New Johnson C. Smith University president tackles economic mobility

Updated: Apr. 4, 2019 at 5:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) is planning for the inauguration of its 14th president.

Clarence D. Armbrister will be installed on Friday, April 5 at 10 a.m.

Before the Inauguration, Armbrister wanted to involve the community for a candid conversation about economic mobility. There was a symposium and luncheon held on campus Thursday afternoon.

Charlotte Business, Health, and Civic leaders served as panelists and gave their thoughts on what should be done to improve economic mobility. Armbrister wants JCSU part of the candid conversation.

"We're the only HBCU here in this city," JCSU President Clarence Armbrister said. "This incredible city - burgeoning city that is doing so well on so many fronts, but except on the economic upward mobility."

Two years ago a Harvard study showed Charlotte in last place when it comes to economic mobility.

The study indicated those born into poverty in the city have a slim chance of escaping it.

One panelist suggested politicians should raise taxes on people living in well to do neighborhoods to help those who are struggling. JCSU president believes education helps break the cycle of poverty by offering people better paying jobs.

"We think that the promise that we make to our students and ultimately to the businesses, that we are going to educate students that can think critically, communicate effectively, work independently as well as collaboratively and most importantly be able to demonstrate competence and excellence in their chosen fields,” Armbrister said.

Armbrister’s inauguration speech will mention economic mobility. His theme will be “Rise to the Pinnacle: Light the World.” He believes JCSU is in a good position to make impact.

“One thing that has really impressed me with this community,” JCSU president said. “The entire community, the business community, the civic community, the political leadership and that this is an issue that they are willing to tackle head on, and we think Johnson C. Smith is going to be part of that conversation.”

After the President’s Installation Ceremony there will be an Inauguration Gala Friday evening at the Charlotte Convention Center. The guest speaker will be The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia.

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