In a second major departure from Virginia Commonwealth University’s leadership team, Provost Beverly J. Warren on Wednesday was named president of Kent State University.
Warren, who was appointed chief academic officer in 2011 after serving as interim provost for a year, will assume her new position in Ohio on July 1. She will remain at VCU through May.
Kent State’s board of trustees elected Warren to succeed Lester A. Lefton, who is retiring after serving as president since 2006.
Warren was in Ohio for the board’s vote in the morning and met with students, faculty and staff in the afternoon.
“She has been called ‘a leader of leaders,’ and speaking for the board, there is unanimous agreement to this insightful accolade,” Jane Murphy Timken, the board’s chair, said in a statement.
Timken said Warren “brings an incredible level of experience and accomplishment, and she quickly stood out within a highly competitive field.”
VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement that Warren “leaves a legacy of excellent and unselfish service as one of VCU’s greatest academic leaders.”
As senior vice president for academic affairs, Warren is VCU’s second ranking officer.
She has been an administrator at VCU for 14 years, serving as dean of the School of Education before being named provost.
A year ago, Rao added “senior” to Warren’s title. At the same time David Hanson was promoted from vice president for finance and administration to senior vice president and chief operating officer.
Hanson left VCU last month to become chief financial officer for Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.
VCU spokeswoman Pam Lepley said Warren was recruited to apply for the Kent State position and had not been seeking another job.
VCU administrators are “very attractive, because of the success here, to other institutions,” she said.
Lepley noted that Warren is the second VCU provost to become president of a university in Ohio — Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis was VCU’s provost when he was named president in 2004.
A national search will be conducted for Warren’s replacement. Lepley said it will depend on how long that process takes whether an interim provost will be named.
In remarks after her appointment, Warren said Kent State and VCU share similar priorities and that her goal is to be a collaborative leader.
Kent State is an eight-campus system with more than 22,000 undergraduates and 5,500 graduate students. Founded in 1910, the university was the site of an anti-war protest in 1970 in which four students were killed by National Guard troops.
Warren came to VCU in 2000 as professor and head of the School of Education’s division of health, physical education and recreation. She was appointed dean of the school in 2007, after serving as interim dean and associate dean for faculty affairs.
Previously, she was a professor at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C, and was associate professor and director of graduate programs at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. She also served on the faculty at Auburn University, at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and at the University of Montevallo in Alabama.
Warren holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Auburn University and an Ed.D. in administration of higher education from the University of Alabama. She earned a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.