Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller has accepted the call of The LeMoyne-Owen College’s Board of Trustees and will assume the presidency of the college on Sept. 1.

Robert Lipscomb, chairman of the board of trustees, made the announcement Thursday morning on the steps of Brownlee Hall on the campus at 807 Walker.

Lipscomb said there was “considerable debate and dialogue” that was unlike past practices – all part of “a very transparent process.” The input of multiple stakeholders was sought, gathered and seriously considered, he said.

The process continued Thursday morning with a “great debate,” said Lipscomb. There were many votes and “the initial vote was not unanimous. That lets you know we had two great candidates… At the end of day we think we have selected someone that can take this college immediately to the next level.ake this college immediately to the next level.

Miller leaves Baton Rouge Community College to become LOC’s 12th president, succeeding Johnnie B. Watson, whose retirement is effective June. 30. She emerged the choice over Dr. Russell “Russ” Wigginton, vice president for External Programs at Rhodes College.

The announcement scheduled for 10:30 a.m. was made over an hour later than intended, with those gathered on the LOC lawn seeking relief from the heat under trees and a tent.

There was applause when Lipscomb announced the choice.

“I hope you will get behind Dr. Miller like the board has gotten behind Dr. Miller,” said Lipscomb, noting that the final selection met with unanimous approval. “Our best days are ahead of us. And we’ve got to recommit that HBCUs are important.”

Miller, who has a doctorate in cell and developmental biology from Atlanta University, got her Bachelor of Science in Biology from LOC. She brought to the table 20-plus years of experience in higher education, including 6 years as LOC’s vice president for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty. She devoted another six years to serving as provost/executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Tennessee Community College, where she was responsible for strategic planning and institutional research.

The second LOC alum to serve as president (Watson was the first), Miller will be the first  woman to hold the position in the 153-year-plus history of the college.

NOTE: Check back with TSDMem phis.com for extended coverage Friday morning.