CULLOWHEE– Abdul M. Turay, dean of research and graduate studies at Western Carolina University since July 1998, will step down from the position this summer to become provost and vice president of academic affairs at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, Turay is the first African-American to hold the title of dean at Western.

Turay served as dean during a period of rapid change and enrollment growth, overseeing the development of several new graduate degree programs and improving external funding for faculty research, Provost Kyle Carter said. Carter will meet with the Graduate Council and staff of the Graduate School and Office of Sponsored Research in the coming weeks to discuss the process for finding Turay's replacement.

“Dr. Turay is leaving the Graduate School at a time when the university is placing a greater emphasis on graduate education and sponsored research,” Carter said. “The person who follows Dr. Turay will need to build upon his accomplishments to raise the level of support for graduate education and research. I appreciate the contributions Dr. Turay has made to graduate education and wish him well.”

Turay came to Western from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where he was professor of economics and dean of graduate studies and research. He previously was a faculty member and administrator at Radford University and Mississippi State University .

Turay earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1972, a master's degree in economics from Atlanta University in 1973, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Oklahoma in 1978.

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Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2005
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