Shaw President Tashni Dubroy headed to Howard University in Washington

Shaw University President Tashni-Ann Dubroy has resigned for a new position at Howard University, where she will be executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Dubroy, an entrepreneur and chemist, was only 34 when she was named president of her alma matter two years ago. She rekindled fundraising at the historically black university in downtown Raleigh and ushered in the first enrollment increase at Shaw in six years.

“We sincerely thank Dr. Dubroy for a remarkable tenure of service to Shaw University,” Joe Bell, Shaw board chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are proud of her energetic, inclusive and refreshing leadership and the manner in which she led our institution to surpass goals in student enrollment, fundraising and cost control. We wish her all the best in the next phase of her professional journey.”

Though Dubroy will go from a presidency to a second-in-command position, she will move to one of the nation’s most lauded historically black campuses. Howard is a private university in Washington with 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, a law school and a medical school.

Dubroy, a fiscal conservative, was seen as catalyst for a turnaround of Shaw’s finances, which had suffered because of a steady enrollment decline in recent years.

She modernized processes and re-instituted raises for employees. She hired a new leadership team and changed scholarship allocations, a controversial move that prompted protests early in her tenure.

Dubroy was a new kind of president at Shaw, one with a business background and little higher education experience.

A native of Jamaica, she attended a community college in New York before enrolling at Shaw, where she majored in chemistry. She went on to earn a doctorate at N.C. State University and to work as a scientist at BASF, a large chemical company. Dubroy moved to the business side of BASF and, as a part-time student, earned a master’s in business administration at Rutgers University.

Then she went into cosmetic chemistry, leaving BASF to start a hair-care company, Tea and Honey Blends, and a salon. She returned to North Carolina and eventually sold her share of the companies. In 2011, she came back to her alma mater to be a chemistry professor and later a department chair.

As president, Dubroy worked to form industry partnerships with technology companies and to boost Shaw’s presence in its booming downtown. Recently, Shaw opened its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund to expand small business and economic development in Raleigh. She was named 2017 CEO of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions of my professional life,” Dubroy said in a news release. “I am honored that Shaw University’s Board of Trustees entrusted me with the opportunity to lead my Alma Mater. I will always be grateful to Shaw University where I honed my leadership capabilities and expertise in my capacity as its 17th President. I envision the successes that our faculty, staff and I achieved together will continue to support Shaw’s forward motion into a strong and vibrant future. I look forward to using these treasured experiences in my new role at Howard University.”