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Voorhees names interim president; Evans leading West Liberty University
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Voorhees names interim president; Evans leading West Liberty University

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Voorhees College announced Tuesday that one of its own will serve as the college's interim president.

Dr. Ronnie Hopkins has assumed the role of interim president of the college following the departure of Dr. W. Franklin Evans, who has taken another job.

“I truly look forward to providing students, faculty, staff, alumni and all other college constituents with dynamic leadership, guidance and direction in support of our vision of academic excellence and distinction,” Hopkins said in a press release.

“I offer my sincere congratulations and blessings for continued success to Dr. W. Franklin Evans, the college’s ninth president, as God has enlarged his territory and as he begins a new chapter of his career trajectory," Hopkins said. "President Evans has been an extraordinary leader for Voorhees and a remarkable mentor to me.”

Before serving as interim president, Hopkins served as the institution’s provost, vice president for academic affairs and accreditation liaison. He is a tenured professor of English.

Evans took the helm of West Virginia's West Liberty University on Jan. 1, becoming the first African American president in the university’s 183-year history.

The Voorhees Board of Trustees has begun its search for the college’s 10th president.

Hopkins said he will strive to keep the spirit of college founder Elizabeth Evelyn Wright alive and well.

"During my tenure as interim president, I will be highly engaged and my work will be intentional to ensure that Voorhees College continues to rise in its higher education ranks and continues to be a place where students ‘Begin. Believe. Become,’" Hopkins said.

Hopkins has served in public and higher education for nearly 30 years. He has authored over $30 million in grant awards to advance higher education priorities, according to a college press release.

He serves as a reaffirmation committee evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Possible Worlds Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides career help for people impacted by homelessness, incarceration and HIV/AIDS.

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Hopkins has also conducted international scholarly research and presentations in West Africa, Central Africa, South America, China, Mexico, Jamaica and South Africa.

Prior to arriving at Voorhees, Hopkins served at Benedict College as the founding dean of the Freshman Institute and the School of Honors. Additionally, he served as the professor of English and chair in the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Mass Communication.

Hopkins also served as dean of the School of Continuing Education, Graduate Studies and Lifelong Learning.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a secondary teaching certification from North Carolina Central University.

He also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in English from Michigan State University.

Additionally, he completed postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from Saint Monica University in Buea, Cameroon, Central West Africa.

Hopkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Bible Way Church of Atlas Road and the Class of 2020 Executive Leadership Academy sponsored by the American Academic Leadership Institute.

Evans served as Voorhees president for the past four years.

Under Evans’ presidency, the college implemented its fully online degree program in July 2019. The college also expanded its online educational certificate program offerings through the Office of Continuing Education.

The college unveiled a new surface at its track and field complex in August 2019.

In September 2020, Evans helped lead the college to a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with Savanah River Nuclear Site designed to increase career opportunities for students at historically Black colleges and universities.

Just few weeks ago, the college received a $4 million donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to help with the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the largest monetary gift ever given to the college.

Prior to his time at Voorhees, Evans served as interim president, provost and chief academic officer at South Carolina State University.

Evans will continue to serve as a presidential consultant for Voorhees through the end of January.

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