HOLD Johnson C. Smith University president to speak at MLK Jr. program - Jan. 13
Ronald L. Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, will be the keynote speaker on Jan. 13 at Elon University’s annual MLK Jr. Commemorative Program, which honors the life of the slain civil rights leader. The Whitley Auditorium program, which was moved from Wednesday to Thursday due to inclement weather, begins at noon and is open to the public at no cost.
The winner of Elon University’s 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Essay Contest will also be announced at the ceremony.
A native of High Point, N.C., Carter became the 13th president of Johnson C. Smith University on July 1, 2008. With more than 30 years serving students and universities, he brought with him a lengthy record of community leadership, academic administration, strategic planning and budget management.
Upon graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in sociology and philosophy from Morehouse College in 1971, Carter began his career at Boston University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center. By 1981, he rose to become the school’s youngest dean of students. While at Boston University, Carter pursued graduate studies, earning both a Master of Theology degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion. In the late 1980s, his interaction with relatives of Nelson Mandela compelled him to put his abilities to work in South Africa.
Prior to Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and the abolition of apartheid, Carter was named Dean of Students at the University of Witwatersrand, one of South Africa’s premier institutions. He returned to the United States in 1997 as the provost and dean of faculty at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.
Carter's almost 11-year tenure at Coker College included key roles in the private liberal arts college’s strategic planning, academic and student development, financial management, and community development.
With research and teaching interests in the areas of medical ethics, ethical theory, and philosophic-religious issues, Carter's expertise in medical ethics and community involvement have brought him several national appointments, including moderator for the National Meeting of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (2004-2006), chair of expert panel for the Connecting Parenting Adults and Youth Project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006), and chair of expert review panel of scientific measurement for an abstinence rating tool funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007).
He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs in South Africa and in the United States discussing educational issues and policies.
Since becoming president, Carter has become very involved in the Charlotte community. Currently, he is a board member with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Charlotte Streetcar Advisory Committee, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Partnership, Charlotte Museum of History, and Foundation for the Carolinas.
Among his many honors and awards, Carter was appointed a Sloan Scholar at Morehouse College, a Danforth Fellow at Boston University, and a Merrill Scholar at Robert College of Istanbul, Turkey. Carter was the recipient of the 2010 YMCA Spirit Award and the Alpha Lambda Omega Chapter of AKA PEARL Award.
He is the father of one daughter, Tumelo Rosalind Carter, and has served as a foster parent to four foster children.