Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale has announced that Dr. Karl S. Wright has been named provost, a move aligned with the University’s strategic direction to achieve greatness. Wright becomes the first provost in Claflin’s 143-year history.
He is the University's chief academic officer and the second highest ranking official and acts for the president when he is unavailable.
In making the announcement, Tisdale noted the University’s national rankings, stellar academic programs and enhanced infrastructure have placed Claflin in the upper echelon of higher education. He said Wright’s position as Claflin’s first provost will move the University forward with its vision to become one of the leading undergraduate teaching and research universities in the world.
“We are pleased and excited to have Dr. Wright join the Claflin University family as the University’s first provost,” said President Tisdale. “His role is a critical component as we strategically position the University at the forefront of excellence in teaching, research and groundbreaking discovery. Under his leadership, I am confident Claflin will not only continue to flourish but exceed the high standard established by our dedicated faculty and staff and exceptional students.”
Wright will be responsible for developing and guiding relevant and rigorous academic programs, managing the faculty, engaging students to be well rounded through University initiatives and become an integral force in strategic planning.
“I am pleased to join the Claflin University family and look forward to working with President Tisdale, a truly transformational leader. Claflin is an outstanding institution with excellent students, faculty, staff and academic programs. Together, we will work tirelessly to prepare our students to become visionary leaders,” said Wright.
Before joining Claflin, Wright was the provost at the University of the Virgin Islands, a comprehensive public, land-grant institution. There, he also was the executive director of the Virgin Islands Academic and Cultural Awards Endowment.
Prior to that, Wright had a 15-year career at Florida Memorial University, an HBCU in south Florida. During his time at Florida Memorial, Wright also was executive vice president, provost and president.
There, he was instrumental in signing articulation agreements with international institutions in the Caribbean Islands, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Wright also led Florida Memorial successfully through national and regional accreditation process, significantly upgraded the size and quality of the faculty, enhanced the institution’s physical facilities and technological infrastruture and the laid the foundation for a capital campaign.
In the past, he served as dean of South Carolina State University’s business school and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for accreditation of that program.
He received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in resource economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1983, he was awarded a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University. He was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States after finishing high school. Wright has three children with his wife, Marcia.