NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — After a months-long search, Norfolk State University has a new leader.
On Friday afternoon, administrators announced Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston as the university’s seventh president.
Members of NSU’s Board of Visitors said they’re hopeful Adams-Gaston’s ideas for growth and collaboration with the community will lead to NSU becoming a top university in the commonwealth.
Meanwhile, the new president, already affectionately called Dr. J, said she is ready to hit the ground running.
With a standing ovation, the Norfolk State community welcomed Adams-Gaston as their next president.
“I could not be more proud and pleased,” Adams-Gaston said.
Adams-Gaston has over 30 years of experience and a long history in higher education. She’s currently at the Ohio State University where she serves as the senior vice president for student life. She’s the first African-American woman to hold that title. Before that, she worked in several roles at the University of Maryland, College Park.
“I am incredibly excited, in fact, thrilled. I am also humbled,” she said. “One of the things that I found from the Board of Visitors is an enormous amount of support and of energy and forward thinking so it just makes me very excited.
The new president said she hopes to tackle enrollment challenges and improve student experience.
“I am hoping, in the first few days that I’m here, to meet with students, faculty, and staff. I hope to meet with alums to hear from them, what is it that you need?” Adams-Gaston said.
Members of the board tell 10 On Your Side that, along with her background, Adams-Gaston stood out because of her desire to build partnerships in the community.
“Not only does she get it, she has experience in it and she’s got ideas about it so stay tuned,” said Deborah M. DiCroce, a member of the board.
The board said under her leadership, they hope to make NSU a top choice for students with even more opportunities.
“They’re going to want to come to Norfolk State and we’re very excited that Dr. J is going to lead us there,” said James W. Dyke, Jr., another board member.
Adams-Gaston will start her new role in June