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Bennett College welcomes new president

The Carolina Peacemaker

AFRIQUE I. KILIMANJARO | 7/15/2013, 10:09 a.m.
Bennett College officially introduced its 17th president, Rosalind Fuse-Hall, Monday at a press conference and reception held on the campus.
Rosalind Fuse-Hall, new Bennett College president. Afrique Kilimanjaro

As Fuse-Hall begins her tenure as a college president, she plans to do three things to help Bennett continue to educate successful female leaders. First is to enhance the college’s recruitment of students and have a student body of 1,000 students over the next two to three years. Currently, the college has a total enrollment of 750 students. Fuse-Hall explained that the college is working with a consultant from Atlanta, Ga., to help Bennett staff utilize technology which will help widen the college’s recruitment scope.

Second is to increase the college’s endowment which is currently at $11 million. Fuse-Hall said on average alumni giving by all colleges and universities is 9 percent and this percentage drops to 6 percent for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Bennett alumnae giving stands at 18 percent, which is well-above the national and HBCU average.

Fuse-Hall’s third initiative is to prepare young women to be competitive in today’s global market place by building upon Bennett’s study abroad programs. As a 2004 Eisenhower Fellow, Fuse-Hall traveled to the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore and in turn she hosted study abroad fellows at her home institution, Florida A&M University, who were from South Africa and China.

More than a month ago, Bennett faced a budget crisis at which time it implemented and subsequently rescinded furloughing employees. Fuse-Hall said, “There are two people I must and continue to stay in touch and they are the board chair and the university’s CFO [Chief Financial Officer].” She explained that there will be small cuts across the board at Bennett which everyone will endure. “I will be working collaboratively with faculty and staff to understand what our challenges are. We must stay on a fiscally responsible path. It is not an option for us to fail in the area of fiscal management.”

This is not the first time Fuse-Hall has sought the Bennett presidency, a position she calls her dream job. She applied and was a finalist in 2001 when Althea Collins was selected. Fuse-Hall simply said, “This is my time.”

Ultimately, Fuse-Hall wants Bennett to have an increase in retention and graduation rates. She reiterated, “It’s not enough to just enroll, we have to make sure students have the academic success tools.”

Fuse-Hall will reside on the college campus in the president’s house with her husband of nearly 35 years, North Carolina Central University associate professor of political science, Jarvis Hall. They have one daughter, Ifetoya, a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who is employed with Teach for America in Texas.