Queens University of Charlotte Monday named a new president. Daniel Lugo will begin the job on July 1, succeeding longtime Queens President Pamela Davis who is retiring. Lugo is currently vice president for college advancement at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
In addition to his career in higher education, Lugo practiced law including work in the entertainment industry. He talked with WFAE's Mark Rumsey.
Mark Rumsey: Congratulations to you. And what attracted you to Queens University here in Charlotte?
Daniel Lugo: Well thanks for the kind welcome and congratulations. I discovered Queens through the search process and as you know, Dr. Pamela Davis has done such an amazing job of building a comprehensive university with great academic programs on the undergraduate as well as graduate level.
Every time I studied and learned more about this place, I was just more and more intrigued by its distinct history, its culture of being a welcoming institution to people of all types of diverse backgrounds, its pluralistic viewpoint of valuing differences and bringing people from different backgrounds together. And I want to see places like Queens thrive. I think it's a model for our country and our world.
These are incredibly challenging times and the more students that we can have that come to inviting environments — that bring people together to train them how to have robust debate and discussion in a way where we value each other, we're gracious to each other and we're kind to each other. I think that we are the exact model for what our future leaders need for this country and the world.
Rumsey: That said, and knowing that diversity and inclusion efforts have been a focal point of your education career. Are there things there that you think have growing room? You said you see Queens as a model, but is there room to grow as well, and if so how?
Lugo: What's happening at Queens right now is incredibly admirable, but there are so many things that can and will happen over the next five to 10 years and I'm looking forward to working with our faculty, with this board, to really find out what their best ambitions and dreams are for this incredible community.
Rumsey: But just sticking for a moment with that theme of diversity and inclusion. You said there will be room to grow. Is there something specific that you'll be working to make that growth or improvement evident?
Lugo: Yeah. So I think this is it. This is a community whose student body has done incredibly admirable work of welcoming a new and more diverse group of students from all over the region and all over the country. This campus I guarantee you looks a lot different in its complexity of its student body today than it did 10 years ago.
I think that what we also need to do — and many of the best institutions across the country need to do — is look at how we diversify our faculty and our staff so that our students that come from these diverse backgrounds need to see real models of excellence of people like them that are thriving in their fields and in their careers. It creates a really wonderful cycle of you know mentorship that people can feel much more welcomed and much more — you know — engaged in a community where they see people like themselves in positions of instruction and in positions of leadership.
Rumsey: What do you think your biggest challenge coming on board at Queen's University in Charlotte will be?
Lugo: You know, I am excited to work with with the senior leadership team here — with the board, with faculty and staff. What I know about the place is that it's a hard-working community, a dedicated community and a welcoming community. I think the learning curve is going to be one that I look forward to taking on learning the culture and the traditions and learning about the dreams and aspirations of this place.
I think these are hard jobs. I was looking for a job that would be something highly meaningful to me because they're quite the investment of time and energy, and I couldn't be more excited about every aspect of this role here at Queen's University.
Rumsey: That's Dan Lugo. He was just named the president of Queens University of Charlotte beginning in July. Mr. Lugo, thanks for talking with us.
Lugo: Well, it was a pleasure speaking with you. I look forward to being a member of the Charlotte community and talking with you again.