A leader is trying to bring one of the oldest HBCUs back to prominence.
Chris V. Rey, J.D., used to serve active duty and the Army National Guard service.
He’s now the International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., which is one of the oldest historically Black fraternities in our country.
In July 2023, Rey accepted the appointment of new president for Barber-Scotia College in Concord.
“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to become,” Rey said. “Since I have become president, I have met individuals who are scientists, doctors, lawyers, educators, businessman and women who have said Barber-Scotia saved my life.”
What became Barber-Scotia was founded in 1867, but the college has gone through some major obstacles over the years.
In 2004, Barber-Scotia lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Since that time, enrolled declined dramatically.
“When I took over in July, we just had our last graduation of students,” Rey said. “It was a very small graduation, three or four students.”
Despite the challenges, Rey says the tide is turning.
He’s focused on rebuilding and ensuring the college’s financial stability and growing enrollment.
“We just kicked off the winter semester, started with about 9-10 students. We’ll see where it goes from there,” Rey said.
In October, Rey says Barber-Scotia will be applying for re-accreditation.
“I believe when we get to the spring or fall of 2026, Barber-Scotia will be an accredited institution,” Rey said.
Rey says in order to keep this piece of Black history up and running, he’ll need continued support from HBCU leaders and alumnus.
“I can’t do this by myself, I realize that,” Rey said. “I know the history of this institution means a lot to this community because it’s what we had.”
Rey says in addition to traditional academic programs, the college is in the process of developing a workforce development program.
“I fully expect within the next year, we’ll have students walking the campus getting certified in HVAC, electricians, carpenters, plumbers. We want to make sure we provide a pathway for those students,” Rey said. “Then, we’ll be heavily investing in certification programs, specifically on the cyber-security and artificial intelligence side, and other certifications that we know everyday people may need and giving them an affordable option to consider it.”