Tougaloo College Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Donzell Lee as Interim President

TOUGALOO, MS – Tougaloo College recently announced the appointment of Dr. Donzell Lee to serve as Interim President, effective July 1, 2023. Current president Dr. Carmen J. Walters informed the Board of Trustees of her intent to step down, effective June 30.

The Tougaloo College Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Donzell Lee to serve as Interim President, effective July 1, 2023.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we thank Dr. Walters for her service to the College and her efforts to build upon our 155-year history. We are especially grateful to Dr. Walters for her leadership over these past four years – leading the College through the COVID-19 global pandemic, significantly increasing the College’s endowment, and strengthening our external partnerships with organizations such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), among others. We, along the entire Tougaloo College family, wish her well in her future endeavors,” said Emond E. Hughes, Jr., Tougaloo College Board of Trustees Chairman.

Dr. Walters was named one of the National Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2023 by the HBCU Campaign Fund. Selected with a group of leader, she was among those who exemplify a prominent and influential role in leadership.

Dr. lee is a highly respected university administrator, faculty leader, public servant, and educational consultant with more than 40 years of diverse leadership experience. He has served as Interim President of Alcorn State University during its 2018-19 presidential search and later as Special Assistant to the President during the 2019-2020 academic year. Prior to that service, he served Alcorn for decades in numerous roles, including Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice Provost, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Chair of the Department of Fine Arts, and tenured Professor, among others. An expert in reaffirmation of accreditation, Dr. Lee also led Alcorn’s successful reaffirmation efforts with the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (SACS). Upon his retirement in July 2020, he was named Professor Emeritus at Alcorn. Dr. Lee holds a Ph.D. in music education from Louisiana State University, master’s degree from Stanford University, and bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Chairman Hughes states that the Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for Tougaloo College’s next president. The Board will establish a search committee, to be co-chaired by Trustees Dr. Blondean Y. Davis and Dr. Chris Gilmer, both of whom are well-respected administrators in academia. The search committee will be composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders.


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