Maria Pharr

2020-21 Aspen New Presidents Fellow
Dr. Maria A. Pharr began her role as president of South Piedmont Community College on January 1, 2017, becoming the fourth president in the college’s history. Dr. Pharr came to South Piedmont with extensive experience in a variety of roles at community colleges, including faculty, staff, and administration, as well as experience in state-level positions. Most recently, she served as executive director of BioNetwork and Life Science Initiatives, a workforce development program within the North Carolina Community College System that supports the state’s bioscience industry. Dr. Pharr holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Andrews University and earned her master of arts in science education and doctor of education in higher education administration from East Carolina University.

Since coming to South Piedmont, Dr. Pharr has worked to establish the college as an integral partner in economic and workforce development as well as in community and cultural engagement in Union and Anson counties. Dr. Pharr serves on the board of directors for the Union County Chamber, the Anson County Chamber, Monroe-Union County Economic Development, and the Anson County Economic Development Partnership. She was named one of Union County’s Most Powerful Women in 2018 and was recently chosen as a 2019 East Carolina University Incredible Woman.

Dr. Pharr grew up in Havelock, North Carolina. She and her husband, Jonathan, live in Indian Trail, North Carolina. In her free time, Dr. Pharr enjoys life’s simple pleasures, including spending time with family and friends, reading, taking in the tranquility of nature, or cheering on her favorite sports teams.