“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The dynamics of higher education in America today are driving the demand for a new set of skills and capabilities for tomorrow’s leaders. Historically Black Colleges and Universities provides a quality education to low-income, first-generation, and academically underprepared students. These institutions of such also serves a diverse population while playing the role as the backbone of education for more than 140 years.

As President and CEO of the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) organization, a supportive non-profit group for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, leadership plays a substantial role in the operation of an institution. This second select group of individuals is responsible for shaking policies, changing perspectives and making decisions that affect millions through their educational needs daily at an HBCU institution.

Below, HCF has compiled a list of ten chancellors and presidents of HBCU’s who are dominant influential leaders and currently displaying the following responsibilities in leadership in the progress of moving their institutions forward.

10. Dr. Christoper J. Hall – Interim President of Denmark Technical College – Denmark, SC

Dr. Christopher J. Hall currently serves as the Interim President of Denmark Technical College, located in Denmark, South Carolina. Most recently, he was the Dean of Business and Public Service at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, South Carolina. He served as the Academic Program Manager and Instructor for the Criminal Justice Technology Program for a little over thirteen years. In addition to his work at Central Carolina, he serves as a Reserve Deputy with Richland County Sheriff’s Department and is a Sergeant in the Provost Marhsal’s Command of the South Carolina State Guard. Prior to teaching for Central Carolina, Hall taught at Denmark Technical College and he previously served as a corrections officer and training resource officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Dr. Hall recently completed a Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration Degree at University of Maryland University College. He holds a Master of Public Administration, with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Jacksonville State University, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Hall was selected as the 2014 Governor’s Professor of the Year for Two-Year Colleges. A recipient of the 2013 E.C. “Red” Kneece Instructional Excellence Award presented by the Central Carolina Foundation and the 2004 Central Carolina’s Educator of the Year, Hall is a dynamic and outstanding master teacher who continually renews himself and his instruction, materials, and delivery methods to remain current and effective.

Dr. Hall is currently conducting additional research on persistence and retention at community colleges, improving student success, community college leadership and administration, and improving the quality of higher education

9. Dr. Aminta H. Breaux – President of Bowie State University – Bowie, MD

Dr. Aminta H. Breaux brings more than 30 years of diverse higher education leadership experience to her position as the 10th president of Bowie State University. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for ensuring student development and success. She is dedicated to building on the legacy and rich history of Maryland’s oldest historically black university.

Before joining Bowie State University in July 2017, Dr. Breaux served as vice president for advancement for Millersville University, where she oversaw fundraising, alumni engagement, event management, and external relations. Before that, she was vice president for student affairs at Millersville University, leading several student-centered areas, including athletics, counseling services, health services, the women’s wellness center, Greek life, campus recreation, university police, student programs, housing and residential programs, judicial affairs, and financial aid

Previously, she was dean of students at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, known as the country’s first college of pharmacy. At Drexel University, she served as assistant provost, overseeing experiential and service-learning programs, and as director of co-operative education and career services. She got her start in higher education as a career counselor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Breaux holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in psychological services in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Temple University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Executive Management and the American Association for State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Institute.

8. Dr. Laurence B. Alexander – Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – Pine Bluff, AR

Dr. Laurance B. Alexander is the ninth Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Before joining UAPB in 2013, he served as the Associate Dean of the University of Florida (UF) Graduate School, Director of the Office of Graduate Minority Programs, a Distinguished Teaching Scholar, and a Professor in the Department of Journalism.

Dr. Alexander has held several administrative positions throughout his career. he served as Chair of the UF Department of Journalism, Provost Administrative Fellow in the UF Office of Academic Affairs. He was a Fellow in the 2012-2013 Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium’s Academic Leadership Development Program (SECAC/ALDP).

A native of New Orleans, Alexander received a bachelor’s degree in Drama and Communications from University of New Orleans, master’s degree in Journalism and Communications from UF, Juris Doctor from Tulane University, and Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University.

As a Professor, Alexander taught more than 10,000 students. He has received significant awards, honors and recognition for his research and undergraduate teaching. He was named the 12th UF Distinguished Alumni Professor, a UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar and member of the UF Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars, a UF Research Foundation Professor, and he received the Florida Blue Key Distinguished Faculty Award. Moreover, his national honors and awards include the Florida Education Fund President’s Award, the Freedom Forum Teacher of the Year Award, and the Baskett Mosse Award, given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and the accrediting council.

7. Dr. Lester A. McCorn – President of Clinton College – Rock Hill, SC

Named as the 13th President of Clinton College on August 15, 2018, Dr. Lester A. McCorn has been the acting president for the past year and has more than three decades of leadership experience. He joins Clinton College after serving as the senior pastor at Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church in Baltimore, Maryland from 2008 to 2017.

For several years, Dr. Lester A. McCorn served as an adjunct professor/mentor of doctoral students at United Seminary. He is the author of “Standing on Holy Common Ground: An Africentric Ministry Approach to Prophetic Community Engagement.” He also served as Vice President of Urban Development of the Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development.

Dr. McCorn attended Morehouse College, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. He holds the Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Ethical and Creative Leadership with a concentration in Martin Luther King Jr. Studies and Social Change, at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. McCorn is the former Director of Young Adult Ministries for the A.M.E. Zion denomination. He served as the President of the Zion Development Corporation, Inc. and the Zion M.A.D.E. Institute. He is also a principal of Community Churches for Community Development, Incorporated, headquartered in Baltimore. Pastor McCorn is the spiritual father to over 30 sons and daughters in ministry, some of whom are active pastors.

Dr. McCorn has received many awards and honors. He was a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership Program (which included CNN host Van Jones and NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill) and Leadership Greater Chicago. He was served on the Boards of the United Way, Urban League and as chair of the Anti-Racism Task Force of the Illinois Conference of Churches. he is an inductee of the distinguished Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College. He is proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., initiated at Morehouse College (Alpha Rho Chapter) in 1986.

6. Dr. William B. Bynum, Jr. – President of Jackson State University – Jackson, MS

Dr. William B. Bynum, Jr., a higher education professional with more than 27 years of experience, was unanimously selected to be the 11th president of Jackson State University by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board on May 31, 2017. Before joining the Jackson State University family, Bynum served four years as president of Mississippi Valley State University.

Prior of his appointment at MVSU, Bynum served as the vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services at Morehouse College from 2009-2013, where he was mentored by Morehouse’s 10th president Dr. Robert Michael Franklin. While serving at Morehouse, Bynum significantly enhanced student-administration relations and improved the efficiency and effectiveness of student services. He also started, envisioned and let the initiative which established the Parents Council and implemented the nationally acclaimed Morehouse “Appropriate Attire Policy.

Before joining the administrative leadership team at Morehouse, Bynum served as the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management from 2000 – 2009 at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. During his nine years of service, he was successful in nearly doubling Lincoln’s enrollment and recruited the four largest new student classes in the University’s 150-year history. Before LU, Bynum served as the associate vice president and dean of students at Clark Atlanta University from 1993-2000, and he was the second person in the division that recruited the four largest classes in the then 125-year history of CAU.

In addition to his enrollment management and student affairs work, Bynum has lectured and/or taught as well. He served as Covington Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Davidson, and at Morehouse he was an adjunct professor in the leadership studies program and Department of Sociology. Bynum’s other professional experience includes research and teaching positions at Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke University and Durham and Edgecombe Community Colleges. He started his educational career as a teacher, football and wrestling coach in the Rocky Mount City School System 1984 to 1987 and the DeKalb County Georgia School System in 1987 to 1988

A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Bynum earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Davidson College while on a student-athlete scholarship. He was subsequently licensed and certified to teach social studies and math in North Carolina and Georgia. Bynum went on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from Duke University while serving as a Duke Endowment Fellow. He was also a member of the inaugural class of the National Association for Equal Opportunity-Kellogg Leadership Fellows Program.

5. Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. – President of Philander Smith College – Little Rock, AR

Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. was named the 14th president of Philander Smith College on October 1, 2014 and officially began his tenure on January 5, 2015. A dynamic scholar, transformative leader and forward-thinking visionary, Smothers is committed to building upon the institution’s strong and historic legacy, while advancing its mission to new levels of excellence.

Previously, Dr. Smothers served as vice president for institutional advancement at two historically black universities: Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, respectively, where he was responsible for university development and fundraising, sponsored programs, marketing and public relations, external affairs, community engagement and alumni affairs. As an accomplished fundraiser, he has worked extensively with individuals, non-profits organizations, corporations, and foundations along with federal, regional and state agencies, and holds a cumulative fundraising/grant writing record that exceeds $60 million.

As a higher education professional, he is also experienced in conducting scientific and applied research, facilitating date-driven, community-based interventions, and training educators aspiring to leadership roles in elementary and secondary school administration. His research agenda includes: the past, present and future of historically black colleges and universities; the transformation of toxic urban school districts, strengthening the secondary and post-secondary educational pipelines for African-American males, effective mentoring programs, the access dilemma in higher education for minority students, and the effectiveness of state merit-based tuition programs.

A native of Vidalia, Louisiana, Smothers earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in public administration (with a concentration in higher education administration), and a doctoral degree in educational leadership, research and counseling, all from LSU. He also holds a certification in fundraising management from The Fund Raising School at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Initiative. Additionally, he has served as a U.S. Air Force reservist with active-duty time spent during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Smothers has held membership in several professional organizations, including the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), American Association of Governing Boards (AGB), Research Association for Minority Professor (RAMP) and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

4. Richard J. Gallot, Jr. – President of Grambling State University – Grambling, LA

The University of Louisiana System (ULS) Boar of Supervisors announced in 2016 that the tenth President of Grambling State University will be Richard J. Gallot, Jr., former Louisiana state senator, and state representative.

From 2000 to 2012, Gallot held the District 11 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He served three terms in the house before winning his first term in the senate in 2011. Gallot did not seek re-election in the October 24, 2015, election.

Gallot is a 1987 graduate of Grambling State University where he received a bachelor of arts in Arts and History. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Southern University in 1990.

Gallot is a member of the Gamma Psi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

3. Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr. – Chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University – Greensboro , NC

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr. was elected the 12th chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University on May 22, 2009, and formally begin his tenure on June 8, 2009. Dr. Martin brought more than 30 years of transformative leadership experience in higher education to the role. He is the first alumnus to serve as the university’s chief executive.

Under Dr. Martin’s leadership, NCAT has become one of the nation’s top producers of African-American graduates in engineering, mathematics, statistics, agriculture, journalism, visual and performing arts, marketing and physical sciences. In 2015, the university earned the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. During Martin’s tenure, it has also grown its statewide economic impact to more than $1 billion and its regional economic impact to more than $700 million.

Before his election as chancellor of A&T, Martin served as senior vice president for academic affairs for the UNC system. He also served as the 11th chief administrator and seventh chancellor of Winston-Salem State University and in a number of administrative posts at A&T including vice chancellor for the Division of Academic Affairs, dean of the College of Engineering and chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

A proponent of community engagement, Martin lends himself to service on various boards including the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Review Advisory Board, Research Triangle Institute, Piedmont Triad Regional Development Council, National Collegiate Athletic Association Limited-Resource Institutions Advisory Group.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., native received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from A&T and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering form Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

2. Dr. Colette P. Burnette – President of Huston-Tillotson University – Austin, TX

Ranking as the first female president and CEO in the historic Huston-Tillotson University, Austin’s oldest institution of higher learning and only historically black college and university (HBCU). Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette has proven to be a successful leader. Dr. Burnetter has been named an Innovator by the New Leaders Council – Austin Chapter, an Austin Fab Five by the Seeding Foundation, and a Top 25 Woman in the nation in Higher Education by a leading higher education magazine, DIVERSE.

At Huston-Tillotson, she created a set of principles called IDEAL (Integrity, Diversity, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership) to guide all things and people of Huston-Tillotson, from operation to students to faculty and staff. Dr. Burnette inspires over 1100 students and 100 faculty and staff members.

Before becoming a university president, Dr. Burnette was a successful engineer with widely-known organizations. From being a computer analyst for The Washington Post to an operations support engineer for Proctor and Gamble, from Director of Information Systems at Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to Manager of Counseling and Project Management Services at the Washington State Department of Transportation, and ultimately, running her own computer consulting firm, it is no surprise that her alma mater, the Ohio State University named her Outstanding Engineering Alumnus.

For someone of Dr. Burnette’s caliber and with her breadth of knowledge, many boards want her membership. A few of her current local board memberships include the Mayor of Austin’s taskforce on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, and Greater Austin Black and Austin Area Chamber of Commerce. Nationally, she serves on The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering Advisory Committee and the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church Board.

Dr. Burnette is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Austin (TX) Chapter of The Links, Inc., the National Society of Black Engineers, and Texnikoi Engineering Honorary.

1.Dr. Michael J. Sorrell – President of Paul Quin College – Dallas, TX

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 146-year history of Paul Quinn College. During his almost 12 years of leadership, Paul Quinn has become something unique – a small, private minority-serving institution that by focusing on the most persistent, prevalent, and pressing problems of society, is remaking higher education and becoming a movement.

Among Paul Quinn’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s tenure are the following: winning the HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; achieving recognition as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, creating the New Urban College Model; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to transform the football field into the WE over Me Farm; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); creating the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program; and rewriting all institutional fundraising records.

Dr. Sorrell received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (where his dissertation defense was awarded “with Distinction). While in law school, he was one of the founding members of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy and served as the Vice President of the Duke Bar Association. Michael was a recipient of a Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which funded his studies at both Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (as a graduate fellow) and Duke University. He graduate from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government.

Dr. Sorrell serves as a trustee or director for Duke University’s School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, Amegy Bank, Dallas Advisory Board of Teach for America, the Dallas Foundation, the Holdsworth Center for Educational Leadership, and EarthX.

Dr. Sorrell is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

11 thoughts on “The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2019

  1. Dexter D. Evans says:

    Way to go leaders! A special shout out to the president of my alma mater, Dr. Sorrell of Paul Quinn College; where our vision is to eradicate intergenerational poverty through education and workforce development.

  2. Phyllis Thompson says:

    This is great information! However, the benchmarks set by Board of Trustees for all Presidents should be public information so that Alimni , community leaders, corporations and others can see if these individuals are fulfilling there responsibilities as CEO and not building on projects, grants and other funds already awarded and received prior to their appointment. Too many new leaders are taking credit for annual giving by alumni and projects that were already in place before their arrival. President must be held accountable for annual fund raising from private donors and corporations for the institution to move it forward.

  3. James Lee Frazier, Jr says:

    Spring Anew!!!

    Besides giving some some of my finances to our beloved and precious HBCU, I’m not too sure what else I could do to keep Her riising ever upward.

    Many years “aglow” I explored picking up where Lou Rawls left off when it comes to raising funds for HBCU.

    Hey, you never know!

    In the meantime, like Rev. Adam Clayton Powell use to say, “KEEP THE FAITH BABY”.


    Blissfully Ours Today,

    James Lee Frazier, Jr
    Informal Educational Consultant


  4. Phyllis L Thompson says:

    This is great information! However, the benchmarks set by Board of Trustees for all Presidents must be prominent on the Institution’s website so that Alumni , community leaders, corporations and others can determine if leaders are fulfilling their responsibilities as CEO and not building on projects, grants and other funds already awarded and received prior to their appointment. Too many new leaders are taking credit for annual giving by alumni and projects that were already in place before their arrival. President must be held accountable for annual fund raising (that is 3 times the amount that alumni give) from private donors and corporations for the institution to move it forward.

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