Dianne Boardley Suber, 10th President of Saint Augustine’s University, assumed the presidency of the College (now University) on December 1, 1999. Under her presidency, the University has experienced increased enrollment, reinstituted the football program, fielded a marching band, expanded the adult learners program, established innovative degree granting programs to include Biomedical and Scientific Communication; Forensic Science; the Center for Real Estate Development and Property Management; Allied and Medical Sciences program; and Film and Interactive Media. On August 1, 2012, the College officially became Saint Augustine’s University. The University is on target to offer its first master’s degree program in Fall 2014 – the Physician Assistant Studies Program.
The first female to lead the institution, Dr. Suber is an experienced educator and administrator with nearly 40 years of teaching, consulting and administrative experience from preschool to higher education. She has served as a classroom teacher; elementary and middle school principal; university professor and consultant to several national educational organizations. Prior to assuming the helm at Saint Augustine’s University, Dr. Suber held administrative positions of increasing responsibility at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, including instructor, Dean, Assistant Provost and lastly, Vice President for Administrative Services. Dr. Suber received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Hampton (Institute) University, a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum Development and Supervision from the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, and a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Throughout her nearly 13-year tenure at Saint Augustine’s University (SAU), Dr. Suber has been appointed to and served on organizational Boards that reflect varied levels of influence at local, state and national levels; and organizations with focus on educational, civic, political, social and spiritual agendas. Suber has been appointed to the President’s White House Initiative Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) under three presidents, the only member of the Board to have served for such tenure. Most recently she was appointed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to serve on the Secretary’s inaugural Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC). She serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Student and Recent Graduate Recruitment. Dr. Suber also serves on the Secretary of Education Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board.
Dr. Suber serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) HBCUs Steering Committee and was recently appointed to serve on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee (MOIC). She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC); the United Way; the Carolina Ballet; the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA); the United Negro College Fund; and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); and the Raleigh Business and Technology Center. Dr. Suber is a member of the United Negro College Fund Executive Bylaws and Nominating Committees; the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC); the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Executive and Nominating Committees; and a founding member of the Women’s Giving Network of Wake County. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and an alumna of Gamma IOTA Chapter established at Hampton (Institute) University.
Dr. Suber is a collector of turtles. Her mentor, the late Dr. Effie Jones, gave Suber her first emerald studded turtle lapel pin with the pronouncement, “The turtle is the sign of a risk taker. In order to progress you must be willing to stick out your head and put your tail on the line”. Suber maintains that advice has been her leadership mantra.
Dr. Suber is in frequent demand as a guest speaker and presenter. Her candid up-close and personal style of engagement, regardless of the topic – women’s issues, educational challenges, ethnic and racial controversies, leadership in higher education, student welfare, or social and civic platforms – invites energetic participation among participants and her quick wit and sense of humor puts an audience at ease. Her office reflects numerous awards and recognitions that denote her achievements in the field of education and leadership. But she is quick to introduce you to her “real heartbeats” – her three grandchildren: four year old, Taylor Marie Lewis, daughter of Suber’s oldest daughter Nichole Lewis; 13 year old Nyjil Brevard Saint Thomas; and seven year old Samantha Dianne Ari Thomas, children of Suber’s younger daughter Reagan Thomas and husband Furah.
In 2010, Dr. Suber received the Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), established in 2008 in honor and memory of the late Dr. Effie H. Jones, Associate Executive Director at AASA prior to her death. Suber says that receiving that award was one of the most special moments in her career. “It feels sort of like the cycle has come full circle”.
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