Meet President Colleen Perry Keith
Colleen Perry Keith, Ph.D., is Pfeiffer's 10th — and first female — president.
Dr. Keith’s appointment was approved by the board of trustees after a lengthy search by an internal committee that included representatives of the trustees, alumni board, and key academic and administrative departments.
Dr. Keith, who previously led Spartanburg Methodist College, lives on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer campus in the president’s residence with her husband, Barry, and their two dogs, Pepper and Daisy. She is heavily involved in the community and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, as well as the National Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, she's a member of the Board of Trustees for the Stanly County Community Foundation.
“Colleges and universities are meant to be vital parts of their communities,” Dr. Keith said. “Meaningful relationships between higher education institutions and their local business and nonprofit counterparts are important to the economic health and stability of those organizations and the entire community.”
Dr. Keith holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from State University of New York, University Center at 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 in Ohio.
Executive Leadership Team
Sharon Bard – Director of Facilities
Dr. Tracy Espy – Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Robert Fuzy – Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Twyla Kidd – Director of Human Resources
Ron Laffitte – Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Dr. Christopher Boe – Faculty Senate Chair
Dr. Kenneth Russell – Vice President for Digital Transformation and CIO
Cathy Hurd – Vice President for Enrollment Management
Board of Trustees
OFFICERS OF THE BOARD
Mr. Robert J. Brietz, Chairman
Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, Vice Chairman
Ms. Kathleen E. Kennedy, Secretary
Mr. Benny Merrell, Treasurer
CLASS OF 2018
Mr. Samuel J. “Chip” Asbury, IV ’78, ’87 MBA
Mr. Robert J. Brietz ’65
Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton ’77
Mr. Steven K. Pugh
Mr. Russell C. Ring ’85
Business/Government Affairs Executive
Mr. Marshall C. Rogers, Sr.
Class of 2019
Rev. Julianne Brittain ’77
Mrs. Jane Sidbury Crisco ’63
Mrs. Anne Rendleman Daniel ’67
Mr. Lawrence Groves ’66
Retired University Administrator
Mr. Albert L. Rose ’63
Mr. Arch Y. Stokes
Class of 2020
Mr. Roger L. Dick
Ms. Kathleen E. Kennedy '74
Mr. Benny Merrell '65
Retired Business Executive
Rev. G. Scott Middleton
West Columbia, SC
Mr. A. James Russell
Dr. Terry V. Swicegood '66
Litchfield Park, AZ
Mr. Richard W. Thames ’75
Class of 2022
Mr. Bill R. Bedsole ’14
Mr. David B. Miller ’04
Emeriti (Life) Members
Dr. Christopher L. Bramlett
Mr. Thomas M. Grady ’63
Dr. William H. Grigg ’93 (Hon.)
Mr. H. Robert Herold, II
Mr. Warren D. Knapp ’66
Dr. Richard L. Petty ’92 (Hon.)
Dr. George E. Thompson ’65, ’90 (Hon.)
Mr. George P. Waters ’65
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Mr. Tomy Aldridge ’75
President, Pfeiffer University Alumni Association
Rev. Laura Hubbard Auten ’87
Uwharrie District Superintendent
The Western N.C. Conference of the UMC
Dr. David Hollar
Chair, Faculty Senate
Ms. Julia Willis
President, United Methodist Women
The Western NC Conference of the UMC
Bishop Paul Leeland
Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The Western N.C. Conference of the UMC
Mrs. Della Daniel Raines ’74
Surfside Beach, SC
President-Elect, Pfeiffer University Alumni Association
Ms. Nancy Reigel
Treasurer, United Methodist Women
The Western NC Conference of the UMC
Committee Chairs of the Board:
Academic Experience: Joy Melton
Advancement: Al Rose
Enrollment & Marketing: Larry Groves
FAIR: Benny Merrell
Governance & Trusteeship: Rusty Ring
A History of Leadership: Pfeiffer’s Past Presidents
Strong leaders have influenced Pfeiffer's success over the years, taking the university from its original status as a day school through its years as a junior college and college, before becoming the unified, multi-campus university it is today. They are:
Dr. Wick Shafter Sharp
President of Pfeiffer Junior College 1933-43
Achievements: Construction of the President's Home, Cline, Goode, Merner and Rowe Halls (1935); Jane Freeman Hall (1937); Washington Hall and Henry Pfeiffer Chapel (1942); named Stanly County Man of the Year (1936).
Mr. C. M. (Chi) Waggoner
President of Pfeiffer Junior College 1943-53
Achievements: Construction of Mitchell Gym; significant endowment growth, curricular improvements for transfer and terminal programs for liberal, commercial and industrial arts and home economics.
Dr. J. Lem Stokes II
President of Pfeiffer Junior College 1953-55; President of Pfeiffer College 1955-68
Achievements: Presided over the first commencement after Pfeiffer became a four-year institution. Construction of Harris Science Building; Stokes Student Center; G.A. Pfeiffer Library; Kluftinger, Foote, Plyler, Vaughn and Ervin Halls and James Apartments. Pfeiffer recognized as one of the fastest-growing private colleges in the country (1955-58); second college to receive accreditation on its first application from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (1957); voted by University Senate of the Methodist Church to membership (1960). Stokes resigned in Oct. 1968 to lead the 1968-72 Quadrennial Emphasis of the United Methodist Church: A New Church in a New World.
Dr. Jack J. Early
President of Pfeiffer College 1968-71
Achievements: Construction of Merner Health and Physical Education Center.
Dr. Douglas R. Sasser
President of Pfeiffer College 1971-78
Achievements: Grew endowment to $2.3 million. Led the Circle of Faith campaign, which generated $7.5 million for scholarships, faculty development and on-campus programs. Established three endowed chairmanships. Opened Charlotte campus with undergraduate studies in criminal justice. Following his time at Pfeiffer, Dr. Sasser was named the first layman president of Scarritt College (1978).
Dr. Cameron West
President of Pfeiffer College 1978-88
Achievements: Professor of education at Pfeiffer 1956-60 and academic dean 1960-66; served as president of North Carolina Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and helped found the National Association of Independent Colleges. Grace and Cameron West Art Gallery/Misenheimer Campus named in his honor. Named honorary member of the Pfeiffer class of 1966, honorary alumnus and awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Pfeiffer. After retiring from Pfeiffer, served as interim president of Brevard College; was instrumental in the creation of the North Carolina Legislative Tuition Grant, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians to afford higher education at the state's independent colleges and universities.
Dr. Zane Eargle
President of Pfeiffer University 1988-98
Achievements: Led the transition in status from college to university and the related extension of programs to surrounding areas, most notably, Charlotte. Oversaw the debut of the Knapp Tennis Center, the first new construction on campus in 25 years. Created with Richard Petty and served as honorary campaign chairman for the Legacy of Tomorrow campaign. Other accomplishments include serving as superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system and as associate dean, School of Education, UNC Chapel-Hill.
Dr. Charles Ambrose
President of Pfeiffer University 1998-2010
Achievements: Led the 21st Century Transformation Plan, designed to improve the Misenheimer campus; renovation of Mitchell Gym (now Knapp Center), Jane Freeman Hall, Henry Pfeiffer Chapel, Stokes Student Center, Administration Building, Cline and Washington Halls; construction of Harris Science Annex and New Hall. Strengthened ties between Pfeiffer and the United Methodist Church, with a goal that Pfeiffer be recognized as "the model church-related institution preparing servant leaders for lifelong learning." Opened Francis Center for Servant Leadership (2000); created connections with AmeriCorps; established Bonner Leaders program.
Mr. Mike Miller
President of Pfeiffer University 2010-14
Achievements: Led the university during its 10-year SACS accreditation in 2012. Added undergraduate programs in nursing and financial fraud and fraud examinations. Added a graduate program in financial fraud investigations. Oversaw the expansion of the graduate program in marriage and family therapy to the Raleigh-Durham campus. Promoted the establishment of The Pfeiffer Journey, a unique mentoring program that helps students assimilate to college life and prepares them for lifelong success, as a core part of Pfeiffer’s culture. Over $5.3 million in enhancements on all three campuses.
Dr. Jerry Boone
Interim President of Pfeiffer University, Aug. 2014-June 2015
Achievements: Dr. Boone, who served Pfeiffer College as dean of student affairs and associate professor of English from 1969-82, returned to serve as interim president for a year.