Jarvis Christian College, the Hawkins-based institution struggling with concerns over finances and accreditation, has named a new president.
Lester C. Newman will become the 12th president in the college’s history on April 2, the school said Wednesday. He will replace Cornell Thomas, who resigned earlier this year.
“This presidential selection, along with Dr. Newman’s track record, will enable us to achieve academic excellence and student success,” the Jarvis board of trustees said in a prepared statement.
Newman currently serves as executive assistant to the president and is director of administrative management programs at Wiley College in Marshall. Before joining Wiley, he was vice president for academic affairs and associate vice president for development at Lane College in Jackson, Tenn. He also has taught and held administrative positions at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Miss.; and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C.
Cornell’s resignation in early January came weeks after the college’s accrediting agency announced it was placing Jarvis on a six-month warning for not being in compliance with several core requirements, mostly related to finances and audits.
Jarvis received its warning because it was not compliant in areas of financial resources, institutional effectiveness (educational program), financial stability and financial aid audits, according to the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges. The college also did not submit “a timely audit,” the commission said.
The commission said its standards expect an institution to show it has a sound financial base and a financial history that shows stability; submits timely audits; and identifies and evaluates outcomes and uses the findings to improve its educational programs.
The commission’s board will reconsider Jarvis’ accreditation status in June. The board can remove the warning; continue the warning for six months; place the college on probation for six months, authorize a special committee and request an additional report; or remove the college’s accreditation with the commission.