DENVER, CO – Colorado Community College System (CCC) Chancellor Joe Garcia announced the selection of Dr. Mordecai Brownlee as the next president of Community College of Aurora (CCA), according to a press release by the College.

Dr. Brownlee will assume the presidency on July 15, 2021. He will succeed Dr. Betsy Oudenhoven, who announced in October that she was retiring at the end of July concluding a decade of leading the institution and a remarkable 42-year career in higher education.

Dr. Mordecai Brownlee

Dr. Brownlee, an inclusive educator who is committed to the intellectual and economic empowerment of diverse communities, bring an impressive resume in advancing student access, expanding student support services, and empowering academic pathways at several public and private higher education institutions, including St. Philip’s College in Texas, the University of Charleston in West Virginia, Blinn College District in Texas, and Houston Baptist University.

Upon his announcement, Dr. Brownlee called it an honor to lead an institution so steeped in inclusive excellence and guided by the vision of ensuring that every student it serves succeeds.

“I am immensely grateful to Chancellor Garcia, and CCA’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community supporters for the opportunity to serve this distinguished institution as its president,” said Dr. Brownlee. “Raised by a single-mother who was an educator, I learned first-hand the importance of faith, hard work, sacrifice, and the responsibility we have as educators to empower the minds and lives of students through equitable learning environments and ample student support. CCA is an institution that has embraced this charge and as its president, every day I will be committed to serving as an example of the institution’s mission in action.”

Dr. Brownlee rose to the top of a field of impressive candidates during the nationwide search process. The nine-member search advisory committee carefully screened over 80 high quality applicants and conducted open forums to actively engage the community.

“We wanted someone with an entrepreneurial spirit who would expand CCA’s reach and partnerships, and experience in strategic enrollment management who will be able to reverse the declines in students and revenues facing the institution during these challenges times. CCC’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion also called for someone who will champion learning environments that promote student success for Aurora’s growing and increasingly diverse communities,” said Garcia. “Without a doubt, that candidate was Dr. Brownlee. His impressive background and progressive leadership style make him the best fit to advance CCA’s vision, mission, and values.”

Currently, Dr. Brownlee serves as vice president for student success at St. Philip’s College, the only college in the nation federally designated as both a historically Black college (HBCU) and a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), located in San Antonio, Texas. During his tenure, Dr. Brownlee championed strategic enrollment and student success initiative that led St. Philip’s to record enrollment and four of their largest degree and certificate awarding classes in the college’s 123-year history.

Throughout his career in higher education, Dr. Brownlee raised millions for student scholarships and academic programs – some of which went to new programs designed to retool individuals to fill high-demand employment opportunities. He has also played an instrumental role in securing several multi-million-dollar capital construction projects.

In his spare time, Dr. Brownlee serves as an adjunct professor at Morgan State University School of Education & Urban Studies and the University of Charleston School of Business and Leadership where he teaches business management, human resources, social justice, and community college leadership. He also dedicates time as a columnist and nationally recognized speaker covering a broad range of critical higher education topics including education technology; financial literacy and student debt; community college innovation; progressive legislation; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Among his many accolades, Dr. Brownlee was twice awarded the Trusted Leaders Award by the faculty and staff of St. Philip’s College and in 2018 received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award. Recently, EdTech Magazine featured him as one of the 30 most interesting voices in higher education who are shaping the conversation around technology and education.

Dr. Brownlee’s service on community, state, and national boards includes serving as the director of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Community College Institute; Co-Founder of the Rising Leaders Institute for the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE), member of the My Brother’s Keeper White House Initiative in San Antonio, Community College Chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), ApplyTX Advisory Council, and a member of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. He is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

###

About the Community College of Aurora (CCA)
The Community College of Aurora (CCA) provides high-quality instruction and student support services to Aurora and Denver, Colorado. The college offers course on two campuses, online and through its high school concurrent-enrollment program, helping students prepare for employment or transfer to a four-year institution. For more information, visit www.ccaurora.com.

(MEMPHIS, TN – 12/17/20) – LeMoyne-Owen College has announced Thursday that the Board of Trustees has selected Vernell A. Bennett-Fairs, Ed.D. as the 13th President of the College.

Dr. Bennett-Fairs has over 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving as vice-president of Student Affairs at Delta State University in Mississippi. She also served in a similar role at HBCU, Kentucky State University. Dr. Bennett-Fairs brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in higher education settings and the Board of Trustees feels confident that she will continue that transformation already underway at LeMoyne-Owen College.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of the LeMoyne-Owen College family and history. I look forward to working with you in support of your education and professional goals, as well as advancing the the institution,” said Dr. Bennett-Fairs. “I enjoy having an open door policy so I want you to stop by when you return to campus because I’m interest in learning what you love most about the institution, as well as what you would like to see. Have a safe winter break and get ready to get locked in. Happy holidays.”

Dr. Bennett-Fairs will succeed Dr. Carol Johnson Dean effective January 5, 2021. Dr. Johnson Dean served as interim president for 18 months, as the Board thank her for her leadership and looks forward to the upward trajectory of the College under the guidance of Dr. Bennett-Fairs.

###

About LeMoyne-Owen College
LeMoyne-Owen College delivers a transformative experience, educating students for a lifetime of scholarship, leadership, and service through liberal arts, career and professional studies. For more information, visit www.loc.edu.

Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU’s 37th President

(WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – 11/19/20) – West Liberty University Board of Governors named Dr. W. Franklin Evans as the university’s 37th president.

“I am pleased to announced that Dr. W. Franklin Evans has accepted our offer and agreed to become West Liberty University’s 37th President. He will be a strong leader and we welcome him to the Hilltop and look forward to introducing him to our alumni, donors, friends and the wider community,” said Rich Lucas, chairman of the search committee and the Board of Governors.

Evans will be the first Black president in the 183-year history of West Liberty and will assume the presidency on January 1, 2021.

“It is a great honor being selected as the next president of West Liberty University, the oldest and most historic public institution in the state. I am grateful to the West Liberty University Board of Governors for its confidence and support of my selection to lead this amazing institution,” said Evans.

Evans will succeed Dr. Stephen Greiner who has served as president since January 2016. He is the current president of Voorhees College and has 25 years of experience in education. Prior to being named president, Evans served as interim president of South Carolina State University (SCSU), in Orangeburg, S.C., where he also served as provost and chief academic officer.

Prior to SCSU, he served as vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., where he was instrumental in leading the institution through a successful reaffirmation of accreditation and establishing an Honor College, along with a bachelor’s of fine arts and master’s in education degrees.

He also worked at Elizabeth City State, J.F. Drake State Technical College, Alabama A&M University, and Tennessee State University.

In 1994, Evans earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Georgia State University. He earned a degree in journalism, middle childhood education, curriculum and instruction, as well as administration and supervision from Georgia State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia in 1984.

Earlier this year, Evans was named a 2020 Most Dominant HBCU Leader by the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF), recognized for being a dominant and influential leader, focused on the progress of moving institutions forward such as Voorhees College.

He was born in Augusta, Ga. and is active in the NAACP, Black Family Preservation Group, the National Association of Black School Educators, and Toastmasters International and has served on the boards of the Sickle Cell Association, Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis Club International and the AIDS Action Coalition. He is an ordained elder with the Church of God in Christ.

West Liberty University’s search for its next president began last spring after President Stephen Greiner announced his intended June 30, 2020 retirement last November. The search was delayed due to the pandemic and Greiner agreed to stay on at the request of the Board of Governors.

###

About West Liberty University
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest public university and today it offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. For more information, visit www.westliberty.edu.

Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., President of Jackson State University

(JACKSON, MISS. – 11/19/20) – The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Jackson State University Acting President Thomas Hudson as president of the university at its meeting held earlier in Jackson. Hudson was named acting president earlier this year.

“As a Jackson State University alumnus, I am extremely pleased that we have identified one of our own to serve as president,” said Dr. Steven Cunningham, a member of the Board of Trustees. “We have witnessed the great strides he has made over the past nine months and have full confidence that he will continue to demonstrate the great love he has for this university by providing outstanding leadership for students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

As Acting President, Hudson has provided leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the university’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmation process. He has also helped to improve the university’s financial position.

“Naming Thomas Hudson as president provides much-needed stability in leadership at the institutions,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “He has done an excellent job leading the university during an extraordinarily difficult time. I am pleased to continue working with him to advance Jackson State University and the university system.”

As Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer, Hudson served on the executive cabinet and provided guidance to senior leadership on all topics related to the university’s future course and trajectory. With the Division of Human Resources and Office of the General Counsel under his purview, Hudson oversaw Institutional EEO and Title IX implementation and collaborated with other executive administrators on matters of curriculum, guidelines and practices.

“I am extremely appreciative and beyond humbled for the opportunity to continue to build upon Jackson State University’s extraordinary legacy,” said Hudson. “I recognize that it is an honor to serve in a leadership role, but it is an extreme honor and privilege to serve my alma mater – Jackson State University and the community I grew up in.”

“My focus remains the same and that is to ensure the success of our students, faculty and staff and the long-term viability of JSU. I would like to thank the IHL Board of Trustees for entrusting me to lead. I want to thank my wife, daughters, mother and all of my family for their infinite love and support. I also want to thank JSU administrators, faculty, staff and alumni for their deep-rooted dedication to JSU and their immovable belief in the power of a JSU education,” Hudson continued.

He also established collaborative partnerships with the University Veterans Center and Office of Disability Services to address the underrepresentation of employees from these groups. He also served as the president’s liaison for the Division of Athletics.

“My hope is that this historical event marks the first day of many more noteworthy achievements for our beloved Jackson State University,” said Dr. Dawn Bishop McLin, President of the JSU Faculty Senate. “During this transition the Faculty Senate took special care to share areas of concern with President Hudson, now we will continue to work with him towards the realization of improvements in shared governance, faculty pay equity, improving the research infrastructure, and the overall University welfare during the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It is this type of collaboration that is essential to advance the mutual interests, for our students, our faculty, our alumni, and our University, so that we will share a bounty of success in our collective futures. In our aspirations to be one JSU, there are some that may not be pleased with the process in its entirety but it’s my hope that we now more than ever, galvanize our efforts in spirit and deed to fully support our University’s leader, President Thomas K. Hudson.”

A member of the Jackson State staff since 2012, Hudson has also served as Chief Operating Officer/Chief Diversity Officer, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator. As Chief Operating Officer, Hudson implemented cost-saving measures that resulted in a 10 percent decrease in the university’s operational budget, coordinated academic and administrative restructuring efforts, resulting in an annual savings of $4 million, and led institutional efforts that changed a projected year-end and deficit to an approximate $3 million cash balance.

Appointed as the inaugural Chief Diversity and Equal Opportunity Officer at Jackson State, Hudson received the Presidential Creative Award for efforts in designing a program to bring awareness of interpersonal violence prevention to the student body and he designed and implemented the first university-wide training designed to eliminate implicit bias for search committees. In addition, he developed strategies for increasing the number of female faculty members in STEM disciplines, resulting in a 30 percent increase in hiring of women in these disciplines over a three-year period.

Hudson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Before joining the staff at Jackson State, Hudson founded his own law practice and served as an EEO specialist for the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA in Clinton.

Hudson serves as Co-Chairperson of the JSU Strategic Planning Committee and Vice Chairperson of the university system’s Chief Diversity Officers’ Council. He is a member of the Margaret Walker Alexander Center Board of Directors and the JSU Athletics Hall of Fame Foundation Board of Directors. He served as the Bias and Policy Lead for the National Science Foundation Grant at Jackson State University from 2013 to 2017 and served as Chairperson of the Director of Disability Services Search Committee in 2016.

###

About the Mississippi IHL Board of Trustees
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities of Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi. For more information, visit www.mississippi.edu.

About Jackson State University
Jackson State University, an HBCU and comprehensive urban research university, is to provide quality teaching, research and service at the baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral levels to diverse populations of students and communities using various modalities to ensure that they are technologically-advanced, ethical, global leaders who think critically and can address societal problems and compete effectively. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) announced that Dr. Carlos R. Clark has been selected to become the College’s 15th president, succeeding Ms. Regina H. Favors who has served as Interim President since August 16, 2018. The Board of Trustees is sincerely grateful to President Favors to her dynamic, entrepreneurial, and visionary leadership. As a result of President Favors’ prudent stewardship of the College’s financial resource that empowers students to succeed and fuels the cultural and economic vitality of the city.

Dr. Clark has been an effective, innovative, and collaborative higher education leader for more than 25 years. He currently serves as Provost and Executive Vice President and has worked for the College since 2018 in several leadership positions. He also held various senior level positions at Wilberforce University, Prairie View A&M University, and Alabama A&M University.

The selection of Dr. Clark was determined after a national search and by vote of the Arkansas Baptist College Board of Trustees, led by Richard Mays, Sr., Chair. “The Trustees are delighted that Dr. Clark has accepted our offer to serve as 15th President of Arkansas Baptist College. In addition to his impressive academic credentials, his experience with the College and his extensive experience gained at several other HBCU institutions is an asset. Dr. Clark has become a serious student of higher education leadership receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management, as well as a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education, with major emphasis in Student Affairs and Statistics from The University of Mississippi. He also received a certificate due to his successful completion of the Management Development Program (MDP) at Harvard University. These opportunities, matched with his vision, energy and passion, will server the institution well, as the College continues to realize both its historic and current mission under Dr. Clark’s capable leadership,” said Mays.

“I am extremely excited to continue to serve Arkansas Baptist College as President. The mission resonates with me, especially its emphasis on preparing students for personal and professional success and especially its focus on service, social justice, and leadership. I sincerely thank the Board of Trustees and the presidential search committee for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to working in this new capacity with the incredible Arkansas Baptist College faculty, students, staff, and alumni – in a collective effort to deliver the rich promise of ABC to a growing number of students in these challenging times,” said Dr. Clark.

Dr. Clark will begin his term as President on October 1, 2020. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available regarding opportunities to welcome Dr. Clark in this new role.

###

About Arkansas Baptist College
Arkansas Baptist College prepares students for a life to service grounded in academic scholarship, the liberal arts tradition, social responsibility, Christian Development and preparation for employment in a global community. For more information, visit www.arkansasbaptist.edu.

Rufus B. Atwood

FRANKFORT, KY – Kentucky State University’s (KSU) longest-serving president will be featured on an upcoming episode of Kentucky Educational Television’s (KET) Distinguished Kentuckian Series.

Rufus B. Atwood, who is the namesake of Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal, will be featured in a replay of the 1976 production of Distinguished Kentuckians, which profiles Kentuckians who had a lasting positive impact on the lives of the Commonwealth. Atwood served as Kentucky State president from 1929 to 1962.

Among the numerous highlights of his career, Atwood improved educational opportunities for African-Americans, brought full accreditation to Kentucky State and led the battle for desegregated education in Kentucky in the 1940s.

The program will air on KET Friday, July 17 at 3 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. It may also be viewed online here.

###

About Kentucky State University


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.
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.

###

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.

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”.

###

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.

Albert Nathaniel Whiting, Ph.D., fourth president and first chancellor of North Carolina Central University, passed away on Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Columbia, Maryland, according to North Carolina Central University.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting served the university from July 1, 1967, to June 30, 1983. He was named chancellor emeritus upon retirement on June 30, 1983.

His university appointments included serving as professor of sociology at Bennett College and Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University, and dean of the faculty at Morris Brown College.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting came to Durham from Morgan State College (now Morgan State University), where he was dean of the faculty. He was elected president of North Carolina College at Durham by the Board of Trustees on July 20, 1996, and assumed his duties in July 1967. Under his leadership, North Carolina College became North Carolina Central University, added its fifth school, the School of Business in 1972, and increased programs, including criminal justice, public administration, elementary education, jazz and music. He welcomed President Gerald R. Ford to campus in 1975. Upon his arrival, the institution’s enrollment was more than 3,000 students, and by the time he retired in 1983, the enrollment had grown to over 5,000 students.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting has been referred to as a “builder” of the institution. As president and chancellor, he oversaw substantial growth of the physical plant that included 12 buildings. His most ambitious project was the erection of a four-building physical education complex, as well as the construction of Eagleson Hall, the Alfonso Elder Student Union and the annex to James E. Shepard Memorial Library. Additionally, a new chancellor’s residence was constructed in Emorywoods in 1974, at 3,292 square feet.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting was the first leader to initiate a major fundraising campaign to create a university endowment, and he helped established the NCCU Foundation, Inc. When he arrived at NNCU, the operating budget was $5.5 million; it has risen to $34 million by 1983, the year he retired. Chancellor Emeritus Whiting created the Office of Development and Public Relations, which later become the Office of Institutional Advancement. He was a strong advocate of faculty development and established collaborative programs with the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin to help NCCU faculty obtain doctorate degrees.

After retiring from NCCU, Chancellor Emeritus Whiting relocated to Columbia, Md., and served on the Maryland Higher Education Commission and University of Maryland’s Board of Regents until his final retirement.

He maintained a strong connection to NCCU following his retirement, and in 1988, he served as the Founder’s Day speaker. The Albert N. Whiting Criminal Justice Building, dedicated on November 3, 1989, bears his name. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from NCCU on May 15, 1983, and was presented with the James E. Shepard Medallion during the Centennial of North Carolina Central University in 2010.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting was an active member of the community. On December 15, 1969, he was one of the only two African Americas approved and admitted to become members of the Durham Rotary Club. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Inc. He founded the first member Boule in North Carolina and is considered “The Father of the Member Boules” in North Carolina. While serving at NCCU, he was a communicant at St. Titus Episcopal Church.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Amherst College, a master’s degree from Fisk University and his Ph.D. in sociology from American University.

Chancellor Emeritus Whiting was married to the late Lottie Luck Whiting, who passed in 2004, on June 10, 1950, in Danville, Va., and was the father of Dr. Brooke Whiting and his adopted daughter, Dr. Lila Ammons.

The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) extends it profound condolences and prayers to the Whiting family, NCCU and HBCU community during this time of sorrow. We thank Chancellor Emeritus Whiting for a job well done.

In lieu of flowers, the family desires that contributions are made to the NCCU Foundation, Inc., to support the Albert N. Whiting Endowment. You can donate online at www.nccu.edu/institutional-advancement/giving-online. Checks can be made payable and mailed to: NCCU Foundation, Inc., 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707; please write Albert N. Whiting Endowment (account #40133) on the memo line of the check. For more information on Ways to Give, visit www.nccu.edu/institutional-advancement/ways-give.

###

The HBCU Presidential Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Office of the President and CEO, Founder Demetrius Johnson, Jr., at HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) introduces chancellors and presidents who currently serves a Historically Black College or University. This initiative recognizes those individuals who serves our nation higher ed institution daily, changing and educating lives while producing the next generation of leaders.

Tony Allen, Ph.D., President of Delaware State University.

Committed to a vision of making Delaware State University the most diverse, contemporary HBCU in America, Tony Allen became the University’s 12th President on January 1, 2020. He succeeded Dr. Wilma Mishoe, the first female chief executive in the institution’s history.

“I consider Delaware State University to be one of the most important institutions in the country,” Tony said on his first day in office. “I don’t choose those words lightly. Few institutions specialize in providing access to a four-year, comprehensive education to students who lack every advantage except sheer determination to do better for themselves and their families.”

Delaware Governor John Carney added, “Tony understands that the University’s role today is helping to build our workforce, while having both a social and economic impact on Delaware.”

Tony had previously served as Delaware State University’s Executive Vice President and Provost since July 2017. As Chief Academic Officer of the nation’s #4 public HBCU (as ranked by US News & World Report), he led a faculty of more than 220 professors in 18 academic departments, serving over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

In two-and-one-half years as Chief Academic Officer, Tony implemented a reorganization of the University’s academic colleges and the professional advising unit. Under his leadership, the University has developed new impact-oriented organizations including the Center for Neighborhood Revitalization and Research and the Center for Global Africa, while materially expanding the institution’s global partnerships in China, Poland, Jamaica, and across Africa.

During that period, the University’s funded research portfolio increased from $19 million to $23 million (7th among HBCUs) and the institution’s chartered Early College High School graduated its first two classes, sending 52% of those students to Delaware State University with an average of 40+ college credits already earned.

He has labored tirelessly to raise public awareness and build or expand new partnerships for Delaware State University. Public and nonprofit endeavors have included the City of Wilmington, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Executive Leadership Council. Simultaneously, the University has been expanding corporate partnerships with JPMorgan Chase, Corteva, Exelon, Apple, the FMC Corporation, and many others.

This work has not gone unnoticed. In 2018, Tony received the Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic Civic Leadership in Higher Education Award, and in 2019 the Delaware Barristers Association honored him with its Excellence in Education Award for his “leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of education,” which has “demonstrated a true social commitment to social justice and equality for all.”

Of Tony’s tenure as Provost, Board Chairperson Dr. Devona Williams said, “Tony has materially strengthened our academic and research enterprise. He has a complete understanding of the challenges and opportunities in higher education, and particularly what it takes for students at a Historically Black College or University to succeed in academics, in establishing a career, and in life.”

Previously, Tony led the corporate reputation group at Bank of America and was responsible for developing programming to influential media elites, national social justice advocates, academics and elected officials and their staff at federal and local levels. He was also responsible for ongoing reputation analysis and related research; led communications for the bank’s Consumer, Commercial Banking, and Wealth Management businesses; and co-chaired the Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs Diversity & Inclusion Council. He started his financial services career as an Executive Vice President at MBNA America.

Tony’s career has been primarily characterized, however, by his lifelong commitment to public service, including service as the Founding President of both the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and Public Allies Delaware. In the former position, he received the National Urban League’s highest honor, the Whitney M. Young Award for Advancing Racial Equality. From the foundation he provided to Public Allies Delaware, the organization has graduated more than 1,000 young adults as “Allies,” who have provided more than 1 million hours of public service to Delaware communities.

Within the field of public education in Delaware, Tony chaired the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and its predecessor organization, while also serving on the Board of Directors for the Rodel Foundation. His work there was instrumental in providing the starting point for the newly appointed Redding Consortium for Educational Equity. He currently co-chairs the Greater Kent County Workforce Education and Skills Development Group.

Tony has served twice as the Chairperson for the United Way of Delaware’s $20 million annual charitable campaign, and is Chair Emeritus of the National Urban Fellows. He held a position on the transition teams of both Governors Jack Markell and John Carney, and was a speechwriter for then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden.

He holds a 1993 Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware and a 1998 Master’s Degree in Public Administration in Nonprofit Management and Community Development from the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College (CUNY). He completed his academic journey at the University of Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration by earning a 2001 Ph.D. His dissertation was on “Devolution and Intergovernmental Decision-Making: The Delaware Welfare Reform Experience.”

Over the past 15 years, Tony has been an active scholar and lecturer in the field of public policy and educational reform. In 2002, he began that career with the study Handgun Violence in Delaware for the Urban League and collaborated with Dr. Leland Ware on The Geography of Discrimination: Hyper-segregation, Isolation, and Fragmentation within the Black Community. In the ensuing years, he has contributed multiple articles on similar subjects, including “Much is Required” in the Urban League’s 2017 Report on the State of Black America.

Tony has maintained an active speaking schedule on behalf of Delaware State University and the overarching vision of educational access for all. He recently appeared at the Apple “Educause” Conference in Cupertino, California; keynoted the Ellucian Conference for Historically Black Colleges and Universities; appeared at the National Orientation Director’s Association (NODA) HBCU Summit; and addressed the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), among others. Among his many international appearances, Tony has given the Commencement address at Ningbo University of Technology in China, as well as keynoted the Convocation for Adunkele Ajasin University in Nigeria.

As Tony said in the video released on New Year’s Day 2020, “I am a first-generation college student. My father never completed 11th grade; my mom raised me as a single mother. They believed so strongly in education that it never occurred to me I had any other choice except to go forward as far as talent and opportunity would take me. Providing low-cost, high-quality education not only to the best and the brightest, but especially for those who are locked out or underserved, is not just Delaware State University’s history, it is WHO WE ARE. Our doors always have and will be open to everyone, regardless of skin color, national origin, the god they worship, who they choose to love, or how much money their family makes.”

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

I consider Delaware State University to be one of the most important institutions in the country. I don’t choose those words lightly. Few institutions specialize in providing access to a four-year, comprehensive education to students who lack every advantage except sheer determination to do better for themselves and their families.

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

It is a unique and high honor and one I take with great humility.

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

I believe in the power of “WE.” To be successful in any complex enterprise, you have to surround yourself with talented people; given them clear, overarching directives and as many resources as possible; and then set them to work. Initiative and innovation are rewarded, and accountability is essential. Without an environment of mutual personal and professional respect, you can achieve little. I am blessed with an exceptional team at this University at all levels, and sometimes my biggest challenge is to make sure they make time to take care of themselves and their families.

When I was first appointed, I gave everyone my “It all Matters” philosophy. Click here: https://delawarebusinesstimes.com/news/people/90-in-90-tony-allen/.

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

To state my position unambiguously: Delaware State University’s future centers on always embracing our HBCU heritage, and having our actions testify every day that we are among the most important institutions in the world, literally building “a more perfect Union” and educating better global citizens.

Our core mission has not changed in 129 years: find young people who are as bright, energetic and driven as any in the world, and pay special attention to those who don’t realize their power and promise. Provide them an exceptional education and never let them forget where they come from, or the ones who made the sacrifices to give this opportunity. Whether they are Dreamers from Georgia or first-generation students from Georgetown, we are the place to call home.

Last fall, I wrote to the Delaware State community to say that I was profoundly grateful to God for affording me the enormous, life-changing opportunity to serve this University, and to be entrusted with a leadership role in finding our collective place of continued usefulness and honor in the world. For each of us at Delaware State University, doing so requires that we be better tomorrow than we are today, work harder – and smarter – than we have before, and strive without fear… TOGETHER.

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

  1. Growth through innovation – ensuring that we continue to attract talented students from a wide-array of backgrounds on campus, virtually around the world.
  2. Building a culture of unwavering customer service.
  3. Putting the students at the center of everything we do.

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

Today, there is a clear juxtaposition between the enormous possibilities of Black economic and political power and the continued bifurcation of mass incarceration of young Black men, the destabilization of densely populated urban centers and the deeply divisive opportunity gaps and lower wages for African American people writ large. Those tensions are rooted in the prospects of a well-education American citizenry and a belief, or lack thereof, that our country is better positioned for the future if every segment of society sees success as a link to that of their fellow citizens. As such, HBCUs in general, and Delaware State University in particular, play a profoundly substantive role.

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

Taking advantage of the University’s unique assets and identity, pursuing a long-term strategy that offers a big vision for the future, attracting a variety of financial and programmatic stakeholders and balancing a longstanding commitment to underserved and non-traditional students with initiatives that enhance its contributions to scholarship, service, social justice and economic empowerment.

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

Graduating our first class of DREAMERS. 

As you may know, Delaware State University is the #1 national school of choice for DREAMERS (children of undocumented immigrants under DACA), and we currently enroll about 175 of them. During the Fall of 2017, there was a strong move by the administration to eliminate the protections that DACA has provided these students, most of whom were brought to the United States at an age younger than six, and who have known no other country. Delaware’s senior United States Senator Tom Carper had been—and continues to be—a fierce champion for these students. He came to campus to meet with the Dreamers and update them on the progress of the fight. It was an announced meeting, but not originally intended as a large public gathering. Our students, faculty, and staff decided otherwise, and left classes and offices in the middle of the day in numbers exceeding 1,000 to come out and stand with our Dreamers, to communicate a very simple message: “You are part of our community, our family; we love you and will support you come what may.” I hope to be here for many years, but that expression of love and solidarity may be unmatched in my tenure.

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

One cannot overstate the power of a community of talented scholars and professionals – students, faculty and staff alike – who make significant and continuing contributions to the world around them and who carry forward the identity and priorities of the university they represent. Delaware State University is such an institution.

Why should students choose to attend your HBCU institution?

Our mission is to produce capable and productive leaders who contribute to the sustainability and economic development of the global community. Done right, this kind of education represents the hope of a great country, because it testifies that people, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or who they love, can be made equitably competitive in a smaller, more connected world.

###

About Delaware State University

DSU enjoys a long history as one of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Founded in 1891 as the State College for Colored Students, DSU is proud of its heritage as one of the country’s first land-grant educational institutions. Today, the institution is a welcome center of learning for student from many backgrounds. DSU’s current population includes a 63% African-American enrollment and an increasing number of Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian and other international students. For more information, visit www.desu.edu.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund 

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