- Associated Press - Friday, October 16, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The president of a historically Black college in North Carolina has died of complications from COVID-19, the chairman of the board of trustees said Friday.

Saint Augustine’s University announced on social media that Irving Pressley McPhail died Thursday, three months after taking the job. Board of Trustees Chairman James Perry said McPhail contracted the virus away from the east Raleigh campus, adding that one person he had been in contact with tested positive. Perry said that person has since recovered and returned to work.

Despite his short tenure, Perry said McPhail had already made a mark on the school with his vision to make Saint Augustine a source to develop its students into future leaders.

“He was a transformative leader,” said Perry, a former justice with the Florida Supreme Court. “The students loved him. The faculty loved him. The board loved him.”

The school said a search for a new president will begin immediately. Maria A. Lumpkin, Saint Augustine’s vice president, will serve as interim president, the school said.

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