NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Orangeburg native James H. Salley has been named president and chief executive officer of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc.

The Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. Board of Directors voted last week to create the position of president/CEO and name Salley to it as part of the ongoing evolution of governance within the United Methodist-related institution.

“We are thrilled to name Mr. Salley the first president/CEO of Africa University Inc., the U.S. organization that raises, holds and distributes funds for the benefit of Africa University,” board Chair Lisa Tichenor said.

The new role is in addition to Salley’s current responsibilities as associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement.

Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. is the oldest of three legal entities that comprise Africa University. It was created in 1988 to enable the birth of Africa University as part of the global mission and ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Two Zimbabwe-registered entities were subsequently added—Africa University (Zimbabwe), which delivers the teaching/learning, research and community outreach operations of the institution; and the Mutare United Methodist Educational Company (MUMEC), which holds title to Africa University’s physical assets in Zimbabwe such as land, buildings and other infrastructure.

Bishop Julius C. Trimble, chair of the AU (Tennessee) Board Development Committee, said “Mr. Salley’s record of leading the efforts to raise friends, funds and institutional stability and growth for AU is well documented.

“The growth in enrollment of students and the expansion of buildings and partnerships is a reminder that with God, all things are possible. This new role allows Mr. Salley to continue to cast the vision and open partnership windows for resources as he works with his Africa University Development Office team, the vice chancellor and leadership team of Africa University (Zimbabwe) and friends of Africa University across the globe.”

A graduate of South Carolina State University, Salley once worked as the director of institutional advancement for S.C. State.

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Known to many as “Mr. Africa University,” Salley was a member of the site selection committee which chose Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, in 1988 as the future home of Africa University.

He served on Africa University’s founding board of directors, representing the General Board of Global Ministries.

In 1992, Salley left the AU board and a senior institutional advancement role at S.C. State to become Africa University’s chief advancement officer.

He established the Africa University Development Office, located within the headquarters of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The AUDO, managed by Mr. James H. Salley since 1992, has developed into a major organization requiring leadership of a CEO,” Tichenor said. “With over $100 million in endowed funds, it requires the structure and leadership to continue to build Africa University. As the United Methodist Church determines its course, Africa University will have a strong presence to ensure support for future African students.”

Bishop Mande Muyombo, chair of the Africa University (Zimbabwe) Board of Directors, highlighted Salley’s hard work and dedication.

“He has been the face of Africa University and has been preaching Africa University in the power of the Holy Spirit throughout the U.S.A. and the world,” Muyombo said. “To name Mr. Salley as president/CEO of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. is a recognition of the growth of Africa University, and its nearly 30 years of investing in Africa’s future.

“It is also a celebration of the hard work of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the agency that has been the focal point for implementation of the vision of the United Methodist Church of ‘a university for all of Africa.’”

Africa University has 3,116 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 academic year, of whom 540 are studying part-time. There are 27 African nations represented in the student body this year and 57.5 percent of the students are female.

The formal celebration of the 30th anniversary of the opening of Africa University is scheduled for Oct. 22-24, 2022. The celebration will feature virtual, as well as in-person, events in various parts of the world.

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