New president steps onto the University of North Alabama campus

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Dr. Kenneth Kitts works from behind his desk on Monday as President of the University of North Alabama. (Carter Watkins - WHNT News 19)

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The University of North Alabama welcomed the school’s newest president to campus on Monday.  Dr. Kenneth Kitts is the 20th president to take the top spot in the school’s nearly 200-year history.

“There’s a warmth and a spirit here that’s really unusual in American higher education. I fell in love with this place when I came here to interview,” Dr. Kenneth Kitts said from his office at Bibb Graves Hall.

Kitts, the former provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, is now behind the president’s desk.

President Kitts said he follows a long list of successful university presidents at North Alabama, but he wants to chart his own course.

“There are many good things already in place here, and so in the early going I am focusing on meeting people, learning more about the institution and the community that is now my home, and we will decide where to go from there,” stated Kitts.

One way Kitts wants to learn the campus is by going back to his own roots.

“I want everyone to remember that the students are the reason we are here, and I think the easiest way for me to get to know the students and to get involved with the life of the campus community is to try and teach,” Kitts explained.

In the fall, President Kitts plans to teach an introduction to political science class, to better understand the students’ needs on campus.

Before his first day in office, President Kitts visited the University of North Alabama campus four times to meet with school and community leaders.

He plans to move his family to campus during the summer when his children finish their school year in North Carolina.