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Augustine’s University: President dies of covid-19 complications

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 11:30, 29 October 2020  
Augustine’s University: President dies of covid-19 complications

The president of Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., died on Thursday of complications from the coronavirus, the school announced last week.

Irving Pressley McPhail became president of the private historically Black university in July this year, according to The Washington Post report.

McPhail self-quarantined about four weeks ago after he feared he may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, said James Perry, a former Florida Supreme Court justice and the chairman of the school’s board of trustees.

McPhail tested positive while still mostly asymptomatic, Perry said. But about two weeks ago, McPhail had difficulty breathing and was taken to the emergency room.

His condition seemed to be improving while he was hospitalized, but he took a turn for the worse some days later, Perry said. He died Thursday (Oct 15) night.

“We were very hopeful and prayerful,” Perry said, “But that’s the nature of this pandemic. Nobody knows what it’s going to do.”

McPhail was an inspiration to the students, Perry said. “He had the Ivy League background — but he didn’t have the Ivy League arrogance.” McPhail was a first-generation college student, born and raised in Harlem, Perry said. “Our students could relate.

“He was a good person,” Perry said. “That’s my ultimate compliment.”

McPhail earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, his master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

He went on to hold numerous leadership roles in education and nonprofit organizations, including serving as the founding chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) mourned McPhail’s death with a statement on social media.