HBCU alums help shape the lives of thousands of students. And, we at HCF are so proud of their success. Here is a pick of ten HBCU alumni in leadership and leading in exciting, cool, and well-known careers in several fields.

DeMarco Morgan – News Reporter and Anchor, CBS News

DeMarco Morgan currently anchors at KCBS, for CBS2 News This Morning.

Since joining CBS News in October 2015, Morgan has covered a number of stories ranging from a provocative series addressing the nation’s heroin epidemic to being the first on the air for the network anchoring a special report on the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Morgan field anchored live coverage for the CBS Evening News from Houston, TX in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and also anchored the network’s special report for the shooting massacre at a small Texas church. He also sat down with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for an exclusive interview at the Department of Justice on community policing.

A versatile reporter and anchor, Morgan has reported on a wide range of events, from the first national rally after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to President Obama’s second inauguration. Morgan’s investigative reporting in Atlanta on the infamous House of Prayers resulted in the conviction of an accused child molestor. His extensive coverage on the impact of HIV/AIDS on African American women led to hundreds of people getting tested for the deadly virus.

Morgan joined CBS News from WXIA TV in Atlanta, where he was a reporter and co-anchor of the station’s 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM weekday newscasts since 2012. When he was not on the air, Morgan also taught broadcast writing and reporting at Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University.

Previously, Morgan worked as a weekend anchor for WNBC TV in New York while also serving as a cut-in anchor for MSNBC. Prior to that, Morgan worked as a weekday evening anchor and reporter at WTVJ TV in Miami, at WISN TV in Wisconsin, and WJTV TV in Jackson, Mississippi.

He has been honored with several awards including 2009 Thurgood Marshall Prestige Award for his community service efforts while working at WNBC; the Atlanta Business League’s “Men of Influence” Award in 2012.

He was named one of the nation’s Top Ten Collegiate Journalists in the country in 2001 by Scripps Howard and named one of the Ebony Magazine’s Top 30 Future Young Leaders of America in 2006. Morgan was also named one of South Florida Magazine’s top 40 most influential black professionals in 2008.

Morgan graduated from Jackson State University, where he received a bachelor’s of science in liberal arts. He also earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. While at Columbia University, Morgan was a Fred Friendly Scholar and interned at CBS News and 48 HOURS.

Michelle Curtain Stewart, Ed.D. – President of the Institute for Clinical Social Work

Dr. Michelle Curtain Stewart

Michelle Curtain Stewart was appointed as the eighth president of the Institute for Clinical Social Work in July 2019. Dr. Stewart came to ICSW from Lane College in Jackson, TN, where she served as vice president of academic affairs and an associate professor of sociology. Prior to joining Lane College, she served as executive director of the International Association for the Study of the Commons at Indiana University. In that position, she worked with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and donors to support the organization’s global mission. In addition to holding various leadership positions, Dr. Stewart has participated in the following regional and national leadership development programs: Tennessee’s Executive Leadership Institute, Higher Education Resource Services, and the American Council on Education.

Dr. Steward holds a bachelor’s in political science from Alcorn State University, a master’s in sociology and doctorate in educational leadership both from Indiana University – Bloomington. Dr. Steward has more than twenty-two years of combined experience in business management and higher education leadership. She is an accomplished administrator and is a passionate advocate for educational access, social justice, and sustainable community engagement and development.

Myetie Hamilton – Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Chicago

Myetie Hamilton

Myetie Hamilton is a senior executive with over 20 years of experience leading innovative change in K-12 education, and has a deep personal and professional commitment to Chicago’s south side communities. Myetie currently serves as the Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Chicago. Prior to she served as the executive director EPIC Academic, a public charter higher school on the far southeast side of Chicago. In this role, Myetie lead organizational strategy and vision, fundraising and external relations, and board engagement.

Prior to taking on this role, Myetie served most recently as deputy chief of schools for network 9 with Chicago Public Schools, managing transformation efforts for 28 schools in Chicago’s Woodlawn, Bronzeville and Hyde Park communities. She also held positions in Chicago Public Schools as deputy chief of staff in the CEO’s office and chief of school business services for the district. In addition to her work in education, Myetie serves as board chair for the Provident Foundation, a non-profit with a mission focused on providing urban youth with exposure, mentoring and scholarship opportunities in the field of medicine.

Myetie believes deeply in supporting the children of Chicago and the importance of providing all students with access to quality school options. She was recently acknowledged by lifestyle media outlet Make It Better as one of Chicago’s 38 Top Black Women of Impact, and was a 2018 recipient of the Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award. Myetie holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Alabama A&M University, a master’s degree in public administration from Illinois Institute of Technology and is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Class of 2016.

Maurice Gipson, Ph.D. – vice chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, University of Missouri

Maurice Gipson, Ph.D

Dr. Gibson previously served as vice chancellor of diversity and community engagement at Arkansas State University, prior to being named vice chancellor of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at MU.

At Arkansas State, Gipson’s notable accomplishments include increasing overall minority student enrollment for three consecutive years, increasing community partnerships by 50% and developing strategic partnerships with 10 historically black colleges and universities as a graduate school pipeline. He also taught undergraduate courses in diversity and United Stats history.

Gipson also served two years as a special assistant to vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT. Prior to that, he served as an institutional advancement and diversity consultant at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, where he developed a strategic plan to address the poverty in the state. Prior to that, Gipson was a student diversity coordinator at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was responsible for developing a sustainable mentoring program.

Gipson is expected to receive a doctoral degree in history from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, in December, and holds a Juris doctor from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as well as a master’s degree in history for Missouri State University in Springfield, and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Dr. Jacqueline Gibson-Preastly

Jacqueline D. Gibson, Ed.D. – Vice President of Student Affairs, Mississippi Valley State University

Jacqueline Gibson earned a Bachelor’s in English in from Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU), a Master’s and Doctorate from the University of Akron in Communication and Higher Education respectively. Dr. Gibson began her career in Higher Education in ’99 – teaching English, Speech, and Communication. In 2000, she taught in Georgia State University’s Department of Communication and later moved to Director of McNair TRIO Program, until 2006. She than became Director of Learning Resource Center at Lincoln University, PA until 2008, and was promoted to Director of Student Life. In 2008, she was promoted to Dean of Students/Director of Student Life at Lincoln until 2012. In 2012-2013, she served at Kentucky State University as Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement and is currently Vice President of Student Affairs at MVSU.

Dr. Gibon’s professional development includes NASPA/SACSA Mid-Manager’s Institute, ACE’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Peer Review Evaluator for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, President of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Leadership Class, and member of the National Council of Negro Women.

Dr. Roger W. Davis – President, Community College of Beaver

Dr. Roger W. Davis

Dr. Roger Davis currently serves as the President of Community College of Beaver County (CCBC). Since coming to CCBC in July 2016, and prior to being appointed as Acting President, Dr. Davis served as Executive Vice President and Provost where he provided innovative leadership in support of a learning environment that values student achievement and degree completion. He oversaw all credit and non-credit instructional programs and provided guidance and support for college operations such as strategic planning, enrollment management, student success, and retention initiatives, and a culture of assessment.

Dr. Davis came to CCBC from SUNY Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, where he served as Associate Vice President of Instruction and Academic Services. His previous experiences included leadership positions at Bauder Colleged in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Vice President of Academic Affairs; University of Maryland University College, where he taught and had responsibility for a wide range of academic services as an Associate Dean and Assistant to the Provost, and at Morgan State University, where served as Assistant Director and supported the University Honors Program and worked with over 700 gifted students annually.

Dr. Davis earned a doctoral degree in Urban Educational Leadership from Morgan State University; a master of science degree in Adult Education, with Honors, from Coppin State College; and a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Tammie Hall – Division Director and Assistant to the Secretary for HUB Outreach for the State of North Carolina

Tammie Hall

Tammie Hall currently serves in the position of Division Director and Assistant to the Secretary for HUB Outreach for the State of North Carolina. She began service on June 1, 2017. Tammie is responsible for developing policy and guidelines for the State’s HUB program. She also serves as the authority in the field of minority business development and public sector M/WBE and HUB Programs. Responsibility also includes working with inter-agencies; such as community colleges, state universities, public schools, public entities such as local governments, municipalities, towns, airport authorities and hospital authorities. The HUB Office will oversee statewide: Certification Compliance, Outreach and Training.

Tammie is returned to state government having previously in several leadership roles developing successful HUB/MWBE programs in North Carolina. Most recently, she came to state government as an entrepreneur and having worked in corporate America as the Senior Regional Supplier Diversity Manager for Lend Lease Construction. In this role, she had HUB/MWBE program and compliance oversight for North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. She spent over eight years as a Congressional Staffer.

Tammie is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) where she earned a bachelor’s of science in Business Administration with a minor in Finance. She serves on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors where she is the Immediate Past President. Tammie has been a long time member of the NC MWBE Coordinators Network where she serves on the Board of Directors and is the Immediate Past President. She serves on the NC State HUB Advisory Committee and as a Board Member at Global Scholars Academy in Durham, NC. She is an active member of Union Baptist Church.

Katara Williams, Ph.D. – Chief of Staff, Southern University System

Dr. Katara Williams

Katara Williams, Ph.D., is the Southern University A&M College, Baton Rouge, and Southern University System’s Chief of Staff. As a three time graduate of the University, she strives to ensure that the University provides excellence educational and work environments for staff, students, and alumni. Katara is the first Black female in Louisiana’s history to be named the Executive Director for Highway Safety.

Katara holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mass communication, and a Ph.D. in public policy.

Stevie L. Lawrence II – Vice President, Postsecondary Education – Southern Regional Education Board

Stevie L. Lawrence II

Stevie L. Lawrence II joined Southern Regional Education Board in September 2019 as vice president for postsecondary education. In this role, he leads SREB’s postsecondary programs, such as the Academic Common Market, Doctoral Scholars Program, education data services and state authorization reciprocity agreements. He is also charged with developing additional initiatives to support postsecondary state officies and institutions.

Lawrence came to SREB from Fort Valley State University in Georgia, where he is founding dean of the University College and previouisly led student affairs and enrollment management. He has also held positions at the University of North Carolina system, Shaw University, Virginia Union University and Halifax Community College. His background includes strategic leadership in academic affairs, specifically in student success and retention.

Lawrence earned a bachelor of arts degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a master of public administration from North Carolina Central University and a doctor of philosophy in urban higher education from Jackson State University.

Dannelle Whiteside – Interim President, Austin Peay State University

Dannelle Whiteside

Dannelle Whiteside was appointed as interim president of Austin Peay State University effective, Aug. 10, by the Board of Trustees. She has served as APSU Vice President of Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board since 2017. Prior to coming to Austin Peay, Whiteside served as General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education of Civil Rights, General Counsel for the Tennessee Board of Education and District Policy Advisor for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Whiteside received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with honors and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, graduating Sumna Cum Laude.

Danelle Whiteside

CLARKSVILLE, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dannelle Whiteside as interim president, effective Aug. 10, in a called meeting. On June 18, Sam Houston State University named Dr. Alisa White, APSU’s current president, as the only finalist in its presidential search. If confirmed by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, White will assume her new role at Sam Houston in early August.

“Several outstanding candidates were considered for the interim presidency and Dannelle was the board’s consensus pick,” said Mike O’Malley, chair of the APSU Board of Trustees. “Dannelle background and experience makes her an excellent choice for this critical time in the University’s history.”

Whiteside has served APSU as Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board since 2017. Prior to coming to Austin Peay, Whiteside served as General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, General Counsel for the Tennessee Board of Education and District Policy Advisor for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Whiteside received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with honors and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

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About Austin Peay State University


Austin Peay State University is a comprehensive university committed to raising the educational attainment of the citizenry, developing programs and services that address regional needs, and providing collaborative opportunities that connect university expertise with private and public resources. For more information, visit www.apsu.edu.

PINE BLUFF, AR – Operations become particularly challenging when officials at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) were faced with the task of moving employees and students off-campus and transitioning all course to online delivery. The Windgate Foundation provided a $200,000 COVID-19 grant that made the transition slightly less challenging.

While the University worked to realign existing resources to address the crisis, it was obvious that additional funding was needed, according to George Cotton, Sr., Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. The Windgate grant will allow UAPB to manage operational costs directly related to COVID-19.

“The generosity of the Windgate Foundation is greatly appreciated,” said Cotton. “This type of support is incredibly important because of its ability to meet an urgent need at a time when discretionary resources are limited.”

“College campuses nationwide are faced with the challenge of responding quickly to a pandemic,” said Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor of UAPB. “We are thankful to the Windgate Foundation and their willingness to assist with response during this difficult time.”

The grant provides direct funds in hiring additional security for the campus during the limited closure, increased sanitization of campus facilities, purchase of software upgrades for online course delivery, and assists with emergency aid to students.

“Windgate is grateful to be able to provide support to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as they face the difficult challenges and decisions that must be made to ensure appropriate and safe environments are in place for their students and staff,” said Ashley Moore, Grants Administrator for the Windgate Foundation.

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About The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

About The Windgate Foundation

The Windgate Foundation is a private grant-making foundation established in 1993 and has awarded more than $855 million in grants. For more information, visit www.windgatefounation.org.

Dr. Nicole Pride

INSTITUTE, W.VA – The West Virginia State University (WVSU) Board of Governors has chosen Dr. Nicole Pride to become the 12th president of the University.

Pride currently serves as the vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

“I am excited to join West Virginia State University. it is an institution with such a rich history, and I look forward to working with all the members of the State family to continue to advance its land-grant mission,” said Pride. “The opportunities for the University in the years ahead to continue to meet the economic development and prosperity needs of the state and region are immense and I am honored to be selected to lead this growth.”

Pride began her career in the corporate and non-profit sectors, and left industry to begin her service in higher education at North Carolina A&T State University, where she served as principal liaison and senior adviser to the chancellor, a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, and provided strategic and operational support for internal and external constituencies.

Pride also served as the university’s chief of staff and chief communications officer, responsible for communications, marketing, branding, media and public relations and crisis communications. Her work defined the university’s brand in the state, nation and global marketplace, and her successes track with the institutions arrival as the largest historically black university in the nation.

Prior to joining North Carolina A&T State University, Pride served as vice president for development and communications for Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

She also served in numerous capacities at IBM including marketing program manager, corporate learning division and manager of corporate community relations and public affairs for nearly a decade. In addition to her professional appointments, Pride has served on numerous boards and committees, and her research interests are in the areas of board governance and leadership.

Her awards and honors include the Triad Business journal’s 2018 Outstanding Women in Business award and the PR News’ 2017 cohort of Top Women in Public Relations in the nation.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in business management and economics from North Carolina State University, a master’s in corporate and public communications from Seton Hall University, and a doctorate in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University.

An Orange, New Jersey native, Pride is mother to grown sons, Turner Jr. and Todd, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

WVSU has been searching for its 12th president, since the announcement that former President Anthony L. Jenkins was leaving to become President of Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. R. Charles Byers has served as interim president of the University since May 16.

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About West Virginia State University

West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which as evolved into fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research. For more information, visit www.wvsu.edu.

Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack

Delta State University featured Claflin University President Dwaun J. Warmack in the recent Winter/Spring 2020 edition of its alumni magazine. Dr. Warmack earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1999 and a master’s degree in sociology in 2000 from Delta State University.

The story reflects on the influences at Delta State that prepared him for leadership and service in higher education. “I learned so much from alumnus and President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt,” said Dr. Warmack in the article. “One lesson he taught me: create an environment that is welcoming and caring. To achieve this, campuses must develop the whole student – academically, personally, socially, and spiritually. Holistic development provides students with broader perspectives and prepares them for global leadership.”

Thank you for your outstanding achievements, leadership, and contributions to the space of higher education and HBCUs, Dr. Warmack!

Click here to read the complete story on page 18.

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TUSKEGEE, AL – Tuskegee University President Dr. Lily D. McNair has been named to the Board of Directors for Campus Compact. Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1,000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education and work to build democracy through civic education and community development.

McNair joins member institutions that reflect the full range of diversity among colleges and universities, including public and private, two-year and four-year, rural and urban, faith-based, women’s, tribal, Hispanic-serving, and historically black colleges and universities. Campus Compact’s mission is to support civic engagement and “engaged citizenship” among students. “In today’s turbulent times – Campus Compact’s values and programs are what we need to support our students’ advocacy in the public sphere,” said McNair.

Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. In addition, they envision colleges and universities as vital agents and architects of a diverse democracy, committed to educating students for responsible citizenship in ways that both deepen their education and improve the quality of community life.

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The HBCU Presidential Spotlight Series is sponored by the Office of the President and CEO, Founder, Demetrius Johnson, Jr. at the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) introduces chancellors and presidents who currently serves a historically black college or university (HBCU). This initiative recongizes those individuals who serves our nation higher ed institutions daily. Chaning and educating lives while producing the next generational leaders.

M. Christopher Brown II, Ph.D.
Eighteenth President
Kentucky State University

M. Christopher Brown II is the 18th president of Kentucky State University and founder of the Atwood Institute on Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal.

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from South Carolina State University, a Master of Science in education policy and evaluation from the University of Kentucky, and a Doctor of Philosophy in higher education from the Pennsylvania State University.

After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Brown joined the faculties of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and The Pennsylvania State University where he earned tenure.  During a professional leave of absence, Dr. Brown served as executive director of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute of the United Negro College Fund (FDPRI/UNCF), director at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and vice president at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

Dr. Brown was named professor and dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas before being appointed a university professor, executive vice president and provost at the historic Fisk University.  He also served as the 18th president of the nation’s first historically black land-grant institution – Alcorn State University – in Lorman, Mississippi, and as the inaugural executive vice president and provost of the Southern University and A & M College System in Louisiana.

Dr. Brown’s Alcorn presidency reinvigorated one of most important public college campuses in America.  Under his leadership, the university experienced record enrollment growing to over 4000 students for the first time in its 140 plus year history.  Dr. Brown also dedicated a $47 million, state-of-the-art student housing complex, spearheaded the renaming of Highway 552 in honor of the university’s longest-tenured president – Dr. Walter Washington, and dedicated the world’s largest statue to Alcorn alumnus and civil rights figure, Medgar Evers.  In addition to establishing the Office of Educational Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Brown hired the first non-black head football coach in both institutional and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) history.

Dr. Brown worked to develop and maintain a campus atmosphere dedicated to “excellence without excuse”.  Without question, he increased awareness of the Alcorn institutional brand and enhanced its recognition.  In 2012 Alcorn State University received the highly coveted HBCU of the Year Award, and in 2013 Dr. Brown was named Male HBCU President of the Year – both from the National Center for HBCU Media Advocacy.

Dr. Brown served as senior fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  As a member of the Division of Academic Leadership and Change, he was responsible for assisting with the periodic review and improvement of administrative leadership training and development programs sponsored by the association, developing rubrics and monographs incident to presidential leadership and university governance, as well as other institutional support projects.  During his fellowship, he completed a book with Dr. Christopher Knaus, “Whiteness Is The New South Africa:  Qualitative Research On Post-Apartheid Racism In Schools And Society”.

Dr. Brown is the author/editor of 16 other books and monographs.  He is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and publications related to education and society.  Regarded as an international scholar, he has lectured and/or presented research in various countries on six of seven continents – Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.  He is especially well known for his studies of historically black colleges, educational equity, and professorial responsibilities.  His research and scholarly writing includes publications on education policy, governance/administration, and institutional contexts.

Dr. Brown is the recipient of the 2001 Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Promising Scholar/Early Career Award, the 2002 AERA Committee on Scholars of Color Early Career Contribution Award, the 2007 Philip C. Chinn Book Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, the 2008 Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Educator Award, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence 2013 Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Brown received the Isaac Murphy Image Award for Education at the 2012 Kentucky Derby.  He was also recognized with a 2013 Trofeu Raca Negra (Black Race Trophy) from the Honors Council of the Society of Afro-Brazilian Socio-Cultural, the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award from South Carolina State University, and a 2017 Trumpet Award for Spiritual Enlightenment.

A former member of the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees, Dr. Brown is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, the 100 Black Men of America, Rotary International, a 33rd degree Free and Accepted Mason Prince Hall Affiliation, and an ordained Baptist minister.

He is married to the former Adrienne Joyce Allen of Canton, Mississippi.  Mrs. Brown is a middle school teacher.

Why did you want to become a College/University president, and why at an HBCU?

I spent my faculty career researching and publishing scholarship on the role and importance of historically black colleges and universities.  This was joined to research on the effective governance and organizational behavior of colleges and universities.  Over the years, I would consult in both areas.  While serving as dean at UNLV, I was invited to consult at Fisk University on their upcoming accreditation. The consultancy turned into my full-time commitment to serve as provost to insure that the campus was viable and strong in the face of peer review.  My time at Fisk created a professional passion – I could use my knowledge and skills gained from research universities to stabilize and grow campuses that serve populations that reflect my own lived experience. After a successful SACSCOC reaffirmation, I was blessed to be named president at Alcorn State University.  All of my colleagues, friends, and family said that I was finally living my calling.  They are absolutely right.  I love my job and I invest my heart, mind, and resources into the campus.  There is not a day that I do not wake up and thank God for the privilege of being able to protect our national treasures and propel new generations of prepared HBCU graduates into the world.

How does it feel to serve as a College/University President?

It is a weighty and humbling assignment.  People see the robes and pageantry, but are not privy to the countless hours or reading, planning, praying, and making decisions (some small and some large) that impact thousands of families in our communities.  My goal is to make sure that the campuses I lead have systems, traditions, and structures that last long after my season of stewardship.  Presidents who served generations before me made hard and wise decisions to make certain that the institutions that were founded to educate the descendants of the formerly enslaved Africans in America still have access to education and opportunity decades and centuries after their deaths.  It is my job to make sure that my campus is viable and celebrated decades and even a century after my transition.

What is your definition of leadership? What have been your leadership priorities as president?

Leadership is the ability to motivate and convince others to work toward an identified task with full effort and commitment.  A supervisor or manager can direct someone to complete a task.   However, a leader inspires people to choose to use their talents, resources, and abilities to advance a common ambition.  As president of Kentucky State University and at Alcorn, Fisk, and Southern, I have been committed to creating, reinforcing, and promoting institutional brand identity.  It is my contention that with rare exception the content of most academic degree offering are invariable across institutions (i.e., most English majors or Psychology majors study the same content no matter which college they attend).  I believe that the greatest value in a college degree is in the institutional brand.  This is why some colleges have higher application rates, rejection numbers, and tuition prices.  The president (who I deem the “living logo” of the campus) should make certain that her/his campus has brand definition in the market and their products – students, research, community engagement – are respected and ideally celebrated in the larger landscapes of higher education, employment sectors, and government.  Whether one values rankings or not, the most highly ranked colleges and universities in our nation have strong brand identity.  The public often has clear perceptions about the campus even if they have never visited. I am committed to brand identity and the esprit de corps of a campus.  You should feel proud to claim and represent your institution.  The announcement of your campus need should create a set of positive physical responses at the mere mention of the name.

What does HBCU mean to you? Are the HBCU institutions relevant to the higher education space?

This is a tricky question for an academic researcher, because the nomenclature has a succinct legal definition – any institution founded before 1964 for the express purpose of providing postsecondary educational access to the descendent of the formerly enslaved Africans in America in a state or district where such access was excluded by law and practice.  However, conjoined to this legal definition is a cultural history of academic excellence, managerial efficiency, and social impact that is unparalleled by any other cohort of institutions. With less than six degrees of separation, HBCUs have been the birthplace of nearly every civic and social advancement on the timeline of black history in America (and some of Africa).  Black colleges serve as cultural repositories of the black experience, incubators for black excellence, and the physical manifestation of our black existence.  The black family, the black church, and the black college are the trinity of our anthropological history in this nation.  The three are inextricably linked and must be elevated at all costs.  The black college possesses unique agency of self-definition and reproduction.  If we did not have them, the social dynamics of our nation would cry out for their creation.

What are three goals you are planning to accomplish for the 2020/2021 academic year?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended the normalcy that we call higher education.  While the strategic plan and my own professional priorities previously prescribed particular activities the upcoming year presents a necessary deviation.  For the 2020-21 academic term, I have three new priorities.  First, my intention will be to take every practicable step to insure that that the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and stakeholders of Kentucky State University are not subjected to any avoidable health hazards by introducing new non-pharmaceutical intervention protocols, providing access to personal protection safety products, and delimiting high risk contexts on the campus landmass.  Next, I want to stand up virtual and in-person engagements that continue the traditions and ethos of the traditional HBCU context while provide educational delivery to our student populace.  Finally, it is my unabating commitment to make certain that our campus maintains fiscal viability and institutional autonomy for the indefinite future.

How important is it yo you for students to receive their education while attending an HBCU?

On the wall above the door of my high school are inscribed the words, “Education is a possession of which no man can be robbed.”  I saw these words every school day for four years.  It serves as both mantra and affirmation.  I bear the weight of an ancestral charge and a divine unction to make certain that the students who are entrusted to my institution for collegiate instruction are enlightened academically, developed personally, and prepared professionally.  A CHARGE TO KEEP I HAVE.  Parents and guardians who bring their loved ones to us expect that we will do our best work and enable them to go forth into the world with emancipatory and transformative power to live, to be, and to thrive.  I take this responsibility personally.  As a former elementary school teacher, in loco parentis does not end for me with high school.  It is our just duty to support and advance a communal collective through our students – when one of us is successful then all of us can be successful.

What are the most interesting challenges of working as an University president and in the space of higher education?

The administrative tasks are common across campuses.  The nuances of HBCU leadership and even more public HBCU leadership are significant.  Private HBCUs at least have the luxury of being a non-state actor as they promote the historic dynamic of our campus context.  To this end, most private HBCUs are church affiliated and have 90% or greater black student enrollments.  Public HBCUs are state agencies, most with greater than 20-30% non-black student enrollments.  The complicated interplay of historic mission, public governance, and enrollment mix can make the leadership of a public HBCU a metaphorical minefield.  Additionally, the work is never done.  You can clear your desk today, but a new pile of challenges will await you tomorrow.

What has been the proudest moments of your presidency so far?

The proudest moments for me as a senior HBCU leader are graduations and commissioning ceremonies.  Don’t judge me, but I am known to shed a tear on these days.  As I sit and watch the sea of young, educated faces, I realized that on that day – that moment and the actions of conferring a degree or commissioning an officer – will forever transform the life of that student and their families.  It is an awe-inspiring reflection to realize that something you did or helped to leadwill alter the trajectory of an entire family for generations to come.  I often leave graduation events on foot – walking through the campus back to my office – to take in the beauty of the campus and the joy of the day.  Inevitably, I end up humming to myself (probably because I cannot sing) – “Lord, I done done.  Lord, I done done.  Lord, I done done.  I done done what you told me to too.”

What are the two or three initiatives that most excite you as you look forward to your future as president?

My presidential and provost roles center on permanence – organizational structures, academic precision, campus traditions, and physical structures.  There is a wonderful book by Kathleen Manning – Rituals, Ceremonies, and Cultural Meaning in Higher Education – that metamorphosized my understanding of the power of the postsecondary space to create and define.  Interestingly enough, Kentucky State University is finishing a few construction projects and launching a new housing development.  We are aligning the academic structure to increase efficiency and improve outcomes. And we are being extremely intentional about the quality of students we produce and taking deliberate steps to support their on campus and lifelong success.

Why should students choose to attend your HBCU institution?

Kentucky State University is one of the nation’s fastest growing HBCUs – as evidenced by enrollment increases, graduation rates, media market shares, and upward movement in public rankings.  The campus is culturally congenial and possesses a family atmosphere.  We are a public university with private college student-teacher ratios.  We are poised to be the first and only HBCU admitted into COPLAC – the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. We are the home of the Thorobreds.  A thorobred/thoroughbred horse is the fastest and strongest horse bred from the purest bloodline.  It is celebrated for speed, agility, and spirit.  Why Kentucky State University you ask?  Students choose us because “WE ARE THORO”.

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About Kentucky State University (KSU)

Kentucky State University is a public, comprehensive, historically black land-grant university committed to advancing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, enhancing society, and impacting individuals by providing quality teaching with a foundation in liberal studies, scholarly research, and public service to enable productive lives within the diverse global economy. For more information, visit www.kysu.edu.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)

The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a nonprofit advocacy educational organization that is mission to support the significance and raises funds for scholarship, initiative programming, and for public and private HBCUs and MSIs. HCF remains today as a strong advocate for students and higher education. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

INSTITUTE, W.VA. – The West Virginia State University (WVSU) Presidential Search Committee has selected three higher education leaders as the finalists to become the 12th president of the University.

Dr. Nicole Pride, vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Dr. Patricia Ramsey, senior executive fellow at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; and Dr. Rodney Smith, president and CEO of the University of The Bahamas, have been invited to campus next week to meet with constituent groups.

The meetings with students, faculty, staff and community leaders will take place in the James C. Wilson University Union and will follow state and CDC social distancing and safety guidelines for events. The meeting will also be available virtually via Zoom.

WVSU has been searching for its 12th president, since the announcement that former President Anthony L. Jenkins was leaving to become President of Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. R. Charles Byers has served as interim president of the University since May 16th.

MEET THE FINALISTS

Dr. Nicole Pride began her career in the corporate and non-profit sectors, and left industry to begin her service in higher education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she served as principal liaison and senior advisor to the chancellor, a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, and provided strategic and operational support for internal and extent constituencies. Pride has held C-Suite positions in University Advancement and the Office of the Chancellor, and has the distinction of holding three senior-level positions, with increasing responsibility within eight years of service.

She has utilized her diverse skillset to engineer the strategy to overhaul the university’s brand perception among prospective and current students, parents, alumni, potential donors, research partners, and peer institutions; raise funds; enhance operational excellence; build diverse teams; increase student success; mitigate crises; and advance mission-driven organizational change.

Pride also served as the university’s chief of staff and chief communications officer, responsible for communications, marketing, branding, media and public relations and crisis communications. Her work defined the university’s brand in the state, nation and global marketplace, and her successes track with the institutions arrival as the largest historically black university in the nation.

Pride now serves as vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina A&T State University, where she also holds a faculty appointment. Prior to joining the university, Pride served as vice president for development and communications for Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill, N.C. She also served in numerous capacities at IBM including marketing program manager, corporate learning division and manager of corporate community relations and public affairs for nearly a decade. In addition to her professional appointments, Pride has served on numerous boards and committees, and her research interests are in the areas of board governance and leadership.

Her awards and honors include the Triad Business Journal’s 2018 Outstanding Women in Business award and the PR News’ 2017 cohort of Top Women in Public Relations in the nation — the prestigious award that recognizes women at the forefront of public relations who have made bold advances in developing brand messages, and protecting and building brand reputations among other things.

An Orange, New Jersey native, Pride lives and plays in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. She earned bachelor’s degrees in business management and economics from North Carolina State University, a master’s in corporate and public communications from Seton Hall University, and a doctorate in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University. She is mother to grown sons, Turner Jr. and Todd, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Patricia Ramsey is a visionary leader and a scholar with a deep commitment to excellence and a passion for making a difference, with the distinction of being named a “National Role Model” by Minority Access, Inc.

Dr. Ramsey currently serves as a Senior Executive Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and formerly served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at both Lincoln and Bowie State universities. Dr. Ramsey also served as Interim President at Bowie State University, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Shaw University and Associate Vice President for Development (fundraising) at Norfolk State University. Dr. Ramsey has a wealth of knowledge regarding higher education practice; she serves as an accreditation evaluator, where she has served on visiting teams evaluating stand-alone institutions, institutions in small systems, institutions in the largest university system in mainland USA, as well as institutions in the University System of Puerto Rico. She is currently serving a three-year term on the appeals panel of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as a three-year term on the Middle States Regional Council of the College Board. Dr. Ramsey has represented HBCUs from the state house to the halls of Congress.

In addition to her impact in the United States and its territories, Dr. Ramsey has impacted higher education on the continents of Europe and Africa. In Europe, she provided oversight for Bowie State University’s graduate programs on the military base in Heidelberg, Germany, where she won front-page headlines in the military news for her bold position in allowing a 5 year old military dependent to stand proxy to receive the master’s degree for deployed soldiers. On the continent of Africa, Dr. Ramsey was one of four provosts in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) delegation to Liberia, where she served in an education advisory capacity to the country’s president, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In Nigeria, Dr. Ramsey was instrumental in the success of a biotechnology training partnership and conducted a leadership workshop for the administration of Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu State, Nigeria.

Dr. Ramsey is a seasoned strategist and action-oriented leader with a strong skill of quickly implementing initiatives that yield positive outcomes. She negotiated a $1.3 million award after only three months as a fundraising officer at Norfolk State; she developed the infrastructure that resulted in $10 million in grants and contracts in less than two years at Shaw University; she led the university management team in a focused effort to tie budget and planning, within one month of her arrival at Bowie State and within six months at Lincoln, she cultivated a relationship with a new industry partner that resulted in a memorandum of understanding to provide scholarships, internships, and endowed professorships.

A biologist, by training, Dr. Ramsey has a research interest in the biological activity of plants used in folklore and has collected 110 species of Agave in the Sonoran Desert and traveled a 450-mile span of highway collecting Sapium sebiferum (popcorn tree) leaves in the southeastern United States. Dr. Ramsey earned the Master of Science in Botany from Howard University, the Master of Arts in Biology from Harvard University and the Doctor of Philosophy in Biology from Georgetown University. Dr. Ramsey obtained her undergraduate degree from Norfolk State University, where she earned the Bachelor of Science in Biology Education. Dr. Ramsey completed leadership programs in the Millennium Leadership Institute, Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM), and the CIVIC Leadership Institute.

Dr. Ramsey is married to Dr. Roscoe Ramsey Jr, a physician and a minister; they have three adult children.

Dr. Rodney Smith has served in several senior administrative leadership positions in higher education, including President of a public institution of higher education, President of a national multi-campus University system, and program coordinator of Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM). Dr. Smith also served in several vice president positions, including student affairs, administrative services, and planning. He also served as director of strategic planning, dean of the graduate college and professor in a PhD. Program in Educational Management. Dr. Smith has taught graduate courses in Educational Research and Strategy and Strategic Planning. He is currently President and CEO of University of The Bahamas; and before that, served as Administrative Vice President at Hampton University, with responsibility for strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, quality service training programmes, assessment of all academic and non-academic programs, university athletics (Division 1, NCAA), Internal Auditor and the Office of Institutional Research, (Operations Analysis and Research), and all aspects of Enrollment Management (offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Registrar).

Dr. Smith received his doctorate of education degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in the area of Administration, Planning and Social Policy. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a Concentration in International Development from Harvard University, a Master of Arts degree from Fisk University in Clinical/Educational Psychology, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the recipient of the 2016 JCN International Person of the Year Award, and has been inducted into Chi Alpha Epsilon Academic Honor Society, Alpha Chi Chapter; Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society; and Delta Mu Delta, National Honor Society in Business Administration. Dr. Smith has participated in several professional development institutes, including the Millennium Leadership Institute (MLI) of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM), the Harvard Institute for New Presidents, Harvard Seminar on Institutional Advancement, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Management Institute for Emergency Management Planning, Preparedness, Training and Education for Colleges and Universities.

Dr. Smith has served as trustee, chair and member of several national and international boards, associations and government committees; including, member of the Board of Directors for AASCU, member of the American Council on Education (ACE), New Jersey Department of Education Board of Examiners, New Jersey Presidents’ Council, National Association of Student Affairs Administrators, Virginia State Graduate Deans Council, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, Hackensack Medical University Foundation, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (Chair of the Committee on Lifelong Learning and Higher Education), National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, The Bahamas National Trust, The National Advisory Council on Education, and the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB). As appointed Chair, he has led several successful initiatives, including the African-American Jewish Community Relations Symposia at Hampton University, 100 Templeton Foundation Character Building Colleges, and the New Jersey United Nations Day Celebrations Committee in New Jersey. Dr. Smith is the spouse of Dr. Christina C. Smith, an academic administrator and former dean. They have two grown children – Samantha, a practicing physician in Blacksburg, Virginia; and Sean, a luxury real estate developer in Florida and The Bahamas.

Learn more about the finalist here.

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About West Virginia State University (WVSU)

Founded in 1891, West Virginia State University is a public, land-grant, historically black university (HBCU), which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution. The University, “a living laboratory of human relations,” is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. It’s mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research. To learn more, visit www.wvstateu.edu.

JACKSON, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the appointment of Dr. Logan Hampton, President of Lane College, to the State Capitol Commission West Tennessee citizen seat. Governor Lee also announced Finance & Administration Commissioner Butch Eley will serve as the commission chairman, filling Stuart McWhorter’s vacancy.

“Dr. Hampton is a thoughtful leader of a respected Tennessee Institution and I am pleased to appoint him to the State Capitol Commission,” said Gov. Lee. “I thank him for accepting this role and his willingness to serve his fellow Tennesseans.”

Since 2014, Dr. Hampton has served as the President of Lane College, a Christian Methodist Episcopal Church affiliated institution. He received his doctorate of higher education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a master’s degree in student personnel services from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Arkansas Tech University. He also is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Management and Leadership in Education. Before UALR, Hampton held positions at Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, and the University of Central Arkansas.

Prior to coming to Lane College, Hampton served in numerous student services capacities at UALR. His most recent appointment at UALR was Vice Provost for Student Affairs. In this position, Dr. Hampton served as the chief student affairs officer and led the student development and student life programs, including judicial affairs, budgetary and administrative services. In addition to working as a higher education administrator, Hampton was a member of the Board of Trustees for Arkansas Baptist College.

More information on the State Capitol Commission can be found here.

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Presidents of Georgia’s publicly supported historically black colleges and universities release joint statement.

Our nation’s current state of affairs requires the attention of all leaders to champion social justice and racial inequality. But before action must come thoughtful, engaged and strategic planning. As the presidents of Georgia’s publicly supported historically black colleges and universities we present the following statement.

“We have reached a crossroads; the events of the past few weeks have made even more certain our need to address the issues of social injustice and racial inequality. Across the country, people (like our students, faculty, staff and I) are hurting, angry and weary.  It is imperative that we work together to make things better for each other, our communities and our country. We must end racism now,” says Kimberly Ballard-Washington, interim president of Savannah State University.

Paul Jones, president of Fort Valley State University, says “As a Black man in America, I can relate to the feelings of hopelessness regarding our justice system in the United States and how it is often unfair and tilted against people of color. I am not immune to society’s ills because I enjoy the privilege of being a university president. I say to those who have resisted engaging in this matter, I call on you to join us in saying enough is enough. Racism is tearing away the very fabric of our country. It is taking its toll on us all, so we all share the responsibility of making things better.”

“Racism is reprehensible in all forms. The unconscionable acts of hate that have become common place must end.  Like many of you, the injustices that I’ve witnessed in the past few months have left me feeling heartbroken, concerned and incensed. We are at a tipping point in America regarding race relations, and if we do not employ constructive solutions, we will continue to witness and experience destructive responses. The events that are unfolding are the result of legitimate pain, frustration and the symptom of a bigger problem. The social and economic injustices that continue to plague our country have to end,” says Marion Ross Fedrick, president of Albany State University.

As university presidents we are taking an active and distinct role in educating our constituents (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members). Our institutions have a historic legacy of developing strong leaders who fight at the forefront for equality in education, social justice, and who died for civil rights.

Albany State, Fort Valley State, and Savannah State have a responsibility to create opportunities for dialogue. We must lift voices, particularly of those who are often silenced. We are entrusted with our nation’s most cherished resources, minds seeking education and enlightenment.

We must prepare this and future generations of scholars and servant leaders to manifest the freedoms that America promises. These weeks of protest, often punctuated by anger, frustration and tears, remind us that organizing, strategizing and mobilizing can make real and lasting change. By consistently taking a stand, and speaking out, we can help to prevent tragedies, like the most recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, Rayshard Brooks and others from ever happening again!

In the coming weeks, our institutions will host a tri-campus symposium on race relations in America. We must all understand and respect that Black Lives Matter!“

Kimberly Ballard-Washington, interim president of Savannah State University
Paul Jones, president of Fort Valley State University
Marion Ross Federick, president of Albany State University

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