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About President Javaune Adams-Gaston

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gastonis the seventh President of Norfolk State University. She began her tenure on June 24, 2019. As President, she is committed to ensuring that Norfolk State University fulfills its mission as an HBCU for the modern world, a university grounded by its heritage, focused on the future, and deeply committed to student success. Her vision is student success, opportunity access and affordability, and growth and sustainability. A strong advocate for collaboration and developing strategic partnerships with local, regional, and state stakeholders, Dr. Adams-Gaston is committed to cultivating strong connections with alumni and the community.

During her first year at Norfolk State University, the COVID-19 pandemic created multiple challenges for the nation and the world. President. Adams-Gaston worked together with her team to continue to move the institution forward despite the issues created as a result of the pandemic. This led to the university achieving multiple successes. The goals of access, opportunity, and success for NSU students remained her focus even during these unprecedented times. Under President Adams-Gaston’s management, Norfolk State University has successfully achieved the status of a U.S. News and World Report 2021, Top 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) designation. Attained 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by its major accrediting body, The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This reaffirmation underscores the University’s strength, stability, and forward momentum. Enrollment increased to a six-year high in 2019, to 5,600 students. This included the largest freshman class in many years, 1,200 freshmen (FY20). The University has realized record high operating revenues 104% above projection, the highest in the history of Norfolk State. A new 740-bed state of the art residence complex was opened.

Since President Adams-Gaston’s arrival Norfolk State University has also expanded its online academic program curriculums to include a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity and an online Master’s degree in Cyber Psychology, which is the first of its kind in the nation. The University opened the NSU Innovation Center in Downtown Norfolk, VA, a learning space that integrates pedagogy and technology to help grow and serve as a channel for minority entrepreneurs. Norfolk State University has developed the Center for African American Public Policy, a first of its kind in Virginia which “serves to educate the public at large, empower minority communities and assist lawmakers on alternative ideas of how to solve issues that communities of color face”. Under her watch, Cybersecurity education and research has been a leader nationally and been designated as a Department of Defense Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity and Department of Energy Cybersecurity Consortium Leader. Norfolk State University has received national recognition and visibility for the International Cyber Psychology Conference, the Voice of America’s 1619 Commemoration radio broadcast, the US Senatorial Debate and recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding as part of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Tech Talent Pipeline initiative and students are participants in the Virginia College Affordability Network. Dr. Adams-Gaston has been successful in acquiring multiple donations including a transformational gift of over $40 million from Mackenzie Scott, the largest single donor gift in the history of NSU. In addition, this year, the University has secured grants in excess of over $7.8 million for scholarships and financial support to enhance student success. Some of the partnerships include Sentara Healthcare- Public Health Program, Appalachian School of Law 3+3, Academic Partnerships, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, USAA, and the Black Ambition Prize and many others.

President Adams-Gaston is a higher education professional and scholar with more than 30 years of experience at nationally known research universities. Prior to joining Norfolk State University, Dr. Adams-Gaston served as senior vice president at The Ohio State University and led 40 departments in the Office of Student Life annually impacting over 60,000 students. With her selection in 2009, Dr. Adams-Gaston became The Ohio State’s first female African American Vice President for Student Life. She came to The Ohio University State from the University of Maryland, where she served in a variety of administrative and faculty positions. Her experience included serving at University of Maryland, College Park as associate dean of academic affairs, faculty member, executive director of the Career Center, equity administrator, psychologist and first UMCP African American female assistant athletic director (Division 1) and as an Athletic Certification Peer Reviewer for the NCAA. Trained as a psychologist, Dr. Adams-Gaston spent more than 25 years in private practice. She also served as a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. She was an affiliate assistant professor at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Adams-Gaston earned a bachelor's degree in biology, psychology, and general science, at the University of Dubuque; a master's degree in psychology at Loras College; and a Ph.D. in psychology at Iowa State University. She considers her greatest achievement to be her family. She is married to Dmitri Gaston, MCRP, who served as a city planner and management analyst in Washington, D.C. for over 25 years and as a city planner, including creating diversity and inclusion education at The Ohio State University. They have three adult children, and they are extremely proud of them.