McNair to resume Tuskegee University presidency on May 15

McNair begins the presidential transition as she readies to resume full-time duties on May 15.

Tuskegee University announces that Dr. Lily D. McNair will resume her role as the university’s president, effective Friday, May 15.

Dr. McNair began medical leave in early January — and now upon her return, she expressed her gratitude to the Board of Trustees for granting the request and giving her ample time to focus on her recovery. She also praised Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, who assumed the role of acting president during her absence, and her Cabinet and staff for supporting Perry’s efforts through their day-to-day leadership.

“The hallmark of any quality organization is having competent and reliable colleagues upon which you can lean and rely in times of adversity,” McNair noted.

McNair and Perry have begun a transition plan that calls for McNair to resume her full-time role on May 15. During this time, McNair will preside virtually over the College of Veterinary Medicine’s May 1 commencement ceremony and the university’s May 9 virtual graduation observance. On May 15, Perry will return solely to the duties of her deanship.

“President McNair needed to focus on her health and recovery, first and foremost. If there’s anything this current pandemic teaches us, it’s that our health should remain paramount,” Board of Trustees Chair Norma B. Clayton said. “I thank Dr. McNair for her resolve to return to the university with renewed strength and vigor — and with the same heartfelt passion and long-range vision she has had for Tuskegee since her first day on the job.”

Although on medical leave, McNair remained in contact with Clayton and Perry on a regular basis — especially as the coronavirus outbreak grew to a global pandemic.

“I applaud the university’s leadership in navigating the myriad of uncertainties arising from our current pandemic, and I thank Dr. Perry and Board Chair Clayton for keeping me apprised of its impact on our students, employees and community,” McNair added. “Moreover, I admire our students’ resilience, our employees’ collaboration, and our alumni and friends’ unwavering support of Mother Tuskegee during this time of crisis.”  

With McNair’s return, the university has resumed its search for a permanent provost and chief academic officer. Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, dean of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, has served in an interim capacity since Jan. 1, 2020.

Read more about McNair at