Shaw University 150

The Yancy Years

The Yancy Years

Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy, a native of Alabama, is the 14th and 16th President of Shaw University. Under her unprecedented leadership, the University achieved financial stability, rebuilt after a tornado and began five program accreditation reviews and the regular Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmation.

Her tenure at Shaw has been marked by an increase in alumni giving, endowment creation and academic enhancement. She leaves the University on solid financial standing - a hallmark of a Yancy Presidency – and with a positive outlook for the future. Her wisdom and guidance will be missed. 


  • June 2009 - Dr. Yancy assumes the presidency of Shaw University. The former president of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC, she is the first female president in the University’s history

  • September 2009 – The University receives a $4.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health - National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD). The grant is used to implement The Shaw NCMHD Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Project. The project encourages the facilitation and integration of teaching and research at predominantly minority-serving academic institutions, with the aim of developing sustainable research programs, and enhancing the overall quality of the educational experience for students in the life sciences and related areas. 

  • February 2010 – Dr. Yancy secures a $31.1 million-dollar federal loan that allows the University to restructure and refinance debt, achieve a balanced budget and raise its Composite Financial Index (CFI) score to a positive number.

  • April 2010 – the University celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was founded at a conference led by Ella Baker on the Shaw campus in 1960. More than 1,100 people attended the event.

  • May 2010 – Dr. Yancy invites Bill Cosby to speak at the University’s commencement. He reminds the graduates to never forget “the value of their education.”

  • September 2011 – Dr. Yancy returns to Shaw following a devastating tornado in April 2011 that destroyed 27 campus buildings and cancelled classes for the remainder of the spring semester. By December, the first-floor of the student center’s dining hall was re-opened and nearly all University buildings were repaired.

  • November 2011 – The family of the late Vernon Malone, ’57, present Dr. Yancy with an $89,680 check to establish the Vernon and Susan Malone ’56 endowed scholarship. It is one of the largest donations the University has ever received to create an endowment. 

  • April 2012 – The University marks the one year anniversary of the tornado that hit campus with a grand re-opening of the Willie E. Gary Student Center. During the event, Dr. Yancy thanks the countless students, faculty, staff, alumni and community volunteers that assisted with clean-up efforts.

  • January 2013 – Dr. Yancy receives the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Leadership Award at the 22nd International Salute to the Life and Legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes leaders around the world who embody the spirit and teachings of Dr. King and the legacy of civil rights activist Dorothy I. Height. Previous recipients of the Height Award include Sharon Pratt, former mayor of Washington, D.C.; Dr. Thelma T. Dailey, former President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Vice Chair of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee among others.

  • April 2013 – The University is named a flagship Campus for the project "A Network for Understanding the New Europe" at New York University (NYU). The University and 19 other Flagship Campuses will sponsor faculty members to serve as Institutional Ambassadors for faculty development seminars. The goal of the initiative is "to raise awareness about European Union (EU) policies and institutions, the EU’s role as an international actor in the economic and political field, and the value of the EU-US relationship."

  • May 2013 – The University and the U.S. Small Business Administration sign a “first of its kind” agreement to promote small business creation. The agreement will allow Shaw students, local small businesses and entrepreneurs to learn more about federal programs that help small businesses.