Irving McPhail passes away due to COVID-19

Irving McPhail, a leader in higher education, has died from complications of the coronavirus. He was 71.

Irving McPhail

A titan of leadership, McPhail left an indelible impression on the community college sector. The founding chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), McPhail was the recipient of many awards for his leadership, including the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Educator of the Year in 2012, the Alumni of Color Achievement Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004, and the Pioneer Award from the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) affiliated council, the National Council on Black American Affairs in 2000. McPhail was the president of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering for the U.S. Department of Energy.

In July, McPhail was named the 12th president of St. Augustine University, a historically Black university in North Carolina.

McPhail grew up in New York and earned a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, a master’s degree in reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a doctorate in reading and language arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Irv was a leader among leaders,” said AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus. “He was a true servant leader that advanced so many initiatives while helping others achieve their goals. He was a success story – a first-generation Black college student that achieved success academically at an Ivy League university. His credentials were plentiful, and he exuded confidence while remaining humble and relatable to so many students. He was a mentor to a number of young leaders and his legacy will live on in their success.”

McPhail was married to former Cypress College President Christine Johnson McPhail. St. Augustine University has announced that Maria A. Lumpkin will serve as the interim president.

About the Author

Martha Parham
is senior vice president of public relations at the American Association of Community Colleges.