Though it has been 30 years since he was an undergraduate student, Kenneth St. Charles feels a bit like he is starting all over again as a first-year student.
Recently named Randolph’s new vice president of institutional advancement, St. Charles is spending his first weeks getting used to being 1,000 miles from home while also getting to know an entirely new community.
A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, St. Charles recently decided he wanted a change. Randolph’s vice president for institutional advancement position, he said, allowed him to experience a different part of the country—and utilize his strengths and experience in fundraising and development at the same time.
“I would see all these freshmen coming from different places every year, so one day I thought maybe it might be nice to see what they go through,” he said. “I consider myself a new freshman now, with new experiences and opportunities to go out and work with new people and learn about different cultures and environments.”
St. Charles brings more than 21 years of development, communication, and fundraising experience to Randolph. His most recent position was at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where he served since 2005, first as associate vice president and then as vice president for institutional advancement.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, his Master of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans, and his Ph.D. in educational administration with an emphasis in higher education from the University of New Orleans. Kenneth is also a retired lieutenant colonel for the United States Army Reserve.
During his September interview, St. Charles knew immediately he had come to the right place. He stayed in Lynchburg during the weekend of the Get! Downtown festival, where he was able to meet participating Randolph students, faculty, and staff. Though no one knew who he was, they were all friendly and approachable. One friendly student even approached him on campus and offered to give him directions through Main Hall to his interview.
“That was very special to me and made me feel like I was in a really friendly place,” St. Charles said. “I’m loving Randolph so far. The campus is just beautiful, there are a lot of nice people, and everybody has really made me feel welcome. I am especially looking forward to meeting and working with the wonderful donors and supporters of the College, especially the alumnae and alumni who love and passionately believe in their institution.”
One of his most challenging, but proudest professional accomplishments was helping Xavier University of Louisiana recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He believes Randolph is well-positioned for the future, and he is excited to join Randolph’s institutional advancement team.
“When we do our jobs well in development, it helps the College, it helps the students, and it helps the faculty,” St. Charles said. “I’m always excited about opportunities to discuss how we as a team in institutional advancement and alumni affairs can really support the College. It excites me to know that we are being counted on to make a difference for the future of the College. It’s like a personal challenge to do well.”
Outside of his professional achievements, St. Charles is even more proud of his family. His wife, Lori, still lives and works in New Orleans, but hopes to transfer to a new job of her own in Lynchburg. His two daughters, Taylor and Kennedy, both attended Xavier University of Louisiana. The eldest, Taylor, earned her degree in speech pathology and is now training to be a police officer. His youngest daughter, Kennedy, is a senior majoring in business at Xavier.
An avid jogger and cyclist, St. Charles is looking forward to taking on Lynchburg’s many hills and exploring the many nearby mountainous trails in his spare time. He also enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, and gardening.
“Everyday living is a hobby for me,” he said. “Very simple things make me happy, and I have a very open disposition. Most people I have worked with felt like I was very fair and easy to have a conversation with. No matter who they are, I want to learn more about them, and I want them to learn more about me.”
The Randolph community will have a special opportunity to meet St. Charles at a community coffee event this Wednesday at 10 a.m.