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Saint Augustine’s University president dies months after becoming HBCU’s 12th leader

The president of Saint Augustine’s University, who just became the historically Black college’s leader this summer, has died, the university said Thursday night “with great sadness.”

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Irving Pressley McPhail was named the university’s 12th leader after a national search, with officials highlighting his experience in higher education, urban public school administration and work in the non-profit sector. He also was known for his efforts highlighting contributions made by minorities in the STEM field.

He joined the school July 15. A cause of death was not released.

“In the short time he was the university’s chief executive officer, he made a memorable and positive impact in moving the University in the direction of being a ‘Learning Centered’ campus,” the statement said.

In August, McPhail told The News & Observer that the coronavirus pandemic is showing that HBCUs are more important than ever. He spoke with The N&O as students

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