NASHVILLE, TN (Feb. 15, 2021) – The Board of Trustees of Fisk University have named Dr. Vann Newkirk Sr. as the 17th President of Fisk University effective immediately. “We have had the pleasure of observing Dr. Newkirk’s outstanding work both as Provost and as interim president, and this was a unanimous decision by the Board,” said Chair Frank L. Sims. Dr. Newkirk has been an essential part of the amazing momentum that Fisk has built over the past five years. The University is poised for an exceptional future and Dr. Newkirk’s experience and insight around new programming and sponsored research will be instrumental as Fisk continues to cement itself as a top 10 HBCU and pursue its goal of becoming a top 50 liberal arts university.
During these challenging time for higher education, Dr. Newkirk has proven a track record of innovation, according to a press release by the University. Dr. Newkirk has launched several highly successful new programs at Fisk including bioinformatics, data science and social justice. These programs have not only contributed to the tremendous growth in enrollment but also the increased academic caliber of Fisk’s incoming student body. In the last two years, Fisk has had three Rhodes Scholar finalists and set numerous records for student outcomes.
Dr. Newkirk’s vision includes increasing enrollment, developing elite programs, expanding corporate partnerships, improving student outcomes, and building national awareness around Fisk’s outstanding results.
“I am deeply honored to serve as President of Fisk University and I am confident the best times are still to come for this remarkable institution,” said Dr. Newkirk.
Coupled with his vision, Dr. Newkirk brings a deep appreciation for the importance of financial stability and maintaining a sustainable enterprise.
“Fisk has finished consecutive years with an operational surplus and is really bucking the trend on a host of fronts in large part due to the leadership of Dr. Newkirk,” said Frank L. Sims.
Dr. Newkirk received his doctorate in history from Howard University and has been a proven leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Dr. Newkirk served as Provost for three years at Elizabeth City State University before joining the Fisk team as Provost in 2018 and serving as Interim President for the past 6 months. Dr. Newkirk has held numerous senior administrative and academic positions throughout his outstanding career. In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Dr. Newkirk is also a published scholar.