Leslie N. Pollard was reelected president of Oakwood University at a meeting of the Corporate Members of the Oakwood University Corporation on June 16, 2022. In the meeting at the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama, United States, the Oakwood University Board of Trustees voted overwhelmingly to extend Pollard’s term through June 2026.
Pollard and his administrative team have prayerfully and skillfully led the institution through the COVID-19 pandemic, a cybersecurity attack on the institution, and many local, national, and global challenges, including social injustice, inflation, and declining higher education enrollment. Despite these challenges, Oakwood University has experienced growth in enrollment, new graduate programs, financial stability, increased support of alumni and friends, and community outreach and service partnerships.
During the past five years, the university opened the Oakwood Farms Market in 2020, and the Community Health Action Center in 2021. Through a partnership with the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, renovations were made to historic Peterson Hall.
“At a time when higher education, particularly faith-based education, is challenged by turbulent crosswinds,” Pollard said, “Oakwood continues to stand as a tower of academic excellence, spiritual leadership, and social consciousness. My deepest thanks are extended to our talented administrators, our dedicated faculty, our committed staff, and our inspiring students.”
North American Division president G. Alexander Bryant said leaders are grateful “for the tremendous leadership Dr. Pollard has exemplified under extremely challenging circumstances such as COVID 19, cyberattack, and negotiating the turbulent waters of higher education in an ever-changing world and landscape.
“We are thankful to God for how His hand has guided this institution over the last several years,” Bryant, who is also chair of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees, added.
Guided by the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, Pollard shared that “across the next five years, we will build our students a state-of-the-art health and wellness center. We will launch cutting-edge academic programs and expand our graduate-level offerings, and we will continue our moves toward reducing institutional dependency on tuition as a means of primary revenue,” he said.
Pollard concluded, “I am deeply grateful to continue serving my alma mater and to the Corporate Members, and Board of Trustees for their support.” He praised the Oakwood University employees for their dedication, flexibility, and hard work to serve students’ academic, financial, spiritual, and other needs each day. He frequently quotes one of his favorite African proverbs: “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Pollard extended his gratitude to the students by saying, “With over 50 countries represented at Oakwood, what a privilege to serve some of the finest students in the world! Students and their success are at the center of our joy, motivation, and purpose.”
Oakwood University’s newest slogan for recruitment is, “Success Has an Address: Oakwood University.” Pollard is the 11th president to serve at the only Seventh-day Adventist Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in North America.