Cynthia Warrick, the first woman to serve as president at Stillman College, announced her 2023 retirement Thursday after leading the institution for more than five years.

Warrick was first named interim president at Stillman in January 2017 after her predecessor Peter Millet left the role to take a job in Tennesee.

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Her impact was immediate, as she raised millions of dollars from Stillman alumni to help cover the school's debts, which were the cause of a financial crisis that threatened to close the college if left unaddressed. According to the school, Warrick saw $40 million in debt paid off or forgiven during her tenure and she is leaving the College a debt-free institution.

Warrick also helped stabilize declining enrollment numbers at the historically black college, although progress in the other direction was stunted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Thursday ceremony, Warrick said she is nearing 70, has been working since seventh grade and has six grandchildren with who she is rarely able to spend time.

She said after much consideration, she has decided to retire when her current contract ends in June 2023.

“Stillman is a special place and Tuscaloosa is a great college town. I will cherish the outpouring of support from the local community, the state, and the alumni that has contributed to the success that we have achieved during my tenure,” Warrick said. “Stillman is now at a place where a new president can build on the solid foundation of teaching, research, and community service that we have established in the past five years.”

She said in her time at the helm, she is most proud of seeing its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges extended through 2030.

No successor has been named to replace Warrick, and she said the College's board of trustees will lead a national search to identify and hire the next president before the end of her time in the role next year.

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