Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy of Johnson C. Smith & Shaw University to be honored in 2018 CIAA Hall of Fame


Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy served as the 12th President of Johnson C. Smith University (1994-2008) and the 14th and 16th President of Shaw University (2009-2010; 2011-2013). The first female President in the CIAA, she holds the title of President Emerita at both institutions and is known for her institutional management and fundraising efforts for academic and athletic deliverance. Dr. Yancy marked her 14.5-year tenure at JCSU raising over $145 million through two significant capital campaigns and increased the University’s endowment by nearly $50 million.  Under her leadership, JCSU was the first Historically Black College or University to receive the Genius Grant (1996) and become an IBM “Thinkpad” University. Additionally, a new technology center, library, and track/stadium/academic complex was constructed under her watch.

In one year at Shaw, Dr. Yancy stabilized the financial state of the University with the securement of a $31 million federal loan, headed the restructure and refinance of debt, achieved a balanced budget, raised Shaw’s Composite Financial Index (CFI) score to a positive number, and recruited one of the largest freshmen classes in the history of the school. She retired in September in 2010, but returned in 2011 after the campus had been dismantled by a tornado earlier that year. Within 12 months, Dr. Yancy returned campus back to functionality with all buildings back in use. In her final tenure, she also led the University through five (5) program accreditation reviews.

Dr. Yancy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Social Science from Johnson C. Smith University, a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Atlanta University. Dr. Yancy’s legacy is marked at both JCSU and Shaw with buildings named in her honor.

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