Philander Smith College Appoints Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson as Interim President

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As part of its leadership transition, Philander Smith College (PSC) has announced the appointment of Cynthia Bond Hopson, Ph.D., to Interim President. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, Hopson will oversee the college’s strategic initiatives as the Board launches a nationwide search for a new president.

Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson appointed to serve as Interim President at Philander Smith College by the Board of Trustees. The Board is planned to launch a nationwide search for a new president.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am grateful to Dr. Hopson for her willingness to serve Philander Smith College during this period of great transition,” said Terry L. Esper, Ph.D., ’96, Board of Trustees Chair. “As a Board, we are committed to moving Philander Forward and we will certainly be able to do so under her leadership.”

Hopson is Chief Equity Officer and Assistant General Secretary of the Black College Fund (BCF) at the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) in Nashville, Tenn. In her work, she interprets, promotes and manages funding for the 11 United Methodist-related Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Since April 2021, her duties have included helping to craft intentional inclusion, diversity, equity and access foci for the GBHEM staff and constituency.

“We are excited for Philander Smith College as Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson embarks on her new journey as the interim president of this prestigious institution of higher education,” said Rev. Greg Bergquist, General Secretary of the GBHEM. “Her expertise and passion for education have made an invaluable impact on the culture of GBHEM and United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities across the United States.”

Hopson hosts the Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, and One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here podcast and has authored eight books, including Amazon best-seller I Do…Everyday, Wisdom for Newlyweds and Not-So Newlyweds, a book she co-authored with her late husband, Rev. Roger A. Hopson, senior pastor of the historic Centenary United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn. 

Hopson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University), a Master of Science in Journalism from Murray (KY) State University and a Ph.D. in Journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, III. She has served on the faculty of Lane College, Jackson, Tenn., Murray (KY) State University, and the University of Memphis. She has earned a certificate in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis, Ind., a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate from the University of Southern Florida Muma College of Business in Tampa, Fla. She is a member of the NAACP, the National Association of Black Journalists and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The Board of Trustees is in the process of defining the search committee and developing a description that aligns with the institution’s current needs and future goals.


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