Kyle Farmbry appointed as next Guilford College President

Kyle Farmbry. Photo courtesy of Guilford College.

On October 6, Guilford College announced Kyle Farmbry as its next president. Farmbry will be the school’s tenth president and the first African American to serve in the role. His starting date is January 1, 2022.

“Kyle understands this is a pivotal time in our history,” said board of trustees chair Ed Winslow. “He understands our challenges. But he also recognizes what Guilford has accomplished, and he has a vision for what we can do. Kyle’s the leader to forge Guilford’s future.”

Farmbry is currently a professor of public administration in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University’s Newark, N.J. campus, where he previously served as dean of the graduate school. He holds a doctorate of philosophy in public administration from George Washington University and a juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School.

Farmbry has served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa; a Fulbright Research Scholar in Malta; and a Fulbright New Century Scholar in Cape Town, South Africa. The National Academy of Public Administration elected Farmbry a 2021 Fellow of the Academy.

Farmbry was first introduced to the Society of Friends as a middle school student at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, Pa. He later attended Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.) and San Antonio (Tex.) Meeting.

“I’ve gotten a real sense that people affiliated with Guilford really care about the institution,” says Farmbry of his reasons for wanting to lead the school. “I read about the whole Save Guilford effort. I think it says a lot about an institution that a group of alumni came together and mobilized when they saw some things happening that they didn’t agree with. And I think it says something about the Board of Trustees that they would listen to the alumni and step forward.”

Save Guilford College is a movement of alumni and friends of the college that was organized in 2020 in response to proposals to eliminate nearly half of the college’s majors and dozens of tenured faculty. Following the announcement of Farmbry’s appointment, the group shared a statement:

Dr. Farmbry made an extremely positive impression on faculty, staff, and students. . . . We feel confident that he will be an excellent advocate and fundraiser for Guilford’s signature servant-leader programs, such as the Multicultural Leadership Scholars, Quaker Leadership Scholars, and the Bonner Leaders Program, as well as the Center for Principled Problem-Solving and the Friends Center.

Farmbry succeeds Jane K. Fernandes, who served as Guilford president from 2014 to 2020. Interim presidents Carol Moore and Jim Hood have served since Fernandes’s departure.

Founded in 1837 by the Religious Society of Friends, Guilford College is an independent liberal arts college in Greensboro, N.C., with 1,200 students.

FJ News Editors

Erik Hanson and Windy Cooler are the news editors for Friends Journal. They contributed to the reporting of this story. Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering? Send us tips at [email protected].

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