Jerald Jones Woolfolk

Lincoln University President Jerald Jones Woolfolk

Lincoln University President Jerald Jones Woolfolk wants to “stabilize enrollment” at the university in Jefferson City which she will lead for another three years after university curators voted on June 13 to extend her contract. She joined Lincoln University in June 2018.

“I am committed to leaving Lincoln better than I found it,” she said. “I am committed to being here until I can hand it off ‘greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to me.”

“I fear people might misunderstand when I say ‘better.’ Lincoln has always been a beautiful place. By ‘better,’ I mean make Lincoln more visible not only in Jefferson City but across the state.”

In her one year at the helm, the university created the Executive Enrollment Committee, whose key functions are recruitment and retention. Enrollment, according to Woolfolk ,“is made up of not just recruiting students, but keeping them there and graduating and making sure that the environment that they’re in is one that is focused on learning and development.”

She said she wants to make sure that every student who comes to Lincoln comes to graduate.

“That’s the way I talk to students,” she said and that’s the way that I treat them: ‘You came here to graduate. We are going to do everything that we can to make sure that you graduate.’”

With a small campus of roughly 2400, Woolfolk uses its scale it to her advantage to build a relationship with the community and the students.

“I think that’s the beauty of Lincoln University, that people care about students and they know students individually and by name. It’s a small campus,” she said.

“The students know us, and we know the students. We eat in the dining hall with them at the residence halls, and that’s what I call a culture of caring.”

She has a wide basis of experience for making the comparison. Previously she served as the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego and held roles as a visiting professor and the interim chief diversity and inclusion officer at SUNY. She has also served as vice president for Student Affairs, Enrollment Management and Diversity at Mississippi Valley State University; vice president for Student Affairs at College of Staten Island-City University of New York; and assistant to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs, associate dean of Students for Residential Life and dean of Student Life at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 

In terms of her own education, she holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Iowa State University, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from Jackson State University. In addition, she completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)/Council of Independent Colleges/Academic Leadership Institute Executive Leadership Academy; the AASCU Millennial Leadership Initiative; and the Indiana University Certificate in Fundraising Management.

Other accomplishments under Woolfolk’s brief tenure at Lincoln include an on-campus bookstore, which had been absent from campus for three years, and new uniforms for the marching band, the Lincoln University Marching Musical Storm, which had not updated its uniform in 20 years. The new look will be revealed during the Homecoming Football Game on Saturday, October 19.

With three more years now ahead of her, she can look further ahead.

“We’ve spent the last year doing research and doing having interviews with all different constituencies of the university,” Woolfolk said. “We are developing a strategic plan.”

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