After More Than 30 Years at the Helm, Jahnae Barnett Is Leaving William Woods University

Jahnae H. Barnett, who has served as president of William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, for the past 30 years, has announced that she will retire at the end of the calendar year.

Dr. Barnett is the longest-serving president in university history, and the first woman to hold the position. Beyond William Woods, Dr. Barnett is also the longest-serving female president of a four-year college or university in Missouri history, and is currently serving the second-longest active tenure of any four-year college or university president in the state.

Dr. Barnett began her tenure at  William Woods in 1973, when she became chair of the department of business and economics. She served as vice president of admissions, retention, and development at the university from 1983-1990. She was appointed president in April 1990.

During her tenure as president, enrollments have tripled. She guided the transition from a small college to university status and from a women’s college to a co-educational institution. The university’s endowment has increased by nearly 250 percent.

“Our university is in a good place to transition to a new president, thanks to the commitment of countless quality individuals I have had the pleasure of working with over these many years,” said President Barnett. “We have achieved many great things together, and I cannot adequately express the appreciation, honor, and privilege I feel from being a part of the William Woods community for 48 years.”

President Barnett holds a Ph.D. in higher education and student personnel services and a master’s degree in business education, both from the University of Mississippi.

Filed Under: Retirements


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