Press Releases

First Woman Ordained in Saint Augustine’s University’s Historic Chapel

Before a congregation of nearly 200 people, Mother Nita Charlene Johnson Byrd was ordained as priest at Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) Historic Chapel. The Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the eleventh Bishop of North Carolina, served as the ordaining bishop for the ordination ceremony. The Right Reverend Anne Hodges-Copple, Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina, was the celebrant and the Reverend Dr. Sally Harbold gave the sermon.

Ordination is the sacramental rite in which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those being made bishops, priests, and deacons through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops.

Following the Reverend Harbold’s beautifully delivered sermon, the Right Reverend Curry shared with the congregation that Mother Nita is the first priest to be ordained in the Historic Chapel in more than 80 years and the first woman chaplain to serve at the University. “This has been a long time coming!”

When asked how she felt after the ordination ceremony, Mother Nita Charlene Johnson Byrd, who prefers to be called Mother Nita, stated, “I have a vocation to serve God through serving God’s people. All who are part of Christ’s church are called to service. I pray that we will live in imitation of Christ’s loving example to the world.”

Throughout its history, SAU has maintained a close and enduring relationship with the Episcopal Church whose mission is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” Several bishops and rectors have been Saint Augustine’s University board of trustee members, with more than one-third of all-black priests in the Episcopal Church being graduates of the university including three African American bishops.

Saint Augustine’s University was founded under the name of Saint Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute through the joint efforts of the Freedmen’s Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church and a group of clergy and laymen of the Diocese of North Carolina in 1867.

During the ceremony, Bishop Curry, priests and SAU administrators and students presented Mother Nita with gifts.

Bishop Curry of North Carolina presented Mother Nita with water and asked her to help him baptize. A stole was presented by the Reverend Dr. Cureton Johnson of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. and the Rev. Dr. William Turner, Duke Divinity School, vested Mother Nita according to the holy order of priests. The Right Reverend Stephanie Allen, dean of the Raleigh Convocation of the Diocese of N.C. presented her with the Canons to share in the councils of the dioceses.

SAU President Dianne Boardley Suber stated, “It is a pleasure and honor to be a part of this monumental occasion.” Suber presented Mother Nita with a key to the Historic Chapel to let the doors of the chapel be open to all people. Dr. Roland Bullard, SAU’s vice president for Student Development and Services, presented Mother Nita with a Book of Common Prayer and ask her to be a woman of prayer. Ernest Swan, a member of the Christian Fellowship Organization, and Ashley Nelson, president of the SAU Student Government Association, presented her with holy oil and asked her to be a healer and reconciler. Chapel members Clarence Branch and Doris Holloway presented Mother Nita with bread and wine asking her to break the bread and bless the cup.

The chapel came alive with the beausitful sound from the University Choir, under the direction of Dr. Eric Poole, assistant professor of Music.

Mother Nita received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and her master of divinity degree from Duke University’s Divinity School. A native of Raleigh, NC, Mother Nita grew up attending the Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Wake Leadership Academies to Partner with Saint Augustine’s University to Provide Students with College-level Curriculum

The Wake County Board of Education took its first formal step on October 15 to secure Saint Augustine’s University of Raleigh as the college partner for the Wake Leadership Academies.

“This partnership creates an exciting and rare opportunity for our high school students to attend college-level courses on campus, where they will be exposed to the rigor and academic culture of a four-year university,” WCPSS Superintendent Jim Merrill said. “This collaboration will allow our school system and Saint Augustine’s to fulfill a mutual mission to provide students with the skills, leadership development, and pathways for academic and personal success.”

The partnership will allow Leadership Academy students to enroll in university courses to pursue the Early College portion of their rigorous academy experience, through which they may earn a high school diploma while also earning transferable college credit.

“Traditionally, Saint Augustine’s University has provided access to education, opportunities and programs for a widely diverse population of young people. This partnership is a perfect fit for our long range goals as an institution,” said Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber, president of Saint Augustine’s University. “Historically black colleges and universities will continue to play a critical role in the education of a significant percentage of the population who are both positioned and postured to become effective leaders and change agents in this rapidly changing world.”

Beginning as early as their sophomore year, students will participate in the Saint Augustine’s Transformative Education Program, a four-year, competency-based curriculum that spans all academic programs at the university.

“As an Early College partner, Saint Augustine’s has an inclusive vision for our students and our schools,” said Teresa Pierrie, principal of the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy. “I believe they see the academies becoming a part of the university and this will translate into even greater opportunities for our students.”

Representatives from WCPSS and Saint Augustine’s University have been working together since March to develop the partnership and establish the Wake Leadership Academies as an Early College High School.

“In working with the team from Saint Augustine’s for the past six months, I can say without equivocation that this institution is the perfect fit for the Early College component for our school,” said Ian Solomon, principal of the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy.

The partnership with Saint Augustine’s University will also allow the academies to add a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focus to the curriculum beginning in 2014-2015. To enhance the STEM curriculum, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will create learning opportunities for students and professional development for faculty at the leadership academies.

Schools will be providing updates to academy parents as the Wake County Board of Education and Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees work together in the coming months to finalize the formal partnership.

Saint Augustine’s University Students March to Cast their Vote

March to the Polls

The sun was not shining and the weather was breezy and brisk but that did not keep more than 300 Saint Augustine’s University students from marching to the polls to cast their vote in the local election. The Student Government Association in collaboration with Common Cause spearheaded a march to the local polling site located at the Tarboro Road Community Center, 121 N. Tarboro Street, Raleigh. Before the march commenced, administrators, students, faculty and staff assembled outside Boyer Building to hear from President Dianne Boardley Suber.

“I am so proud to see all of you here today to voice your vote,” Suber said. “Today, you have the right to vote because of courageous individuals who fought and died to ensure that your voices are heard.”

Ashley Nelson, president of the Student Government Association, expressed why it was important for the student body to vote.

“Often times people only vote for presidential elections but voting today is just as important,” Nelson said. “We are voting on issues that directly affect us as young college students. We must always remember that our vote counts.”

WAUG Radio Station Launches Student Radio Shows

Lounge 22

Saint Augustine’s University’s radio station WAUG 750 AM has launched three student radio shows. The topics of the shows include politics, sports, relationships and music. According to General Manager Tony Middleton, the shows have already generated an audience.

“Our focus is to provide our students with real-life experiences in radio broadcasting,” Middleton said. “The students are producing, editing and hosting his or her show. The radio market is very competitive and I feel that this is an opportunity for our students to prepare for the world of broadcasting.”

The names of the shows are ICON, We Are on the Radio and Lounge 22. Below is a description of each show.

• ICON - ICON, a radio show for students by students, stands for In-Depth College On-Time News. The purpose of the show is for students to have their voices heard. Everything discussed on the ICON radio show is from a college student's perspective. The topics are centered on relationships, sports, politics, celebrity gossip, college and campus life and much more. The hosts of the show are Clayshawn Moore, Jacq Griffin, and Shavona Hill. ICON airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m.

• We Are on the Radio - This show is hosted by Carlos Jenkins. We Are on the Radio is a show that recognizes local artists within the Triangle area. The genre of music includes Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B and many more. We Are on the Radio airs Monday through Friday at 8 p.m.

• Lounge 22 - Lounge 22 is a show that aims to clear the thoughts and worries of days past and bring back the sweet memories of the old. Through the genre of R&B music, Lounge 22 reaches back from yesterday's generation as well as today's generation. Through songs, Lounge 22 aims to bring out those memories of your first love, your first kiss, your first break-up, etc. Aside from the music, Lounge 22 offers o like to talk about different relationship topics as well as various scenarios. The hosts are John "Jnew" Newman, Vena "Vena E" Excell, Jaquan "Quanviutton" Leary and Chrissy Roberson. Lounge 22 airs Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

School of Business and Technology Establishes a Business Advisory Council

SAU

Dr. F. Perna Carter, dean of the School of Business and Technology, has established a Business Advisory Council. According to Carter, the mission of the Business Advisory Council is to create a strategic partnership between the business community and the Saint Augustine’s University School of Business and Technology to facilitate a learning environment which develops leaders for the global world of work. The Business Advisory Council will assist in the planning, evaluation, and strengthening of the programs offered by the School of Business and Technology.

“The Business Advisory Council members represent a wide spectrum of the business community including professionals in accounting, business administration, retail, real estate management, sport management, advertising, banking, and management consulting,” Carter said. “The Council will be chaired by an industry member, who will be nominated by members of the Business Advisory Council. I will serve as liaison between the industry representatives, college officials, and as appropriate, the community at large.”

Members of the advisory council are as follows:

- Ervin Allen, Entrepreneur

- Michelle Barrow, Broker/Owner Keaton Barrow Realty, Inc.

- Creighton Blackwell, Vice President, Branch Network and Community Engagement Coastal Federal Credit Union

- Karen Boone, Broker/Owner State Farm Agency

- Ida Bracken, Bracken and Associates, Inc.

- Shelli Dallacqua, President Shelten Media, LLC

- Charlotte DiLeonardo, Founder and CEO Zebra Print Solutions

- Carrie Peele, Entrepreneur/Owner Blue Diamond Limousines & Sedans, LLC

- Lorraine G. Stephens, President and CEO L. Stephens & Associates, Inc.

- Bill Warner, Executive Director EntreDot

- Jeff Weatherspoon, CPM President Banner Real Estate Services, Inc.

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