Lily McNair was installed as Tuskegee University’s first woman president in the university’s 137-year history.
McNair joins the likes of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Patterson as president of one of the most prominent historically black universities in America.
McNair was inducted on March 15, and takes on the job after nearly seven years of service in academic affairs at Wagner College, a private college in Staten Island, New York.
Local and state leaders, such as Sen. Doug Jones and U.S. Rep. Terry Sewell, were among the attendees at her inauguration.
She wants to promote excellence throughout the campus.
“My goal is to work very closely with the mayor and others who are interested in redeveloping and revitalizing the city of Tuskegee so that we have wonderful relationships in terms of town and county.”
When asked about the significance of her being the first female president of the university, McNair said she was more concerned with being a leader of Tuskegee and enacting change than she was about setting records.
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“You know, when I applied for this position, I didn’t think, ‘What would happen if I got in this position as the first woman president?’” McNair said. “I was so focused on being the best leader for Tuskegee.”
She also wants to work with alumni and the local community.
“Tuskegee is the No. 1 employer of Macon County, so I know that there is a lot of economic drive that’s here,” McNair said.
She said she believes her appointment as president spoke volumes about the world and that it is ready for female leadership.
“I’m excited to be a role model for girls and young women and women who want to know that no matter how big their dreams are, if you dream boldly and dream big, you can achieve all things,” McNair said.
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