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Friday, 23 July 2021 13:28

Dr. Richard Gay appointed dean of College of Arts and Sciences at UNCP

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PEMBROKE — Dr. Richard Gay has been promoted to dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. 

Gay brings 30 years of proven leadership, research and teaching experience in higher education, including the last 17 years at UNCP. He has served as interim dean since July 2020. He has served in several key leadership roles, most recently as senior associate dean and, prior to that, chair of the art department. 

“I am very honored to have been appointed the new dean. There’s such a great tradition at UNC Pembroke, and it’s very humbling to be asked to contribute to that tradition. We have so many students, many of whom are first-generation, who are truly trying to better themselves and make a difference in their lives and that of their families, so it’s very rewarding for me to contribute to that,” Gay said. 

Chancellor Robin Cummings made the announcement following the board of trustees meeting on July 8. Additionally, Dr. Ashley Allen has been appointed associate dean of the college.  

“Dr. Gay’s leadership has played a vital role in our university’s largest college over the years, including effectively leading as interim dean over the last year,” Cummings said.  

“His extensive time and commitment to excellence at UNCP has instilled a deep understanding of our university, our mission, our students and where the future is leading us, making him a natural fit for this role. I could not be more pleased with Dr. Zoe Locklear’s selection of Dr. Gay. His appointment will bring continued success to our college, our university and our students.” 

Gay will lead the university’s largest academic unit comprised of 14 departments, six programs and 200 full-time faculty. He will play a significant role in determining and implementing the university’s strategic priorities, providing leadership to academic programs, fostering faculty and staff development and supporting engaged student learning. 

Interim Provost Dr. Zoe Locklear said Gay is the perfect dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.  

“Dr. Gay is highly regarded by faculty and students alike and has tremendous respect from colleague department chairs and fellow deans. He brings a great deal of passion, knowledge, skills and talent to the position as he provides visionary leadership and guidance to the college and the university. It's a privilege to have him serve in this role,” Locklear said. 

He joined the UNCP faculty in the art department in 2004, later serving seven years as department chair before being named associate dean in 2015. 

“I miss being with the students on a daily basis, but I feel there are lots of ways to contribute to the student experience. From my years of working in the dean’s office, I’ve learned about the incredible work our faculty are doing across the whole college. It’s very rewarding to see the huge imprint we have, not just on campus but in the community as well.” 

As dean, Gay plans to build on initiatives already in place, spotlight faculty research and develop the college’s new programs focused on cybersecurity and agriculture science. He is continuing to work with Dr. Allen and Dr. Jamie Mize on a grant the university received from the Mellon Foundation aimed at supporting minorities who are interested in pursuing careers as professors in the humanities.   

“We are in an exciting time in higher education because of the changing demographics of the student body and because of innovations in technology. The pandemic has encouraged us to rethink how we teach. It’s an exciting time to be thinking about what the future of education is going to look like in our region and nationally,” Gay continued. 

An art historian from Berea, Kentucky, Gay received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, a master of arts from the University of Kentucky, and his undergraduate degree from Berea College. Before joining the faculty, he worked as an assistant curator at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Calif., where he contributed to the international loan exhibition Illuminating the Renaissance. He previously taught at Texas A&M University, Cornell, and the University of Kentucky. 

His appointment began effective July 1. 

Dr. Gay and his wife Rhonda Sturgill, a former executive assistant in the chancellor’s office at UNCP, reside in Laurinburg.  


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