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


Mr. Robert J. Brietz, Chairman
Charlotte, NC

Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, Vice Chairman
Atlanta, GA

Ms. Kathleen E. Kennedy, Secretary
Vienna, VA

Mr. Benny Merrell, Treasurer
Waxhaw, NC



Mr. Samuel J. “Chip” Asbury, IV ’78, ’87 MBA
Waxhaw, NC
Financial Executive

Mr. Robert J. Brietz ’65
Charlotte, NC
Banking/Investment Executive

Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton ’77
Atlanta, GA

Mr. Steven K. Pugh
Asheboro, NC
Oil Executive

Mr. Russell C. Ring ’85
Alexandria, VA
Business/Government Affairs Executive

Mr. Marshall C. Rogers, Sr.
Albemarle, NC
Business Executive

Class of 2019

Rev. Julianne Brittain ’77
Mooresville, NC

Mrs. Jane Sidbury Crisco ’63
Asheboro, NC
Business Executive

Mrs. Anne Rendleman Daniel ’67
Greensboro, NC
Insurance Executive

Mr. Lawrence Groves ’66
Keswick, VA
Retired University Administrator

Mr. Albert L. Rose ’63
Matthews, NC
Business Consultant

Mr. Arch Y. Stokes
Pensacola, FL

Class of 2020

Mr. Roger L. Dick
Albemarle, NC
Banking/Investment Executive

Ms. Kathleen E. Kennedy '74
Vienna, VA
Business Consultant

Mr. Benny Merrell '65
Waxhaw, NC
Retired Business Executive

Rev. G. Scott Middleton
West Columbia, SC
Healthcare Executive

Mr. A. James Russell
Albemarle, NC
Business Executive

Dr. Terry V. Swicegood '66
Litchfield Park, AZ

Mr. Richard W. Thames ’75
Charlotte, NC
Newspaper Executive

Class of 2022

Mr. Bill R. Bedsole ’14
Cary, NC
Healthcare Executive

Mr. David B. Miller ’04
Charlotte, NC
Investment Executive

Emeriti (Life) Members

Dr. Christopher L. Bramlett
Albemarle, N.C.

Mr. Thomas M. Grady ’63 
Concord, N.C.

Dr. William H. Grigg ’93 (Hon.)
Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. H. Robert Herold, II
Pasadena, Calif.

Mr. Warren D. Knapp ’66 
Asheboro, N.C.

Dr. Richard L. Petty ’92 (Hon.)
Randleman, N.C.

Dr. George E. Thompson ’65, ’90 (Hon.)
Waynesville, N.C.

Mr. George P. Waters ’65 
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Ex-Officio Members

Mr. Tomy Aldridge ’75
Concord, N.C.
President, Pfeiffer University Alumni Association

Rev. Laura Hubbard Auten ’87 
Albemarle, N.C.
Uwharrie District Superintendent
The Western N.C. Conference of the UMC

Dr. David Hollar
Misenheimer, N.C.
Chair, Faculty Senate

Ms. Julia Willis
Climax, NC
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
Boone, N.C.
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.