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.”

On Facebook, the school wrote that in just three months McPhail had left an incredible impression on its campus and in the community.

“In the short time he was the university’s chief executive officer, he made a memorable and positive impact in moving the University in the direction of being a 'Learning Centered' campus. The Saint Augustine’s University community deeply mourns the loss of President McPhail and we wish to extend to his wife, Dr. Christine McPhail; his children Dr. Kamilah McKissick and Mr. Ralph Bessard; family and friends left to cherish his memory our deepest condolences and prayers,” the statement read.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper wrote his condolences about the “dedicated” educator on Twitter over the weekend.

"Today, we mourn the loss of Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, a dedicated leader who made a positive impact on St. Augustine’s University in the short time he was President. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and the St. Augustine’s campus community," he wrote.

School officials say a search for a new president has begun and Maria A. Lumpkin, Saint Augustine’s vice president, will serve as interim president in the meantime. She previously held the interim position prior to McPhail’s hiring in July.

On Friday, school staff, administrators and students walked by McPhail's residence to pay their final respects.

Instead of flowers, the family has asked that any donations be made to the Drs. Irving Pressley and Christine McPhail Endowed Leadership/Scholarship Fund.

The university is scheduled to hold a memorial service for McPhail on Oct. 27, which will likely be a combination of virtual and in-person, school authorities told Inside Higher Ed.