Everett Blair Ward, former President of St. Augustine’s University and National President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, was born on November 6, 1958, at St. Agnes Hospital on the campus of Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, to businessman William Henry Ward and Dorothy Williams Ward, owner of Main Street Beauty and Barber Service in Franklinton, N.C. Dr. Felecia Ward Hardy was Everett’s only sibling.
Ward graduated from Saint Augustine’s College (now University) in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and communications. In addition, he received a Master of Arts degree in liberal studies from North Carolina State University in Raleigh in 1983, with a concentration in public administration and African American history.
Ward became the North Carolina Democratic Party’s first African American executive director in 1989. He served as the chairman of Saint Augustine’s University’s Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2011. Cassandra DeValle Lloyd Ward, his wife, died of breast cancer on September 15, 2011. There were no children present.
Ward received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University School of Education in Greensboro in 2013 and was named interim president the following year, in 2014. During that brief time, he focused on academic disciplines such as Mass Communication and Journalism, Criminal Justice, Public Health, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Ward was installed as Saint Augustine’s University’s 11th President a year later, in 2015. He was the University’s third alumnus to serve as president in its 151-year history.
Ward challenged the Divine Nine, which includes all Black fraternities and sororities, to become more involved in social activism and more active in financially supporting HBCUs on NewsOne Now, a televised African American morning news show hosted by Roland Martin in 2015. Ward was one of the first public figures to call on the National Football League (NFL) to end its requirement that players stand during the national anthem following the Colin Kaepernick protest in 2016. According to him, the policy prevents players from raising awareness about police brutality, hate crimes, and hateful rhetoric.
Ward was elected 35th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., of which he is a life member, in 2016. He also served as a superdelegate from North Carolina to the Democratic National Convention.
Ward stepped down as president of Saint Augustine’s in 2019. On January 19, 2019, he delivered the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation address at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Dr. Everett Blair Ward lobbied the United States Senate in 2020 to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. Ward also argued that if states and municipalities repeal the nationwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stay-at-home orders, African Americans would suffer disproportionately under President Donald J. Trump’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines.