his name. Before that, he made history by becoming the first alumnus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) to serve as chancellor, after earning both his master’s and doctorate degrees in biology from Purdue University. A science building at ECSU is named in his honor.

The Livingstone Board of Trustees reluctantly accepted Jenkins letter and recognized his constructive feats as president. New board chairman Bishop Kenneth Monroe said that Jenkins will remain in role as president until a successor is appointed, and trustees and the college prepare for a series of events commemorating his tenure.

“Having labored 38 years as a college and university president has been exhilarating and exhausting,” said Jenkins. “I am grateful for the great support from the Livingstone College Board of Trustees, our alumni, the people and leaders of the City of Salisbury and Rowan County, donors and friends of the college. There is a strong sense of melancholy in the realization that a long career is ending, yet to quote Kenny Rogers, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them – and I believe that time has come. The city has been good to me and my family as evidenced by the kind of collaborative support that has been demonstrated over these past 16 years.

Rev. Dr. Nilous M. Avery, II talks with Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins as they process to the Founder’s Day program at Varick Auditorium. Thursday, February 11, 2016, in Salisbury, N.C. / JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST

During his tenure, Livingstone has undergone significant progress. At his hiring, Jenkins challenged the Board of Trustees to use his experiences to change the college approach to educating students often troubled by socio-economic difficulties, thus creating the Holistic College model.

Under Jenkins’ leadership, the campus saw its first major construction in more than 40 years in that of Honor Hall, apartment-style united for new students with high grade-point averages.

He is credited with saving the college from closure from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission Colleges (SACSCOC). Today, the college boasts reaffirmation of accreditation for the next 10 years without a single recommendation.

jenkins also raised the net asset value of the college by $15 million; acquired a former Holiday Inn to established the hospitality management and culinary arts program; and reactivated the college’s 40 acres of land to grow food and supply culinary arts.

College enrollment grew 35 percent to 1,400 students, the largest in school history (pre-COVID), resulting in Livingstone purchasing College Park Apartments, a four-building complex that houses 100 students.

“Livingstone College was its lowest ebb when we began our search for a new president in 2006,” said Bishop George W.C. Walker, former chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Jenkins became the best candidate in the search process and ultimately the president. He provided the greatest tenure of a president in the history of the college. Dr. Jenkins phenomenally lifted the college to extraordinary heights. Without question, Livingstone College is in a much better place because of his presidency.”

Jenkins was named one of ‘The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021′ by the HBCU Campaign Fund, citing the past accomplishments as president of Edward Water College, vice chancellor and chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, and currently at Livingstone College.

Jenkins’ retirement announcement comes the same week Livingstone held a ribbon cutting on a new state-of-the-art science annex, and on the heels of several major developments at the college including new upgrades to Alumni Memorial Stadium, construction of an esports arena; and application for Livingstone to apply for Level lll status to award graduate degrees and be renamed Livingstone University.

Additionally, under Jenkins’ leadership, Livingstone started a Study Abroad Student Exchange Program with students studying and living in five foreign countries; became a gated campus with decorate wrought iron fencing; relocated the Blue Bear mascot to the front lawn and painted it blue, and established a campus radio station, WLJZ 107.1M.

“Emphasis is always placed on leadership – the pilot – but we cannot forget the ground crew,” Jenkins recently told faculty and staff at opening session. “The pilot is important, but the work is executed by the ground crew. Your work is critical to our success.”

The goal, he said, was to create an environment where young men and women would not only obtain a degree, but have the capacity to command their rightful place in the global society, Jenkins said.

“I still feel this is why God has had his hand on this institution,” he said. “We serve the underserved, but that does not mean they are not deserving. They may be disadvantaged, but certainly not disregard. I’m glad my life work has been at an HBCU.”

About Livingstone College
Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.

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F. George Shipman Science Center at Livingstone College.

SALISBURY, NC – Livingstone College is set to cut the ribbon of its state-of-the-art F. George Shipman Science Annex, named after its sixth president.

The event is schedule to take place on Friday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. in front of the new science center on campus, followed by a reception and tour inside the building.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting of the new science annex punctuates the college’s growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program and focus on encouraging more African American students to major in STEM areas of study.

The new 16,000-square-foot science annex will featured dedicated laboratory/research spaces for microbiology, human anatomy/physiology, biochemistry and general chemistry, with smaller laboratory spaces for specialized research and a tissue culture lab.

One of the significant highlights of the facility is its planetarium/immersion theater with SciDome IQ 2400 technology, where students have a virtual-reality experience in human anatomy, physics, astronomy and earth science.

In addition to the planetarium, the annex includes a SCALE-UP classroom that facilitates active and collaborative learning, and a hydroponic greenhouse.

The new annex will allow Livingstone College to proper environment to implement a $2.24 million STEM grant it received in the fall from the National Science Foundation. The grant was the largest, single grant received in the history of the college and will fund a program called “Livingwell@Livingstone” to enhance persistence, retention and graduation rates in underrepresented minority students.

“We are thrilled to finally be act to cut the ribbon and showcase our new state-of-the-art science annex to the public,” said Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., Livingstone College President. “This annex coupled with the STEM grant will allow us to leverage partnerships with community science entrepreneurs and enhance the STEM student experience.”

“A key driver of STEM student success is STEM identity,” said McNair. “The F. George Shipman Annex provides a dedicated space designed to enhance scientific research and conceptual understanding. Our students will see the endless possibilities that exist in STEM, and how they might contribute to future science enterprise.”

The in-person grand opening ribbon-cutting is open to the public, and those attending must follow the college’s COVID-19 protocols, which includes showing proof of vaccination or presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event. Masks must be worn indoors for the duration of the program, but may be removed briefly for eating and drinking.

About Livingstone College
Livingstone College is a private historically black institution that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction. Though a Christian-based environment suitable for learning, it provides excellent liberal arts and religious education programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to develop their potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.

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SALISBURY, NC – One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Livingstone College awaited the arrival of Johnson C. Smith University (then Biddle Memorial Institute), who traveled by horse and buggy to Salisbury to play football.The contest held on a snowy December 27, 1892, on the front lawn of Livingstone College, was the first black intercollegiate football game.

In 2009, the two schools decided to start an annual Commemorative Classic football game to honor the inaugural matchup. The classic is the last football game of the regular season with location now alternating between the two campuses.

“How fitting that on this 125th anniversary, the game will be played where it all started – on the campus of Livingstone College,” said Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., Livingstone College president.

The original Livingstone team was formally organized in the fall of 1892 and included J.W. Walker (captain); W.J. Trent (manager), who later became the longest-serving president of Livingstone to date; R.J. Rencher; Henry Rives; C.N. Garland; J.R. Dillard; J.B.A. Yelverton; Wade Hampton; Charles H. Patrick; J.J. Taylor; and F.H. Cummings.

According to the college newspaper’s 1930 edition, team members purchased a regulations football and uniforms, and the players equipped their street shoes with cleats, taking them off after practice. The young women of the school’s industrial department made the players’ uniform.

The teams played two 45-minute halves with Trent scoring Livingstone’s only touchdown on a fumble recovery. Biddle argued that the fumble was recovered out of bounds as the snow had covered the field’s markings. The official ruled in Biddle’s favor, allowing them to keep the 5-0 lead and giving them the victory.

“We’re always optimistic about the game,” said Coach Andre Springs, Livingstone’s Athletic Director. “But this is more than a game. The Commemorative Classic pays homage to those original teams that started a tradition of black college football in this country that has made a positive difference and blazed a mighty trail for student athletes.”

This year, Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith University celebrate 125th anniversary with a host of events following the Commemorative Classic football game that was played on November 4 at Livingstone College.

JCSU took the victory over Livingstone 27-14.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, January 13, 2017, five (5) historically black colleges and universities were honored as an White House healthy campus by President Barack Obama. As part of Obama’s Administration’s ongoing efforts to reach the remaining uninsured, the White House launched the Healthy Campus Challenge in September, hoping to engage college and university campuses in enrollment efforts.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act 20, 20 million more Americans have gained coverage, and the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. Access to affordable, quality health care is critically important for young people as they reach adulthood and enter the job market. It gives them peace of mind that allows them to focus on their studies, helps them stay healthy as they join the workforce, and is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.

More than 350 campuses from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico participated in the Challenge and carried out some enrollment activities, with nearly 100 campuses completing all the criteria. Out of that 100 campuses, 5 HBCU campuses made the list.

  • Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL)
  • Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)
  • Florida Memorial University (Miami Gardens, FL)
  • Livingstone College (Salisbury, NC)
  • Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

This past Friday (Jan. 13), nearly 60 leaders of those campuses attended the Healthy Campus Challenge Day at the White House, which was presided by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Congratulations to the following HBCU campuses who were designated as an White House Healthy Campus and we hope that your success continues in remaining to keeping HBCU students healthy and insured for the future years to come!

To read the full White House Healthy Campus Challenge Day press release, click here.