The Charlotte school said in a news release Wednesday that Clarence Armbrister will become the university's 14th president on Jan. 1.
Armbrister is currently president of Philadelphia's Girard College, an independent college preparatory school for students from economically disadvantaged families.
He will replace Ronald L. Carter, who steps down Dec. 31 after leading the school for nine years.
Armbrister has also worked in Philadelphia's school district and held senior administrative positions at Temple University and Johns Hopkins University.
Johnson C. Smith is one of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, offering a private liberal arts education to about 1,600 students.
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