A Saint Augustine’s University Founders’ Day Message from President Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail

Saint Augustine’s University
Posted Jul 20, 2023

Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, The 13th President of Saint Augustine’s University

Dear Falcons Community and Supporters,

Today, we gather to commemorate a truly momentous occasion in the history of our beloved institution – the 156th anniversary of the founding of Saint Augustine’s University. On this day, July 19th, in 1867, our university was chartered by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey that continues to shape the lives of countless individuals.

As we celebrate this Founders Day, reflecting on the contributions of our visionary leaders who laid the foundation for our university is essential. Reverend J. Brinton Smith, D.D., and Right Reverend Thomas Atkinson, D.D., demonstrated extraordinary dedication as they established Saint Augustine’s as a “Normal School and Collegiate Institute.” Dr. Smith served as the first principal, while Bishop Atkinson assumed the role of the first president of the Board of Trustees. Their unwavering commitment to education set the stage for generations of Falcons to soar to new heights of excellence.

Over the years, Saint Augustine’s has undergone remarkable transformations, consistently adapting to the changing needs of our community. From its establishment as a Normal School to its evolution into a four-year institution, our university has continuously expanded its offerings and enriched the lives of our students. Today, at Saint Augustine’s University, we remain resilient and responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Today, as we gather to honor our founders and their legacy, let us also acknowledge the many achievements of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Together, we strive for excellence and uphold the values that built and sustained Saint Augustine’s University.

On this extraordinary Founders Day, I extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the success and sustainability of our university. Your unwavering support and dedication have propelled us forward. I am confident that together we will continue to build a brighter future for Saint Augustine’s University.

Happy Founders Day, Falcons!


Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail

President, Saint Augustine’s University