JEFFERSON CITY – Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk made history with her installation Friday as the third female president for Lincoln University.
The university held an inauguration on Friday to welcome Woolfolk, who is also the 20th president. The auditorium in the Richardson Fine Arts Center was packed to the brim with people.
Along with the audience, many speakers and friends of Woolfolk showed their support in her journey to obtain this new title. One of the guests was Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who opened the ceremony. Kehoe said having Woolfolk as president will keep Lincoln University in the right direction.
“We couldn’t be anymore prouder of the campus facility and what we know the future is like with Dr. Woolfolk in charge,” Kehoe said.
Former students of Woolfolk spoke at the ceremony as well. Dr. Toni Owens, one Woolfolk’s students at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff gave Woolfolk high praise.
“From the moment I met her I observed her like an astrologists observing the constellations,” Owens said. “She showed me the importance of being a strong black woman in this country.”
Owens went on to say Woolfolk is the definition of black woman who is living her best life.
“She’s living her best life, by what I call the ‘Three G Philosophy:’ with gratitude, with grace, and with grit.”
Woolfolk’s son Brandon attended the ceremony and gave insight on what type of person his mother is.
“She always showed me that whatever I’m willing to work at, if I’m willing to put in that amount of time, I can accomplish anything,” Brandon said.
One of Woolfolk’s longtime friends, Dr. Harry Williams, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund says there are four traits that make up a good president and a good leader.
“Determination, persistence, commitment, and endurance; she is all of these,” Williams said.
The church choirs ended the ceremony with singing Lincoln’s alma mater and a standing ovation for Woolfolk.
Woolfolk promises to give her full effort to enact great change.
“We must go beyond our comfort zone and do what is necessary,” Woolfolk said. “It’s on us. It’s on us. It’s on us. We must put ourselves aside and build our best everyday.”
“We are Lincoln University.”
By Makayla Looney, KOMU.