Lenoir-Rhyne University President Fred Whitt is set to stay in his position at least another six years after the university’s board of trustees approved a contract extension.
The new contract was awarded in November but the university made the announcement Wednesday.
The university board also passed a resolution in support of Whitt, who has served as Lenoir-Rhyne’s president since 2017.
“His authentic and transparent leadership style has resonated well among the LR community and constituencies,” board Chairwoman Madeleine Dassow said via the statement. “In addition, he has developed very positive collaborative partnerships within our community and has been an advocate in supporting the entire Unifour region. We are delighted he has agreed to remain as our president for the next six years.”
The university statement credited Whitt with achievements including building a “record high” $145 million endowment and establishing the LR Promise program to promote college accessibility.
Whitt’s tenure has also included difficult times and controversies. As the university’s leader during the COVID-19 pandemic, he oversaw the implementation of a vaccine mandate, which attracted protest from some members of the university community last year.
Whitt has also faced criticism from a group of former Lenoir-Rhyne women’s basketball players who say the university retaliated against them for voicing concerns over racial justice. He was named in a lawsuit filed by the group in July 2021.
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.