Board Selects 7th NSU President

The Norfolk State University Board of Visitors, on Friday, Feb. 22, named Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston as the 7th President of Norfolk State University. Dr. Adams-Gaston, a native of Washington D.C., is expected to begin at Norfolk State in June.

With more than 30 years’ of higher education experience, Dr. Adams-Gaston has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of students through her work at nationally recognized institutions of higher learning. At those institutions — the University of Maryland, College Park and The Ohio State University — she was a pioneer. The first African-American assistant athletic director (Division 1) and the first female African-American Vice President for Student Life. Her success has come through her ability and commitment to building meaningful, productive relationships that lay the foundation for collaboration, community-building and progress and success.

Dr. Adams-Gaston serves as senior vice president at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She leads the Office of Student Life, where she has oversight of more than 40 operations, affecting more than 66,000 students’ learning and development. Dr. Adams-Gaston has been at the state’s largest university since 2009, and was the first African-American Vice President for Student Life.

NSU Rector Joan G. Wilmer said the Board believes Dr. Adams-Gaston is a proven and effective leader who will guide the University into a new era of success. She said some of the new president’s key priorities will be to focus on workforce development, improving the university’s graduation rate and establishing public and private partnerships that will solidify Norfolk State University as a global institution.

“The Board of Visitors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston as the university’s seventh president,” Wilmer said. “Dr. Adams-Gaston is a thoughtful, engaging and collaborative leader who cares about student achievement. She is the right person for the job and will help make Norfolk State a stronger institution.”

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake also congratulated Dr. Adams-Gaston for being selected as NSU’s seventh president.

“We have appreciated and been lifted up by the focus, dedication, quality and inspired leadership of Dr. J,” Drake said. “She has made Ohio State a better place and I am confident she will do the same for Norfolk State. We wish her the very best.”

Prior to her work in the Midwest, Dr. Adams-Gaston worked at The University of Maryland, College Park, where she worked in a variety of administrative and faculty positions including associate dean of academic affairs, executive director of the institution’s Career Center and assistant athletic director.

She has a bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology and general science from the University of Dubuque, a master’s degree in psychology from Loras College and a doctoral degree in psychology from Iowa State University. She is married to Dmitri Gaston, who currently works as a planner at The Ohio State University. The couple has three adult children.

The NSU Presidential Search Committee, a 22-person team made up of students, faculty and university stakeholders, selected Dr. Adams-Gaston from a pool of more than 70 candidates. The BOV retained search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc., to work with the committee. The committee was co-chaired by BOV Vice Rector Dr. Deborah M. DiCroce and BOV Member Larry Griffith.