9th February, 2024 -- The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Board of Trustees voted to appoint Dr. Safiya George to serve as the University’s sixth president at a meeting held Wednesday afternoon following an extensive presidential selection process. Dr. George will succeed current president, Dr. David Hall, whose contract will expire on July 31, after serving the University with distinction since 2009. Dr. George will assume her role as UVI’s new president in August 2024.
Expressing her enthusiasm for the appointment, Dr. George stated, "Becoming a President has been a longstanding dream and goal for many reasons, including my love for interdisciplinary engagement and my keen ability to foster collaboration and productivity among scholars, students, staff, and others from different disciplines." She continued, “As a servant leader, I am confident I will be an effective President for the University of the Virgin Islands and will remain humble and grounded with a sincere desire to improve outcomes and the lives of students, faculty, staff, and the community.”
With over a decade of academic and executive level organizational leadership experience, Dr. George has a proven track record of advancing academic success, research, innovation and efficiency in higher education. As the current Dean of Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Dr. George oversees approximately 1,400 students and programs on three campuses. She has successfully led the college's two nurse-led health centers, including the Memory and Wellness Center and the Federally Qualified Health Center Look-A-Like Community Health Center. Under her leadership, the college has thrived as an international leader in advancing caring science.
UVI Board of Trustees Chairman Henry Smock expressed his excitement about Dr. George's appointment, stating, "We are thrilled to have Dr. George join the UVI community as our new president following a rigorous selection process. Her leadership experience, visionary and innovative approach, combined with her familiarity with UVI and the local and geographic regions it serves, make her the ideal candidate to lead our institution into the future."
Originally from the Virgin Islands, Dr. George received both her associate’s and Bachelor of Nursing degrees at UVI. She continued her education at Emory University where she earned a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in HIV/AIDS and Oncology followed by a Ph.D. in Nursing Research.
Prior to her leadership roles at Florida Atlantic University, Dr. George served as the Assistant Dean for Research and the Director of Scholarly Affairs at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. She also held various faculty positions at the University of Alabama and Emory University.
In February 2023, the presidential search committee launched an international search to fill the position of president and in November hosted the top three candidates on both campuses in open forums. “I must commend the members of the search committee for undertaking the enormous task of finding our next leader and facilitating this process over the course of 12 months,” said Chairman Smock.
Dr. George's appointment comes after the 14-year tenure of President Hall, whose contract expires in July 2024. “We will remain eternally grateful to Dr. Hall for his exemplary leadership and commitment to this University’s success and exponential growth for so many years,” said Smock. “As UVI looks to the future, we are pleased to welcome Dr. George knowing she is uniquely qualified to address the many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and propel this University forward in our ongoing quest for excellence.”
About the University of the Virgin Islands:
The University of the Virgin Islands is a public, co-ed, land-grant institution located is the U.S. Virgin Islands and the only HBCU (Historically Black College and University) located outside the continental United States. With campuses on St. Thomas and St. Croix, and an extension campus on St. Martin, UVI offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs, fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment.
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