University Economic Development Association


2024 Summit Sponsorship

Summit Theme: Regionalism: Prosperity Through Collaboration

Co-Sponsored by:

2022 UEDA Summit Speaker

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.

President, Norfolk State University

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston is the seventh President of Norfolk State University. She began her tenure on June 24, 2019. As President, she is committed to ensuring that Norfolk State University fulfills its mission as an HBCU for the modern world, a university grounded by its heritage, focused on the future, and deeply committed to student success. Her vision is opportunity, access, affordability, growth, sustainability, and student excellence. A strong advocate for collaboration and developing strategic partnerships with local, regional, and state and national stakeholders, Dr. Adams-Gaston is committed to cultivating strong connections in the university, among alumni and in the community.

Under President Adams-Gaston’s leadership, Norfolk State University has successfully achieved the status of a U.S. News and World Report 2020, 2021 and 2022, Top 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) designation. The university attained 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by its major accrediting body, The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This reaffirmation underscores the University’s strength, stability, and forward momentum. Enrollment increased to a six-year high in Fall 2019 to 5,600 students. The University realized record high operating revenues 104% above projection, the highest in the history of Norfolk State. And Dr. Adams-Gaston has been successful in acquiring multiple donations including a transformational gift of over $40 million from Mackenzie Scott, the largest single donor gift in the
history of NSU.

Since President Adams-Gaston’s arrival, Norfolk State University has also expanded its online academic program curriculum to include a master’s degree in Cybersecurity and has been recognized nationally and designated as a Department of Defense Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity and Department of Energy Cybersecurity Consortium Leader. Under her leadership, the online master’s degree in Cyber Psychology, the first in the nation, launched in Fall 2020 in connection with Academic Partnerships. The university has secured grants of more than $8.3 million for scholarships and financial support to enhance student success during her tenure. Her strategic planning has also helped to secure transformational partnerships with the Sentara Healthcare- Public Health Program, Appalachian School of Law 3+3 program, Academic Partnerships, Dominion Energy, Micron Technology, Inc., Netflix, 2U, Apple, Amazon, USAA, and the Pharrell Williams Black Ambition Prize and many others.

A nationally recognized higher education leader, President Adams-Gaston is an invited speaker nationally and internationally. She serves on multiple boards and in these roles, she has provided her unambiguous perspectives regarding HBCUs, Research I institutions, public universities, and independent colleges. Her appointments and honors have included: President Biden’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, NCAA Board of Governors, NCAA Constitution Revision Committee, NCAA Division I Transformation Committee, National Survey of Student Engagement Advisory Board, Board of Directors – Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU), leading SACSCOC Review and Reaffirmation committees, Executive Board- Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors- American Red Cross, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation Board Member, United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Board of Governors- Children’s Miracle Network, Greater Norfolk Corporation Board, Board of Trustees–The University of Dubuque Board of Trustees, Outstanding Alumnus (Hall of Fame) University of Dubuque, Diamond Honoree-American College Personnel Association, and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Pillar of the Profession.

An innovator and collaborator, President Adams-Gaston has played a critical role in developing transformational higher education programs throughout the nation. President Adams-Gaston is a higher education professional and scholar with more than 35 years of experience at nationally known research one universities and HBCU universities. Prior to joining Norfolk State University, Dr. Adams-Gaston served as senior vice president at The Ohio State University and led forty departments in the Office of Student Life annually impacting over 66,000 students. Prior to that she held multiple administrative and faculty positions at the University of Maryland College Park including associate dean of academic affairs, faculty member, executive director of the Career Center, equity administrator, psychologist and first UMCP African American female assistant athletic director (Division 1). Trained as a psychologist, Dr. Adams-Gaston spent more than 25 years in private practice. She also served as a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University. She was an affiliate assistant professor at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Adams-Gaston earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology, and general science, at the University of Dubuque; a master’s degree in psychology at Loras College; and a Ph.D. in psychology at Iowa State University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She considers her greatest achievement to be her family. She is married to Dmitri Gaston, MCRP, a planner and management analyst. They have three adult children, and they are extremely proud of them.


University Economic Development Association

PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
216.200.UEDA (8332)