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Trustees install new leadership at summer meeting

July 10, 2019

Contact: Michael Tullier, APR, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Trustee Norma Clayton and Dr. Lily McNair
Clayton and McNair

At its annual summer meeting and retreat, held in Washington, D.C. June 27-29, Tuskegee University’s Board of Trustees installed a new slate of board officers, including Norma Clayton, who begins her service as board chair. The transition signals the conclusion of John E. Page’s tenure as board chair.

“I am grateful to both John Page and Norma Clayton for their enduring service to Tuskegee University and their collective contributions as leaders of our Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Lily D. McNair, Tuskegee University’s president. “They have each demonstrated tremendous devotion through their unwavering leadership, which I personally have benefited from during my inaugural year as president.”

Along with the change in board leadership comes changes in the term of their service. Elected officers will now serve for two-year terms, which is expected to bring with it a greater continuity in leadership.

As reflected by the current slate of board leadership, trustees also exercised the option of appointing a member of the university’s executive staff as board secretary — in this case, Tuskegee’s recently hired vice president of external affairs and general counsel, Charles Johnson.

New board officers beginning their service on July 1, 2019, include:

Norma B. Clayton, Chair

Residing in St. Louis, Missouri, Clayton recently retired as vice president for learning, training and development at The Boeing Company. First appointed to the board in 2009, her most recent responsibilities included serving as the board’s first vice chair (a position she held since 2015), as well as chair of its Nominating and Board Structure Committee. [read more]

Jonathan Porter ’95, First Vice Chair

Porter, vice president of Alabama Power Company’s Birmingham Division, is serving in his first elected role as a board officer. He graduated cum laude from Tuskegee in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2013. [read more]

Barron Witherspoon Sr. ’85, Second Vice Chair

Witherspoon serves as global vice president for industry affairs and corporate race initiative for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. He graduated cum laude from Tuskegee in 1985 with a degree in economics, and was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2017. He recently concluded his first term as chair of the board’s Development Committee. [read more]

Charles Johnson, Esq., Secretary

Johnson, a seasoned trial lawyer with nearly 50 years of expertise in higher education law, health law, dispute resolution and public policy, joined Tuskegee’s executive team in January 2019 as its vice president for external affairs and general counsel. Previously, he served as a partner with the Atlanta-based law firm Holland & Knight. [read more]

Page, a trustee since 2012, was elected to his first of four terms as board chair in 2015. His service since that time has seen the university strengthen its financial position and greater shared governance, with the addition of both faculty and student representation to the board. He also navigated the university through a leadership transition resulting in McNair’s hiring as president in 2018, as well as the removal of warnings and the reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). He will continue to serve as a university trustee and chair the university’s newly formed property foundation.

Philanthropically, Page spearheaded efforts to establish and fully endow a scholarship honoring former interim president, Dr. Charlotte P. Morris. He, along with his wife, Michele, have personally supported Tuskegee by endowing two scholarship funds,  contributing to the ongoing Adopt-a-Dorm program, and supporting President McNair’s Campaign for Leadership and Excellence.

More updates from the trustees’ summer board meeting and retreat can be found on its Board Communications webpage.

The Tuskegee University Board of Trustees serves as the university’s governing and fiduciary body. Its responsibilities include providing university oversight through its president, as well as helping to advance its engagement with students, parents, alumni and philanthropic donors. The board is comprised of up to 25 voting members, which include five trustees appointed by Alabama’s governor. Board-appointed trustees serve for three years; state-appointed trustees for four years. In addition to the 25 voting trustees, there are several non-voting ex officio members, who include the university’s president, the chair of the Faculty Senate, a student trustee elected by the student body, and Alabama’s state superintendent of education.

For more information about the Board of Trustees, visit

© 2019, Tuskegee University