Retiring Livingstone president honored for decades of service

Published 12:04 am Sunday, June 26, 2022

SALISBURY — After 16 years as president of Livingstone College and 38 years total in higher education, Dr. Jimmy Jenkins Sr. is moving on.

After announcing his plans to retire over the winter, Jenkins finished the spring semester at Livingstone and as of July 1 will officially leave the helm of the college.

Before he stepped down, however, members of the school, his family, friends and community members gathered Saturday evening to honor a man who led and inspired so many during his time at Livingstone.

An “Evening of Celebration” was held at the West End Plaza with hundreds of former students and peers who have gotten to know Jenkins throughout his tenure. First Lady of Livingstone Dr. Faleese Moore Jenkins was also honored at the event for her own contributions to the university and to the city.

The event was hosted by music industry figure David Linton, who had his career start at Elizabeth City State University while Jenkins was president there. Linton remarked that some of the outstanding qualities that set Jenkins apart included his “vision, his ability to select the right people to put around him and his willingness to give resources to those people to do their job.”

Jenkins has touched the lives of countless people during his time in education and he was quick to point out how proud he is of the students he worked to help “take them where they need to be.”

For some young people, this has included the creation of the Summer Bridge Program that Jenkins introduced for students who demonstrate college potential but may not have the pre-requisites to gain admission into the college.

The program is an “intensive” six-week session that Jenkins installed at Livingstone and those who complete the coursework during that period are automatically enrolled into the college the following semester.

“Bridge is not a remedial program but an academic reinforcement program designed to meet students where they are so they can not only catch up and keep up, but also soar,” said Dr. Anthony Davis, senior vice president and chief operating officer at the college.

Jenkins has been excited with the results stemming from the program that’s only one of the major accomplishments he’s been involved with while at Livingstone.

During his time leading the school, Jenkins helped Livingstone become financially healthy while maintaining accreditation. The college was promoted to a “Level III institution,” paving the way for it to begin offering graduate-level programs.

While Livingstone is on solid academic footing, Jenkins said the future is even brighter. “The college is in a position to make a quantum leap forward and we’re excited about the new possibilities that come with that,” he said.

While the retirement celebration was an opportunity to reflect on Jenkins’ past, the future looks busy for the lifelong educator. Jenkins said he would still be associated with the school in some capacity and wants to play a role in carrying its success forward.

First, however, he’s going to take some time for a well-earned break and a return to his hobbies of “golfing and handiwork.”