President-elect addresses campus for first time

President-elect Dr. Herbert L. King, Jr. addressed a full auditorium of Lees-McRae students, faculty, staff, trustees and community for the first time during the official introduction event Friday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, following a vote by the Board of Trustees, it was announced that King would become the next president of the institution effective June 1, 2018. King will be the 16th president in the 118-year history of Lees-McRae.

The event gave King the opportunity to share his excitement for the next chapter in both his career and the future of the College. It also gave the Lees-McRae community the chance to meet King’s family who were in attendance.

“I am humbled and honored to see such a large crowd to welcome me and my family,” King said in his opening remarks. “We are excited to join this community and can’t wait to become Bobcats.”

King then thanked his family for their support as he pursued the opportunity.

“My family is my pride and my joy, they bring me an incredible amount of laughter and they keep me humble,” King said. “I want to thank you all for joining me in this journey,” an emotional King added.

Joining King on the Evans Auditorium stage was Board of Trustees chairman and search committee co-chair W. McNair Tornow and current President of Lees-McRae, Dr. Barry M. Buxton.

Each of the members on the stage addressed the element of change, and that King would usher in the new era on the horizon.

“Today is all about the next chapter in the life of not only Lees-McRae College, but also our next president,” Lees-McRae President, Dr. Barry M. Buxton said. “We are so excited that we have him and his family with us on campus.”

Tornow shared Buxton’s remarks, adding that, “this is an unbelievably momentous day for Lees-McRae, the community as well as outside the community. We felt that [King] was a perfect fit for [the college].”

During his address, King shared another defining characteristic of himself—his faith. He went on to share a quote from scripture to help describe how he plans to guide Lees-McRae in the future.

“I would like to work very hard to establish something that is found in Romans, ‘be devoted to one another in love, honor one another above yourselves,’” King said. “Our future can be a bright one, if we are mutually devoted to each other, our students and living by our mission.”

In his final moments on stage, King addressed the students in the room.

“I want you to know you are the single most important group of people on this campus. Your experience is of paramount importance to me, and I will work hard to ensure not only a vibrant academic program but also the feeling of this place being your second family, even long after you leave here,” he said.

Following King’s remarks, Buxton then presented King with a Lees-McRae shield lapel pin, a gesture to welcome the president-elect into the Lees-McRae family. Members of the Order of the Tower, the presidential honor society, then presented both King and his family with gifts on behalf of the college.

After, King and his family gathered in the King-Shivell Gallery to meet and talk with those in attendance. 

“My family and I were so excited to meet students, faculty, staff and the local community,” King said following the event. “The genuine warmth and welcome we received is even more positive affirmation that Lees-McRae is the tight-knit community we felt it would be.”

See photos from the event

By Nina MastandreaJanuary 23, 2018
AcademicsCommunityAlumniFamiliesCampus LifeAthletics