Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall: The New Voice of Bennett College

by Terry Watson | September 11th, 2013
Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall (Photos by Bennett College)

Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall (Photos by Bennett College)

On July 1, 2013 Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall became the 17th president of Bennett College in Greensboro. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina on the campus of Fayetteville State University, where her father was on the faculty. A 1980 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in administration of criminal justice. In 1983, she earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law, Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Fuse-Hall also studied at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Institute of Educational Management.

Although she began her career in law, Dr. Fuse-Hall soon gravitated to higher education. She comes from a family of educators. Her mother and five aunts were teachers. She is married to Dr. Jarvis Hall, a political science professor at North Carolina Central University, and her daughter, Ifetoya Hall, who is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a teacher with Teach for America, working in Texas. Fuse-Hall started her legal career as a judicial law clerk with the Honorable William H. Walls, Essex County Superior Court in Newark, and then as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in New York City.

Her first position in higher education was at St. Lawrence University, where she was assistant director for minority affairs. Most recently, she served as chief of staff to the president at Florida A&M University and interim executive director of Title III Programs. She has served as executive assistant to the chancellor at North Carolina Central University and corporate secretary to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system, comprising 17 campuses.

While at Florida A&M University, Dr. Fuse-Hall managed $10 million dollars in special programs to enhance institutional strengths and student outcomes. She is especially proud of a grant that she drafted with several colleagues that was funded for an additional $10 million over five years.

At North Carolina Central University, she worked on two special initiatives that brought nearly $44 million to the University. One was the Biomanufacuturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise or “BRITE” Center for Excellence. This was a research institute that brought together the biotech industry, governmental officials, community colleges and a major research university to secure $19.1 million in capital funds to build the institute and an additional $7 million in annual operating funds from the state legislature. The second project resulted from a public-private partnership that built a 408-bed residence hall on the newly created West Campus of the University. Dr. Fuse-Hall also has worked as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill.

“One of the reasons we’re so excited about having Dr. Fuse-Hall with us is because Bennett can no longer afford to just blend in,” Board Chair Charles Barrentine said. “Bennett needs to stand out and she has the leadership skills and the capabilities to make that happen.” As part of the College’s list of innovative and realistic goals, the new administration has targeted recruitment, enrollment and endowment efforts. Dr. Fuse-Hall shared that the College hopes to increase enrollment from 750 to nearly 1,000 students over a four-year period.

“In the vernacular of today’s youth, my mantra is ‘#BennettBuilds’,” Dr. Fuse-Hall said. “If you’ve surveyed our history then you know the Bennett faculty have taken young ladies, nurtured, taught and cultivated them into fearless change agents. We plan to build upon that legacy.” The glue for the College’s strategic plan is the cultivation of new and existing relationships. Along with her expertise and experience, Dr. Fuse-Hall has established many vital connections across the nation, many of which have already voiced their interest in partnering with Bennett College. Of all the networks, the most beneficial may be the ties she has to her native North Carolina. She is eager to rekindle those connections and open opportunities for both Bennett as well as the community.

Dr. Fuse-Hall says, “Bennett College has long been a chautauqua for the exchange of ideas among females, who were thought to be without a voice. But these were not ordinary women; their experiences at this place made their voices ring aloud.” As she follows former Bennett president’s Johnnetta Cole, Julianne Malveaux, and Esther Terry. Fuse-Hall hopes to bring her very own formulation of change. Cole raised the school’s profile with her star power and boosted morale through the sheer force of her personality. Malveaux added the sharp pragmatism of an economist and reshaped and expanded the physical campus with a wave of new construction. Terry, the first alumna president, brought passion to her service.

On September 20, 2013 Bennett College will host its 20th Annual Golf Tournament at Bryan Park in Brown Summit, NC. In addition to providing participants with a full a day of golfing, fun, fellowship, food, prizes and awards, their goal is to raise funds to benefit their 2013-2014 Bennett/UNCF Campaign. Honorary Co-Chairs of the tournament are Mr. Robert J. Brown, Chairman and CEO of B&C Associates, Inc., High Point, NC and Mr. Ulysses Bell, President & CEO of the Bell Group, Cary, NC. Registration is $85.00 per player. There are six levels of sponsorships ranging in cost from $100 to $10,000.

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