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Dr. Ronald Carter of JCSU is the Post Foundation's 2014 Luminary
Published Tuesday, July 8, 2014
by Ellison Clary

Dr. Carter

Dr. Ronald Carter Of JCSU has been chosen as the 2014 Luminary Award recipient From Charlotte Post Foundation

The visionary leader of Charlotte’s historically black university has won the 2014 Luminary award from The Charlotte Post Foundation.

Widely praised for his leadership as president of Johnson C. Smith University, Dr. Ronald L. Carter also is hailed by many for his accomplishments at JCSU, in the Northwest Corridor and Charlotte in general.

Carter will accept the award at the Foundation’s Charlotte Best banquet on Saturday, October 4, at the Hilton Charlotte center city.

Charlotte Post Publisher Gerald Johnson acknowledged that Carter differs from previous Luminary honorees who fashioned lengthy local careers of standout accomplishments. Carter, 65, moved to Charlotte to become the 13th president of Johnson C. Smith University on July 1, 2008.

“Dr. Carter has given Smith a new life and created new vitality in the Beatties Ford Road corridor,” Johnson said. “He’s making remarkable progress. He’s a great visionary for the school and the community.”

Fellow academician Art Gallagher, president of the Charlotte campus of Johnson & Wales University, said Carter is living up to an ambitious agenda he set for himself. “Ron has raised the profile of JCSU in Charlotte and beyond,” Gallagher said. “The future is bright for JCSU with Ron Carter as its leader.”

Carter admitted pride in the visible vestiges of his work, such as the school’s Mosaic Village student apartment and retail venture, its educational partnership with Elon Homes and School for Children and the campus Sustainability Village and community garden that is addressing food desert issues on the Westside. The Gold Links bus service now stops at Smith, he added, bringing economic development with it.

“When I see these great things happening,” Carter said, “I say, ‘It’s not me doing it. We’re doing it in concert with other great people.”

Carter’s achievements drew praise from community influencers, among them Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber. “Ron Carter is not just a strong leader and strong voice for JCSU, he is a strong leader and strong voice for in our community,” Morgan said. “We are especially grateful for his role in helping to secure the long-term commitment of the CIAA basketball tournament to Charlotte and the relocation of the CIAA headquarters to our city.”

Carter calls JCSU Charlotte’s premier independent urban university. He described his goal for the future succinctly:

“Johnson C. Smith will be graduating students who know how to solve tough problems in their disciplines, in their communities, in their cities, states and countries. Smith will be the institution that knows how to work in concert with community and develop community.”

Picking up on that theme was Michael Marsicano, president of Foundation For the Carolinas. “Ron Carter is one of the most eloquent spokesmen for the future of higher education in America,” Marsicano said. “His vision for our next generation of educated leaders is ahead of the curve and he is setting the gold standard for the preparation of young adults entering a rapidly changing workplace.”

Joy Paige, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Smith, summed up: “He encourages students to seek their growing edge while exemplifying what it means to be an agent of change.”

A native of High Point, NC, Carter graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Morehouse College, and earned a master’s of Theology and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Boston University. He worked in Boston University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center and advanced to become the university’s youngest dean of students.

Interaction with relatives of Nelson Mandela led to Carter becoming senior administrator of the Health Services Development Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He rose to dean of students and was one of the first black senior administrators at the traditionally white research institution.

He returned to the United States in 1997 and spent 11 years as provost and dean of faculty at Coker College in Hartsvillle, SC,

Among Carter’s many honors is the 2011 Charlotte Catalyst Humanitarian Award for efforts in diversity and philanthropy. He has attracted national attention to JCSU for positive changes and attracting local support for the school’s emphasis on partnership, revitalization and transformation. He earned the 2013 Creative Thinkers Award from the Carolinas chapter of the Counselors of Real Estate for envisioning and executing the Mosaic Village. The same year, he received the Latin American Excelente Award from the Charlotte Latin American Coalition as the non-Latino who has done the most to support the Latino community.

The Post Best awards banquet has grown into the main fundraiser for The Charlotte Post Foundation. Since its inception, The Foundation has distributed more than $200,000 in college scholarships to deserving high school seniors.


Dr. Carter, I am not at all surprised by your recognition in the city of Charlotte. I only regret that you were not selected to lead my Alma Mater. You are an educator extraordinaire who trusts and believes in God for direction!! Continue to work collaboratively to move JCSU forward!!!
Posted on July 15, 2014

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