An HBCU president in North Carolina has died from COVID-19 complications, Spectrum News reports.

On Friday, Saint Augustine’s University officials announced that Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail passed away on Thursday after coming into contact with at least one person off-campus who tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to, Dr. McPhail, 71, self-quarantined after discovering he’d been in the company of a person who had tested positive for the virus. The chairman of the university’s board said McPhail tested positive for COVID-19 about two weeks ago.

Days went by before McPhail experienced any symptoms. After he started having a fever, school officials said he was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. The SAU president died nearly two weeks after he found out he had contracted the illness.

An unnamed member of Dr. McPhail’s staff, who has since recovered and gone back to work, tested positive for the virus after meeting with the president recently, per Inside Higher Ed. School authorities say two students are also recovering after testing positive for the coronavirus.

In July, McPhail arrived on Saint Augustine's campus to serve as its 12th president. Prior to his position at Saint Augustine, McPhail was the president at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley and president at Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. He founded the McPhail Group LLC, a higher education consulting practice, and once worked as a founding chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County.

“He was a transformative leader,” Board of Trustees Chairman James Perry told Spectrum News. “The students loved him. The faculty loved him. The board loved him.”