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Florida Memorial University President Resigns Due To Unspecified Health Concerns

Florida Memorial University President Resigns Due To Unspecified Health Concerns

Hardrick, who has been in the role since 2019, previously served as vice provost for access and success at Florida International University and assistant vice provost for academic affairs at Baylor University.

Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, president of Florida Memorial University, resigned last Friday for unspecified health reasons after five years at the South Florida HBCU. The private university’s Board of Trustees told students, faculty and staff in an email sent Sunday that Hardrick, 62, had handed in his notice.

The board members said they accepted his resignation effective Friday. They named a former board chairman, William C. McCormick, as interim president until they officially replace Hardrick.

“I am grateful to leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community for the success of our great university, and it’s with a heavy heart that I must end my tenure as president due to a health reason,” Hardrick said in the correspondence.

Wanda Wright, a university spokeswoman, said she couldn’t discuss the nature of Hardrick’s health issue but said that it wasn’t a life-or-death situation.

She also said the university will form a presidential search committee to find a new permanent president, but couldn’t immediately provide a timeline or any details about the process on Monday.

Before FMU, Hardwick worked for 15 years at Florida International University and for 12 years at Baylor University in Texas. In the note, the board thanked Hardrick for his leadership and said the HBCU made “significant strides” during his tenure. Hardrick piloted FMU during the public health crisis caused by the COVID pandemic and during an accreditation crisis — one of the toughest periods in the school’s history, which traces to 1879.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a master’s from Prairie View A&M University, and a doctorate from Baylor University. He serves on the board of directors of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and as chair of the members committee of the United Negro College Fund.

Trustee Deneshea L. Phelps Owens presents Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, Ed.D., with the presidential elements during his investiture ceremony as the 14th president of Florida Memorial University, celebrated at the university’s campus in Miami Gardens, on Friday, March 17, 2023. PEDRO PORTAL

Under Hardick’s tenure, Florida Memorial fostered strategic partnerships with organizations like the Miami Dolphins and the Lennar Foundation to launch a successful Certificate Program in Construction Trades, as well as Venture Miami’s STEM Scholarship Program, which provides free tuition to high school graduates of need residing in the City of Miami who are accepted to the university to pursue a degree in a STEM field.

Dr. Hardwick was instrumental in helping FMU regain its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools two years ago, after being on probation for a year. The accreditation is a national recognition that proves an institution is reputable and is a requisite to qualify for government funds.

Hardrick also revived the university’s culture. He established the university band, the ROAR Marching Band, and brought back its football program.

“We are profoundly grateful for his service and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Walter Weatherington, the current chairman of FMU’s Board of Trustees.

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