Retirement Announcement from President Armbrister

January 3, 2023


Dear JCSU Family,


Welcome back for the start of another rigorous and rewarding semester at Johnson C. Smith University! I hope you had some precious time to enjoy with your family and friends during the winter break as I did with mine. During that time, my family and I confirmed a decision of which I’d like to make you aware: That I will retire as President of JCSU in June. It is a bittersweet moment for me and my family because we love this university and the unparalleled opportunities HBCUs like ours provide for thousands of students across the country each year. Nonetheless, my contract is expiring at the end of this school year and I have decided to take the opportunity, at 66, to start a new chapter in my life, to pursue personal interests and spend time with family.


The JCSU Board of Trustees will launch a comprehensive search for my successor and is committed to finding the highest-caliber candidate to lead our esteemed and historic university. To assist in this transition, I will stay on as Senior Advisor to the new President until early 2024. That said, we still have much to do this semester as we continue to build on the unprecedented accomplishments we have achieved together.


One of our most important calls to action is the continued implementation of our strategic plan, adopted by the Board in June 2021, which now is poised to really accelerate the transformation of the university. The underpinnings for this acceleration are already in place: the over $80 million in gifts and pledges made to support JCSU as part of the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative; the talented and dedicated leadership team that has been assembled to complete the work; the incredible partnerships JCSU has established with companies that provide learning opportunities for our students and jobs when they graduate; and as announced earlier today, the recruitment of new deans for all four of our colleges, which continues the restructuring of our academic program to help enhance the education we deliver for more than 1,000 young people every year.


We still have many months to collaborate on our important work, but I’d like to express my gratitude for your support as I begin my sixth year as president, and for the passion and talent each of you contributes to making JCSU such a special place. It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve the JCSU family. I look forward to talking with you more throughout the year, and I wish you all the best in 2023 and beyond.


With gratitude,

President Clarence D. Armbrister signature




Clarence D. Armbrister, J.D.