Last week, the board of governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education voted to make interim president, and longtime Pittsburgh resident, Aaron Walton, president of Cheyney University, the financially-troubled HBCU near Philadelphia.
And days later, that choice, though not without controversy, appears to have been vindicated.
“We just received notice from Middle States Commission on Higher Education that Cheyney has been granted another year of accreditation on probationary status,” Walton told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive phone interview, Nov. 20. “The full report will be up on their website soon.”
“Unquestionably, Aaron Walton has demonstrated his commitment to Cheyney University and to helping to secure its future—working tirelessly on behalf of the institution and its students over the past nearly six months.”Walton, 70, is a retired vice president at Highmark, and was hired as Cheyney’s interim president in May, shortly after it was announced that the university, beset by declining enrollment and financial woes, was in jeopardy of losing its Middle States accreditation.
PSSHE board chair
At the time, he had to resign from the PSSHE board to accept the position, but he was also serving as co-chair of the Cheyney board-appointed task force, which constructed and approved, a “conceptual framework” for a new business model for the university, that also called for creating an “Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience” within the university.
If that weren’t controversial enough, the board had to waive a requirement that presidential search committees consult with a search firm and submit two names for consideration to any appointment.