Pfeiffer University president leaving at end of school year for job in Delaware

Published 11:54 am Monday, February 18, 2019

Staff report

MISENHEIMER — Pfeiffer University announced Sunday that Colleen Perry Keith, its 10th and first woman president, will leave effective May 31 to become president of Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware.

“It is always tough to make this kind of decision,” Keith said. “Great things are happening at Pfeiffer, and there is a strategy in place that will take the university into the next phase of success. A driving force behind this decision is family. Being in Delaware will put us less than two hours from my son.”

The Pfeiffer board of trustees will identify the next steps to fill the presidency, the school said in a news release.

“We are going to miss Dr. Keith, but we have a strong board and strong team that will keep Pfeiffer moving forward,” trustees Chairman Bob Brietz said. “This kind of change in leadership at this point in an organization’s success is not uncommon.”

Keith came to Pfeiffer in July 2015. Under her leadership, the university “took several strategic steps to lay the foundation for a secure financial future,” the news release said.

Examples include the sale and move of the Charlotte campus; moving athletics from NCAA Division II to Division III; refinancing of debt and programs to borrow from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for upgrades on the Misenheimer campus and a building in downtown Albemarle for the graduate health science programs; increasing undergraduate enrollment; and adding an up-to-date technological infrastructure in critical areas such as enrollment.

Working closely alongside Keith in these efforts has been the senior leadership team, the university said.

“The Pfeiffer team is highly qualified, and the university is well positioned for the future,” Keith said. “I have appreciated the warm welcome I received from the communities that Pfeiffer is part of during my time here and the collegial work of our board at Pfeiffer.”