“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” – Marian Anderson.
As President and CEO of the HBCU Campaign Fund organization, a supportive non-profit group for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, leadership plays a substantial role in the operation of an institution. This select group of individuals is responsible for shaking policies, changing perspectives and making decisions that affect millions through their educational needs daily at an HBCU institution.
Below, HCF has compiled a list of ten HBCU Presidents who are dominant influential leaders and currently displaying the following responsibilities in leadership in the progress of moving their institutions forward.
10. Dr. Andrea L. Miller – President of LeMoyne-Owen College – Memphis, TN
Making history by becoming the first women and the second alumnus to serve as president since the college was founded in 1862. Dr. Andrea L. Miller was appointed as the 12th President of LeMoyne-Owen College and took office on September 1, 2015.
Since taking the helm, Dr. Miller most significant highlights are stabilizing enrollment by nearly 1,000 students and increasing its endowment fund with $12.8 million inputted. With a strategic plan, Miller has a set goal of doubling enrollment and the endowment by the year 2020.
With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, prior to her appointment at LeMoyne-Owen College, Dr. Miller served as chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) in Louisiana. She also served for five years as chancellor of SOWELA Technical Community College in Louisiana. And served six years as Provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Tennessee Community College and vice president for Academic Affairs/dean of faculty at LeMoyne-Owen College.
9. Dr. Hakim J. Lucas – President of Virginia Union University – Richmond, VA
Just recently named as the 13th President of Virginia Union University, Dr. Hakim J. Lucas brings nearly two decades of progressive leadership experience in higher education.
Dr. Lucas is swiftly establishing innovating ways at the helm in constituting the institution forward by involving the students physically and socially to interact their necessary needs in continuing their education. His career success includes fundraising, strategic planning, and the engagement and retention of students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Prior to his appointment at VUU, Dr. Lucas served as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bethune-Cookman University. He also served as Director of Development at State University of New York at Old Westbury and the Dean of Institutional Advancement and Development at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Lucas received his bachelor’s from Morehouse College, a masters degree from Tufts University and a master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. He received his doctoral degree in education from Fordham University.
8. Dr. Austin A. Lane – President of Texas Southern University – Houston, TX
Dr. Austin A. Lane, who was named the sole finalist in becoming the 12th President of Texas Southern University, assume post on June 7, 2016. He replaced Dr. John M. Rudley, who served as president since 2008.
Committed to focusing on student recruitment and maintaining strong enrollment and retention polices at TSU. Dr. Lane served as Executive Vice Chancellor of Lone Star College, where he was the lead administrator for Academic Affairs, Student Services, Workforce Education, Corporate College, Honors College, International Programs, Strategic Planning and Assessments and University Centers in the Woodlands and University Park. He also served as the third president of Lone Star College – Montgomery for six years, leading an institution that experienced the fastest growth in Texas and the nation. Dr. Lane also served in a host of prior positions.
As a native of New Jersey, he received a bachelor’s degree from Langston University in Oklahoma, a masters from the University of Oklahoma, and an Ed.D from the University of Alabama.
Dr. Lane has been as a recipient of the 2015 Drum Major Award, 2014 Interfaith of the Woodlands Hometown Hero Honoree, and 2012 Pacesetter of the Yard of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.
7. Dr. Kevin D. Rome – President of Fisk University – Nashville, TN
Named as the 16th President of Fisk University, Dr. Kevin D. Rome Sr. brings his transformational leadership to the university.
Taking office as of June 30, 2017, Dr. Rome served as President of Lincoln University of Missouri. During his tenure, Rome managed a budget in excess of $57 million and was responsible for overseeing the operational efficiency of the university. The university witnessed a 50% increase in student enrollment in addition to the creation of institutional programs and initiatives.
Prior to serving as President of Lincoln University of Missouri, Dr. Rome served as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at North Carolina Central University. He also served as vice president for Student Services at Morehouse College, vice president for Campus Life at Clayton State University, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Diversity at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and a Master’s degree from the University of Georgia. He also received a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
6. Dr. Ruth J. Simmons – President of Prairie View A&M College – Prairie View, TX
On October 19, 2017, Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, a nationally recognized leader in higher education, became the sole finalist and was named the 8th President of Prairie View A&M University.
Bringing to PVAMU, administrative experience in Ivy League schools, a women’s university, and a historically black college. Dr. Simmons served as President of Brown University from 2001-2012. Prior to, she held an appointment as professor of Africana Studies at Brown. She served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of South California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming President of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States.
Dr. Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from UNCF, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-kill Medal and many more.
Dr. Simmons received her bachelor’s degree from Dillard University, a masters and doctoral from Harvard University.
5. Dr. Makola M. Abdullah – President of Virginia State University – Petersburg, VA
Welcomed as the 14th President of Virginia State University, Dr. Makola M. Adullah brings premier leadership to the university.
Under his leadership, the university has experienced significant achievements. Those include an increase of 50 percent in the freshman enrollment. The university was recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 “Best Colleges For African-Americans” by ESSENCE magazine. Established partnerships with local school systems wherein VSU students tutor students in mathematics and reading and opened the Academic Center of Excellence as one-stop hub for first-year students to receive career and academic advising and tutorial services.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Abdullah served as provost and senior vice president at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Fla., and dean and director of 1890 land grants programs at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fla.
Dr. Abdullah received his Bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a Master’s degree from Northwestern University. He also received his doctoral degree from Northwestern University. Dr. Abdullah is the youngest African American to receive a Ph.D. in engineering.
Dr. Abdullah was named the HBCU Male President of the Year by HBCU Digest in 2017.
4. Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack – President of Harris-Stowe State University – St. Louis, MO
Appointed as the President of Harris-Stowe State University, effective July 14, 2014. Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack brings more than 15 years of higher education experience to Harris-Stowe at the time.
Since his tenure at HSSU, a few of his significant highlights includes increasing grants totaling approximately $3.5 million, HSSU was approved to offer graduate degree programs, for the first time in university history, increased academic degree programs by 100%, going from 14 majors to 31 majors and minors in one year, and increasing applications by over 100% in the past five years.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Warmack served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Bethune-Cookman University and at the age of 33, making him the youngest Vice President in the school’s history. He was then promoted to senior vice president for Administration and Student Services. Dr. Warmack also held positions at Rhodes College, Western Carolina University, and Delta State University.
Dr. Warmack holds a doctor of education degree in educational leadership with specialization in higher education from Union University in Jackson, TN. He received his bachelors and masters degrees both from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS.
3. Dr. Roslyn C. Artis – President of Benedict College – Columbia, SC
Earning for the second time in history, the distinct honor of serving as the first-female President of a collegiate institution in the United States. Dr. Roslyn C. Artis was named President of Benedict College on June 30, 2017.
Prior to her appointment at Benedict, Dr. Artis served as President of Florida Memorial University where unrestricted gifts increased by 20%, restricted gifts increased by 38%, and revenue from grants and sponsored research increased by 22%. Dr. Artist is credited with soliciting and receiving the largest gift from a single donor ($3.8 m) in the institutions history. She completed construction on a state-of-the-art Science Annex and a comprehensive Athletic Facility and Wellness Center on campus.
Serving as an educational advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Dr. Artis has served as Chair of the Educational Committee for the Department of Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) to which she was appointed by former U.S. Security Jeh Johnson under the administration of President Barack Obama.
Dr. Artis received her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State University, a doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. She holds a Juris doctorate from West Virginia University College of Law. She also holds a certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University and a certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University.
2. Dr. Herman J. Felton Jr. – President of Wiley College – Marshall, TX
Named as the 17th President of Wiley College on December 11, 2018. Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr., is one of HBCUs fervent leaders to take the helm.
Prior to accepting the post at Wiley, Dr. Felton has served as the President of Wilberforce University. During his tenure, he successfully secured $3.8 million in programmatic grants to strengthen the institutions Master degree programs; increased career placement through advisement, and created an Intramural Complex with a $50,000 grant secured from the Home Depot Retool Your School Campus Improvement Program. As a result of Dr. Felton’s engagement efforts, alumni support grew significantly, with $458,000 in gifts being garnered at the 2017 Wilberforce University National Alumni Association Conference. Dr. Felton also secured $350,000 to create the Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Good, and Transformational Leadership.
He is the co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.), an organization ensuring that a pipeline of transformational, highly skilled and principal leaders are identified and cultivated to meet the needs, challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Felton received his bachelor’s degree from Edward Waters College and a J.D. from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
1. Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough – President of Dillard University – New Orleans, LA
Coming to Dillard University in 2012, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough has been recognized for his superlative leadership, research and writings on and in HBCUs as well as on African-American men in college.
Dr. Kimbrough previously served seven years as President of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR. During his tenure, the college dramatically increased student recruitment and graduation rates. The university adopted a new mission and greatly raised its stature by focusing on its core values and history as an HBCU and a charter member of UNCF.
As President of Philander Smith, Kimbrough was among the youngest college presidents in the nation at the age of 37. Prior to, he served four years as vice president for Student Affairs at Albany State University in Albany, Ga. He also served as director of Student Activities and Leadership at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA., and held administrative posts at Georgia State University and Emory University.
Kimbrough has received numerous honors and awards. He was selected as a 2001 Nissan-ETS HBCU Fellow and a 2002 participant in the Millennium Initiative Sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In 2009, he was named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the “25 To Watch.” And in 2010 he made the coveted EBONY magazine Power 100 list of the 100 doers and influencers in the African-American community.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, a masters from Miami University, and a doctoral from Georgia State University.