GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — After years of budget woes at Guilford College, a new president is hoping to turn things around on campus.
Some of the goals for the newly appointed president, Dr. Kyle Farmbry, include improving enrollment, getting the budget back on track and bridging the gap of transparency between administrators, faculty, and students.
With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Farmbry will be the school’s 10th president and the first Black president at Guilford College.
“I’ve had a number of really wonderful experiences that I think add to the complete package that I bring to this institution and I hope that people will see everything that I bring to the institution,” Farmbry said.
Farmbry has quite an extensive resume.
With bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from George Washington University and a law degree from Rutgers University, he believes his more than two decades of experience in higher education has prepared him to be the school’s next president
“I hope that in my role I can help Guilford and the community to celebrate who it’s becoming,” Farmbry said.
FOX8 has been following the fallout over spending and faculty job security at the college for months.
Last school year, numerous teaching positions were cut, with more that were on the chopping block. Some undergrad majors were even at risk of being eliminated.
The school appeared to be in survival mode — operating under three different presidents within a year’s time.
Farmbry hopes his impact will be a lasting one.
“Throughout that strategic planning process, we’ll look at means of building ongoing trust. Building sort of a cohesive set of goals that we can work on behalf of to really provide the best education possible,” he said.
School officials said so far, the school’s Guilford Forward Fund, comprised of alumni and community members, has already pledged roughly $5.1 million to help chip away at the budget deficit the school has accumulated over the years.
“The $6 million goal, we’re ahead of schedule in terms of reaching that. I think we’ll probably surpass that goal and I think that’s a tremendous signal for in my case, anybody new coming to this institution,” Farmbry said.
With roughly 1,200 students enrolled at Guilford, Farmbry hopes to double enrollment over time.
“There’s tremendous value in learning in small communities and I hope that we can grow, but also continue sort of this notion of being able to learn in a concentrated and limited population size,” Farmbry said.
Another concern brought up by some in the Guilford College Community is maintaining Quaker values.
Farmbry said he went to a Quaker middle school and understands the value and role it’s played in his life and career today. He told FOX8, he wants to keep it a central focus at Guilford.
“For much of my experience working and getting to know these different communities, notions of equality and simplicity and critical thinking and just looking at peaceful ways of engaging with the communities around them have always been important parts of what I hope to ultimately become,” he said.
As Farmbry wraps up his career as an associate dean at Rutgers University, School of Public Affairs & Administration, he’s ready to start a new chapter in the Tar Heel State.
“I love live music, so I’m looking forward to learning about where the live music venues are. I love to take walks so you might spot me on a hiking trail in the area,” Farmbry said. “I think probably for the first few months, I’ll just want to learn about what’s going to be my new home,” he said.
Farmbry’s first day on the job will be Jan. 1, 2022.