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.


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.


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

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS – Rust College, a historically black, coeducational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1886, has identified three candidates who are seeking the presidential seat in replacement of outgoing president Dr. David Buckley, who plans to retire at the end of the academic year.

Beckley, an alumnus of the College, has served as Rust’s president for 26 years and has the distinction of being the longest-tenured senior college president in Mississippi. He was appointed as president in 1993, and before the appointment, he served as the 12th president of Wiley College from 1987-1993.

The Search and Advisory Committee announced virtual open sessions with the candidates for April 20-22, 2020, with the invitation extended to faculty/staff, students, and alumni/community members via zoom video conference. During each session, candidates provided a brief opening statement then moved to Q and A session.

The candidates:

Dr. Joel V. Harrell began his post-secondary educational training at Rust College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science, graduating in three years with honors. He went on to later earn his masters in public policy and administration and a doctorate in higher education administration from Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. Further graduate work was done at Memphis State University and the Atlanta University Center.

Dr. Harrell has over forty years of experience in the higher education administrative arena having served in senior administrative positions at Mary Holmes College, West Point, MS; Knoxville College, Knoxville, TN; Mississippi State University, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL. Prior to the beginning of his federal government career, his most recent on-campus position was Vice President of Enrollment Services and Student Affairs at Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA. Dr. Harrell has also served as a consultant at the regional and national levels and has delivered numerous presentations and papers related to his work. His primary areas of expertise are Title IV Student Financial Assistance Programs Administration, higher education Enrollment Management and higher educational information systems project management/functional user expert (Ellucian, PeopleSoft).

Most recently, Dr. Harrell served as the Deputy Director, School Experience Group and the Director of the Minority Serving and Under Resourced School Division within the U.S. Department of Education/Federal Student Aid. In this capacity he with responsible for providing leadership to a team that supported and provided special services, training and technical assistance to over 6,000 institutions that participated in the Title IV Student Financial Assistance Programs. He also provided leadership and strategic vision for Federal Student Aids outreach efforts to Historically Black College and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribally Controlled Colleges and University and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, Predominately Black Institutions, and Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions that participated in the Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs.

Dr. Said L. Sewell currently serves as Director at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to Sewell joining the A.U.C.C., the world’s oldest and largest association of historically black colleges and universities, he was the Vice President for Student Affairs at Morehouse College. He has also served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln University in Missouri, the Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Kent State University (Kent, OH), and the Executive Director of the Academic Success Center at Fort Valley State University. He has had faculty appointments in the Political Science Departments at the Lincoln University, University of West Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Nebraska, Fort Valley State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Albany State University. Sewell is the founder and current Executive Director of the Center for African-American Males: Research, Success, and Leadership, Inc. – a research and modeling center for the advancement of African-American males.

Sewell, a native of Houston, Texas, entered Morehouse College at the age of 16 and graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in political science. His formal training also include a master of public administration in public policy from Texas Southern University, and a Ph.D. From Clark Atlanta University in political science. Because of his work as a scholar and renowned professor, he has been honored with his own day in Madison County (Georgia), Fulton County (Georgia), the City of Stone Mountain (Georgia), and Atlanta (Georgia), as well as numerous awards. The University of System Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative Best Practices Leadership Award, The Doris Harris Humanitarian Award from the Tau Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Visionary Award from the Follow Me Foundation, Inc., The ETA Tau Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s Leadership Award, The National Conference of Black Political Scientists’ Teacher of the Year Award, The University of West Georgia’s Student Government Association’s Jim Mathis Outstanding Faculty Member, and the American Political Science Association and the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society’s Outstanding Teaching Award in Political Science, and in the Southern Region for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s Brother of the Year, to name a few. In addition, Diverse: Issues of Higher Education named him as its – Top 12 Emerging Scholars in America and Georgia Trend Magazine acknowledge him as one of its – Top 40 under 40; Georgia’s Best and Brightest.

Sewell, who is an ordained Baptist minister, is active in several professional, civic, and social organization. He is chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for African American Males: Research, Success, and Leadership, Inc., Past First Vice President for the Georgia State Conference of the N.A.A.C.P., and the former National Chairman of the Leadership Development Institute for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Sewell is a member of the Board of Directors for Leadership Portage County, the Board of Directors for Project GRAD – Akron, the College Board’s National College Scholarship Service Assembly Council, the Charles Wesley Foundation – Rho Pi Lambda Chapter, Boys and Girls Club of America, the 100 Black Men, the N.A.A.C.P., and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

A native of Queens, New York, Ivy R. Taylor, has spent twenty years in San Antonio, Texas, leading efforts to connect people to opportunity. She has been an educator, affordable housing advocate, and elected official. Ivy served as Mayor of San Antonio, Texas for three years and as a member of San Antonio City Council for five years.

Ivy’s career began as a City of San Antonio employee. She then served as Vice President of Merced Housing Texas where she worked to improve family stability for low-income apartment community residents. During her time working with residents to those apartments, she became convinced of the need to provide more access to higher education to help low income families in achieving stability. She spent six years as a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Public Administration Department. Ivy also served on the San Antonio Planning Commission and was previously a Commissioner for the San Antonio Renewal Agency.

While serving as council member, Ivy led a significant community revitalization effort. Through her leadership, the Eastside, a distressed area of San Antonio, was awarded over $50 million in grants. This effort included a large scale community plan, and execution with many partners that resulted the new affordable housing, new educational and community programs and enhanced public investments in an area that had stuffed from disinvestment.

Ivy is a positive community role model and has worked in partnership with many community agencies to improve outcomes for families. She served on the Board of Directors of Healthy Futures of Texas, which works to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy in San Antonio and Texas. She also served on the Board of Directors of Big Brother/Big Sisters of South Texas, which provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one to one mentoring relationships. Additional past service includes stints on the boards of the San Antonio Education Partnership, Project Quest, San Antonio Zoological Association and Haven for Hope.

In 1998, Ivy arrived at Yale University as a first generation college student. She majored in American Studies and graduated in 1992. Ivy also obtained a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. She is currently enrolled in an executive doctorate program in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania and will receive an Ed.D. in August 2020. Her dissertation research focused on board governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Ivy credits her academic success to the strong foundation, faith, and values instilled in her by her mother, a North Carolina native, who never had the chance to pursue her educational dreams.

While serving as Mayor and supporting the UNCF, Ivy joined the Board of Trustees for Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU in Austin, Texas. This sparked additional interest in higher education and supporting HBCUs. She is also on the board of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, a minority serving institution. Ivy is committed to changing lives, improving communities and reducing economic inequality through working in higher education. She currently works as a consultant with J.L. Powers and Associates. 

The committee has plans to have a new president in place by the summer with Beckley staying on for a year as a consultant, according to a source.

For more information about Rust College’s Presidential Search, visit


About Rust College

Rust College is a historically black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church to offer quality programs in business, education, humanities, science and math, and social science to prepare students for leadership and service in a global society. For more information, visit

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite will become the seventh president of Bethune-Cookman University, following a national search. He will take office effective July 1, 2019.

According to a press release from the University, Chrite will be stepping down as dean at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business in June. He previously served as dean at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and has held leadership positions at the University of Arizona-Tucson and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Chrite also is an independent director of Gordon Food Service, a $15 billion privately held company, where he chairs the risk committee.

“I am tremendously honored to assume the presidency of Bethune-Cookman University, an academic institution with a storied history; great faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends; and a bright future,” said Chrite. “We face some serious challenges, but we have so much that’s outstanding in our community and traditions – and I have every confidence that together we will make exciting things happen. I am passionate about Bethune-Cookman and am thrilled to be a part of its community.”

“The board chose Dr. Chrite as President of Bethune-Cookman University because his global experience in leadership, business, policy and academic transformation will serve as the foundation for setting a new course for our beloved college. We look forward to working together to create a new and robust educational institution that preserves our history while taking us into the future.”

At Daniels, where he headed a faculty and staff of 220 serving more than 3,000 students, Chrite led the College through a major strategic shift – overhauling the academic portfolio, expanding the global footprint, creating a new generation of teaching and learning approaches matched to the demands of the 21st-century economy, and growing the faculty.

“Dr. Brent Chrite served as dean with deep integrity and great intelligence,” said Gregg Kvistad, the provost who hired Chrite. “His visionary, collaborative leadership is respected by colleagues across the University. His most lasting legacy, however, may be his singular focus on academic excellence and inclusion. Bethune-Cookman University is extremely fortunate to have landed Dr. Chrite as its next president.”

In addition to his leadership positions, Dr. Chrite has taught strategic management, leadership and international business to students and executives at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and at universities around the world.

“Brent Chrite is a leader who has demonstrated an innovative approach to complicated issues in education today,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North American and a member of the Daniels Executive Advisory Board. “His keen intelligence combined with a passion for both faculty and students is a true asset for Bethune-Cookman University.”

Chrite is an expert on how to build individual and institutional economic capacities in challenging emerging markets around the world. He has worked on behalf of the World Bank to build education and business assistance programs across sub-Saharan African, and on behalf of the Eurasia Foundation to strengthen the private sector in Uzbekistan. He recently completed a three-year engagement to improve business education and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan, working under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and engaging Daniels faculty.

He is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He and his wife, Phyllis, have three children and one grandchild. He complete his undergraduate work at Michigan State University, earned an M.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

About Bethune-Cookman University

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit  


JACKSON, MS – Tougaloo College welcomes two (2) presidential candidate finalists to campus on February 11 and 12.

Melva Williams, PhD – Monday, February 11, 2019

Carmen Walters, PhD – Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In a letter written to the Tougaloo College community from Edmond Hughes, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, the visit purpose is centered to enable individuals to know the candidates better. There will be open forums during the visits held at the Bennie G. Thompson Academic Complex on campus. The meeting with faculty will be held each day at 2:00 p.m. and the meeting with the staff, students and others will be held at 3:00 p.m.

About Melva Williams, PhD

Dr. Melva Williams is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Management at Southern University at Shreveport. Dr. Williams has over 17 years of experience in HBCU leadership. She has executive-level experience in Chancellor’s Office, Business Affairs, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Fundraising. She has demonstrated experience as a senior level administrator in sculpting budgets from static resources; creating sound community and developing partnerships; ensuring a student-centered campus environment; managing and redesigning curriculum to meet the needs of millennial students; and fostering collaboration with faculty and staff. She also serves on the SACSCOC advisory committee. Dr. Williams is well versed in program and curriculum development; faculty and staff development; student counseling and advising; and faculty and staff conflict resolution. Additionally, Dr. Williams has extensive professional development in strategic planning, strategic enrollment management planning, fundraising, human resources and organizational management

Dr. Williams earned her bachelor’s of arts in Mass Communication from Grambling State University; a masters of arts in Public Administration from Grambling State University; and a doctor of philosophy in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Her path of progression and professional experience in higher education began as a Program Advisor at Grambling State University. She transitioned to Southern University at Shreveport and advanced from the position of Director of Student Activities and Services to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. From there she was promoted to Chief of Staff for the Southern University System and again advanced through the ranks to become Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Southern University System. Dr. Williams returned to Southern University to Shreveport to serve as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. When offered a new opportunity, Dr. Williams left to become the Associate Dean of Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. Following her tenure there, she again returned to Southern University at Shreveport as Executive Associate to the Chancellor and then was promoted to her current position as Vice Chancellor.

Dr. Williams has been recognized for her leadership including being a Board member for Centenary College of Louisiana and many other honors. She has supported a number of special projects including Board member for the Christus Shumpert Hospital in Shreveport. Dr. Williams has and continues to serve the community including serving as a founding board member and board vice-president for the Magnolia School of Excellence. She is affiliated with a number of professional associations. She is co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation.

About Carmen Walters, PhD

Dr. Carmen Walters is the Executive Vice President of Enrollment Management, Student Success and Institutional Relations at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, District Office, Perkinston, MS. Dr. Walter has over 24 years of experience in community college leadership. She has executive-level experience in the Chancellor’s Office, Business Affairs, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Workforce Development. She has demonstrated experience in university and community college policy and procedures; grant management; budget management; diversity relations; and athletics management. Dr. Walters is well versed in program and curriculum development; faculty and staff development; student counseling and advising; and faculty and staff conflict resolution. Additionally, Dr. Walters has extensive professional development in strategic planning, strategic enrollment management planning; facilities planning; human resources; and organizational management.

Dr. Walters earned her bachelors of science in Accounting & Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans, Louisiana; a masters of Arts plus 30 in Post-Secondary Counseling from Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana; and a doctor of philosophy in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi

Her path of progression and professional leading to her current position started as a high school teacher at Landry High School in New Orleans. She followed that assignment by serving as the case management supervisor in the Jefferson Parrish Department of Employment & Training. She transitioned to Delgado Community College where she rose from the position of Job Placement Counselor; to Academic Support Service/ Carl Perkins Coordinator; to Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, College Provost, Carl Perkins Coordinator, SACS Liaison; to Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, Carl Perkins Coordinator, EAEO Officer, ADA Compliance Officer; to Assistant Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, Delegated Appointing Authority. Dr. Walters than transitioned to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jackson County Campus, Gautier, Mississippi where she started as Campus Vice-President and now serves in her current position as Executive Vice President, Enrollment Management, Student Success and Instructional Relations.

Dr. Walters has been recognized for her leadership including being a member of Leadership Mississippi, Mississippi Economic Council, Class of 2015 and many other awards. She has supported a number of special projects including Team Member, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Scholarship Gala. Dr. Walters has and continues to serve the community including serving as a Board member of Jackson County United Way. She is affiliated with a number of professional associations. She currently serves as Chair of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Student Services Council.


About Tougaloo College

Tougaloo College prepares its students to be lifelong learners who are committed to leadership and service in a global society through its diverse undergraduate and graduate programs. The college is accessible to all persons while making students aware of its rich history as an independent, historically black liberal arts institution, affiliated with the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For more information, visit

FRANKFORT, KY – The Kentucky State University Board of Regents approved the slate of candidates and announced three finalists for the presidential search on Thursday, February 9, 2017, during a special meeting. The finalist are Dr. M. Christopher Brown, Justice Thomas Colbert, and Dr. Said Sewell. The Board of Regents anticipates making the final selection in March 2017.

Dr. M. Christopher Brown

Dr. M. Christopher Brown has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. in Education from the University of Kentucky, and a B.S. in Elementary Education from South Carolina State University.

Dr. Brown is currently the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Southern University and A&M System. Previously, he served as President and Institutional Executive Officer at Alcorn State University. He has served in other executive and academic roles at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Alcorn State University, Fisk University, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and the United Negro College Fund.

Dr. Brown has served in faculty roles at Southern University and A&M College System, Alcorn State University, Fisk University, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and The Pennsylvania State University.

Justice Thomas Colbert

Justice Thomas Colbert holds a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma School of Law, a M.Ed. from Eastern Kentucky University, and a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Kentucky State University.

Justice Colbert currently serves as the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He previously served as the Vice Chief Justice. He has held the appointment of Chief Judge in the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.

He is a former Assistant Dean at the School of Law at Marquette University. Justice Colbert also served as a teacher in the Chicago Public School System and in the criminal investigation division of the United States Army.

Justice Colbert has been inducted into the Kentucky State University Athletic Hall of Fame and the HBCU Hall of Fame.

Dr. Said Sewell

Dr. Said Sewell holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, a M.P.A. in Public Policy from Texas Southern University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College.

Dr. Sewell is currently the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln University. He has served in other executive and academic roles at Kent State University and Fort Valley State University.

He has served in faculty roles at Lincoln University, Kent State University, Fort Valley State University, University of Nebraska, University of West Georgia, Albany State University, Morehouse College, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Sewell has participated in opportunities for professional development at Harvard University, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the University System of Georgia.

You can continue to watch Kentucky State University’s Presidential Search by visiting for updates. All inquiries concerning the search, search process, or finalists should be submitted in writing to


Kentucky State University, building on its legacy of achievement as a historically black, liberal arts, and 1890 Land Grant University, affords access to and prepares a diverse population of traditional and non-traditional students through high-quality undergraduate and select graduate programs. Located in Frankfort, Kentucky, KSU offers associate (two-year), degrees in two disciplines, baccalaureate (four-year) degrees in 24 disciplines, master’s degrees in eight disciplines, and one advance practice doctorate in Nursing. KSU has 129 full-time instructional faculty members and more than 2,200 students.