WILBERFORCE — Central State University is staying in house for its new president.
The board of trustees on Friday introduced Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti — who previously served as vice president for research and economic development and director of land-grant programs — as the university’s 10th president. He replaces Dr. Jack Thomas, who served from 2020-2023 and did not seek a new contract.
“I am grateful for the Central State University Board of Trustees for the opportunity and the privilege to serve as the 10th president of this great institution,” Kuti said after receiving a standing ovation from those in attendance. “I stand here today as a symbol of our collective successes.”
Kuti has also served CSU as the associate provost for research and interim dean of the John W. Garland College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture, securing more than $20 million in public and private funds that have enhanced Central State’s physical infrastructure, enabled faculty research and scholarly activities, and provided students with scholarships and experiential learning opportunities. He has administered $225 million in public and private funds since 2005.
“After completing a nation-wide search, it became clear that one candidate rose to the top,” said Jacqueline Y. Gamblin, board chair. “A strategic thinker, a creative leader, and someone with a proven record of facilitating positive outcomes. Over the course of his career at Central State, thousands of students have been positively impacted by his programs. And what makes this even sweeter, is that Dr. Kuti earned his bachelor of science degree right here at Central State University.”
Kuti and his team also led the effort to secure USDA approval for the new 40,000 square foot research facility under construction across from the main campus on U.S. 42.
But Kuti isn’t stopping there. He outlined three immediate items he wants to tackle: Improving the quality of student experience and academic outcomes; taking full advantage of the university’s land grant mission; and increasing the efficiency and standard of business at the university to improve customer service.
“This is your university,” he told the students in attendance. “You own it and act like it. You must hold us accountable when we don’t live up to our best possibilities. You paid to be here.”
Kuti said when a customer at McDonald’s orders a combo meal and an item is missing, they don’t “smile happily.”
“No, you complain,” Kuti said. “When a faculty member cancels class, don’t celebrate it. You paid for it. When the basketball coach doesn’t hold practice as he’s supposed to, don’t be happy. You already paid for it.”
But he quickly cautioned that accountability must be called for in a proper way.
“You must register your protest in a judicious manner,” Kuti said. “Facebook doesn’t solve the problem. You have to go through the channels to make sure the problem is resolved.”
In addition to his BS from CSU, Kuti holds a master of business administration in finance from St. Thomas University, and a doctorate in public policy and administration from Walden University.
The list of finalists has not yet been made public, however this news organization has made a public records request for that information, as well as the details of Kuti’s contract.
Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.