What is now Saint Augustine’s University was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1867. The historically Black educational institution is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. But for the past 80 years, no Episcopal priest has been ordained in the university’s historic chapel.
But earlier this month, Nita Charlene Johnson Byrd was ordained in a ceremony presided over by the Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the eleventh bishop of North Carolina. Mother Nita, as she likes to be called, is the first woman to be ordained in the university’s chapel and the first woman to serve as chaplain at St. Augustine’s University.
A native of Raleigh, Mother Nita holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University. She earned a master of divinity degree at Duke University Divinity School.