President Anderson has served on the association’s board of directors since 2020

UMES President Heidi M. Anderson

University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Heidi M. Anderson, was recently elected as the chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Board of Directors at the association’s annual conference in Carlsbad, CA.

Anderson, who has more than 30 years of higher education experience, has served on the AASCU Board of Directors since 2020 and chairs AASCU’s Council of State Representatives.

“I am both honored and eager to collaborate with our AASCU campuses in pursuit of innovative actions and strategies that will enhance new majority student success,” said Anderson. “As a catalyst for our conversations, my theme for the year and for the 2023 annual conference is ‘AASCU Leading for Democracy: Rebuild, Restore, Reframe.”

“At this significant time in our history of educators, I look forward to conversations exploring transformations consistent with the AASCU mission and vision,” Anderson continued.

Under her leadership, UMES developed strategic initiatives that are improving enrollment and retention.

UMES has increased its six-year graduation rate to a level higher than in the past 20 years, and the university has experienced record-breaking research funding and philanthropic efforts.

Anderson has completed construction of a $95 million academic building for the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. UMES has received the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute award to support STEM education and career readiness.

In January 2022, Anderson was named as one of the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders by the HBCU Campaign Fund. She was recognized for her proven work in shaping polices and making decisions that strengthen the higher education space.

“(Dr.) Anderson has dedicated her career to expanding access and opportunities for students from underserved populations, and as a first-generation college graduate, she knows firsthand the transformative power of postsecondary education,” said AASCU president Mildred Garcia. “We know that she will bring that lifelong dedication to this role, particularly as higher education grapples with declining enrollments, the impact of the global pandemic on our campuses, and threats to our democracy.”

Anderson is a proud graduate of AASCU’s Executive Leadership Academy and AASCU’s Academy for New Provosts. She earned a B.S. in pharmacy, M.S. in education, and a Ph.D. in pharmacy administration all from Purdue University, in her home state of Indiana.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Board of Trustees has appointed Olivier Charles, ACCS Vice Chancellor for Student Success, as President of Bishop State Community College, announced on Wednesday (July 13). His tenure begins August 1.

Olivier Charles, ACCS Vice Chancellor for Student Success, appointed President of Bishop State Community College by ACCS Board of Trustees. His tenure begins August 1. Photo courtesy of ACCS/Bishop State Community College.

Charles’ appointment marks one of two of the last permanent college presidential appointments at Alabama’s community and technical colleges. In June, AACS Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Chris Cox as the permanent president of Shelton State Community College. All 24 of the colleges now have permanent presidents for the first time in many years.

“This is my dream job,” said Charles. “And I intend to retire at Bishop State. Growing up on Mobile’s Campground neighborhood, Bishop State was always a physical reminder that opportunities were within my reach. That community-focused role hasn’t changed, and as Mobile grows, Bishop State will be there to help us community share in its success. Mobile gave so much to me, so I see this opportunity to serve as my way of giving back.”

“We are a proud historically black community college (HBCC) and we will always be. I am committed to making Bishop State not just the best HBCU in Alabama but the best community college in Alabama, period. I’m ready to work with our community stakeholders, our students, and our faculty so that Bishop State can achieve its full potential,” Charles added.

“Oliver is a leader who can be integral in building relationships and solidifying workforce training infrastructure. He has succeeded in that role at the Alabama Community College System, and will bring that success to Bishop State,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker. “Olivier sees the importance of Bishop State in Mobile’s past, its present, and its future.”

Bishop State is one of the System’s six historically black colleges and the City’s of Mobile’s only community college. With four campuses committed to serving the residents of Mobile and Washington counties, the college works to incorporate fast-tack, credentialed, transferable and degree-awarding programs to train students with new skills, increase career opportunities for South Alabamians, and support economic development efforts in the area.

Charles has served in higher education leadership for more than a decade, beginning first as Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at the University of West Alabama and as Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Auburn University at Montgomery. Prior to becoming Vice Chancellor for Student Success, Charles served as Dean of Students at Enterprise State Community College.

Olivier Charles appointed President of Bishop State Community College.

Charles directed and managed best practice policies regarding student recruitment, advising, admissions, athletics, financial aid, registration, retention, marketing, ADA, Title IX, and facilities.

Charles earned both a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and a Master of Science in College Student Development from the University of West Alabama.

About ACCS
With 24 community colleges in more than 130 locations, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to complete in a constantly evolving workforce. More than 144,000 Alabamians benefit from the various certification, credential, dual enrollment and degree programs ACCS offers alongside leading industry partners. The System includes the Alabama Technology Network, which provides extesnive training and service offerings directly to business and industry. ACCS is governed by the Alabama Community College Board of Trustees.


This month, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) institutions – Spelman College, Dillard University, Hampton University, and Southern University officially welcomed their selected presidents to their campuses to begin their presidential tenures.

Spelman College, America’s oldest private HBCU liberal arts college for women, announced the selection of Helene Gayle, a globally recognized public health leader, in April 2022. Dr. Gayle previously led The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. In a 3-minute welcome introduction video, Dr. Gayle thanks the Spelman and Atlanta community for the warm welcome to campus and congratulatory messages received. Additionally, she addressed that she is prepared to collaborate with crucial partners, identify strategic priorities, solve critical issues and forget new opportunities for the college.

Dr. Gayle succeeded Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., who served a seven-year tenure as Spelman’s 10th president.

“I’m excited about Dr. Gayle’s appointment and confident that her demonstrated ability to address complex issues in communities of color many of which involve the strength of Black females and her success factors, coupled with her commitment to equity, will further build on Spelman’s legacy and propel the College into the future,” said Rosalind G. Brewer, Spelman College Board Chair.

Meanwhile, on Dillard University’s Avenue of the Oaks, madam president and Howard University alumnae Dr. Rochelle Ford has presented the campus with her charismatic elegance. Dillard selected Dr. Ford as the eighth president, succeeding Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough.

Dr. Rochelle Ford, 8th president of Dillard University. (Courtesy of Dillard University)

Ford previously served as dean of Elon University’s School of Communications. Before that, she served as Syracuse University’s Provost faculty fellow. The dynamics in her have her already hitting the ground running, and as Dr. Ford mentioned during an interview with Higher Ed Drive, she plans to meet people and listen to what they’re excited about. She wants to know what they believe is possible to ensure Dillard’s sustainability for generations to come.

“Students, faculty, and trustees were blown away by her insight, passion and drive. As impressive as Dillard has been over the past 150 years in producing history makers and change agents, there is no questions that, under Dr. Ford’s leadership, the best is yet to come,” said Michael D. Jones, Esq., Chair of Dillard’s Board of Trustees.

Two more presidents have begun their roles at HBCUs and are succeeding retiring presidents. Darrell K. Williams to lead Hampton University and Dennis J. Shields will lead the way at the only university system known to HBCUs, the Southern University System. President-Chancellor Shields will also lead the main campus in Baton Rouge (Southern University and A&M College). His previous experience has been in higher education outside of the HBCU space. So during his 100 days, he is expected to understand his dual role as President-Chancellor and the HBCU experience. His plans focus primarily on student outcomes (retention, graduate rates, and first-time employment), community engagement, and stakeholder involvement.

Southern University President-Chancellor Dennis J. Shields met with students, faculty, and staff during his first week of his presidential tenure on campus. (Courtesy of Southern University and A&M College)

Dr. Shields previously served as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville since 2010.

On the other hand, Hampton University also hired a male successor for Dr. William R. Harvey, alumnus Ret. U.S. Army Gen. Darrell K. Williams. With background as an educator with nonprofit development experience, Williams says that his focus will be creating an unparalleled higher education experience for students that includes excellent academics, support for strong physical, emotional, and mental health, and access to cutting-edge technology, research opportunities and innovative students.

Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams and First Lady Williams walking the campus, meeting and eating with students in the dinning hall during their first week of the presidential tenure. (Courtesy of Hampton University)

“I love Hampton and the opportunities provided to me here. The university’s values and standard of excellence will not change. As the new president, my priority will be providing our students with a robust experience that is second to none and prepares them for life after graduation,” said Williams.

Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service. His last leadership position was as the first Black and 19th director of the Department of Defense’s Defense logistics Agency (DLA). He oversaw a global workforce of over 26,000 civilian and military professionals. He comes to Hampton from Fortune 250 technology company Leidos, where he served as the global organization’s United Kingdom vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defense Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme, providing global logistical support to U.K. military forces.

HCF welcomes all four of them to leadership at the helm of their designated colleges and universities and expresses our profound and heartfelt congratulations on their appointment. We appreciate their leadership and wish them the very best throughout their tenures.

PETERSBERG, Va. – The Virginia State University Board of Visitors has voted to extend the contract of VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. The new contract will extend the President’s tenure through the year 2029 by adding five additional years to his current agreement with the University. Dr. Abdullah was named among the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders in 2018 by the HBCU Campaign Fund.

“President Abdullah has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to lead and has provided an exceptional and clear vision for Virginia State University,” said Board Rector Valerie K. Brown. “The University has experienced significant academic growth and prestige under his leadership. We are confident that he will continue to lead Virginia State University on a path to greater.”

Dr. Abdullah began his VSU career in February 2016 with an unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence. As the new President, he outlined his core beliefs that became the foundation of his work for VSU: beliefs in God, family, the transformative nature of education, and in Virginia State University. With that foundation in mind, President Abdullah and his new administration began planning the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: Preeminence with Purpose, to chart the university’s path to continued growth and excellence. His plan set forth for the next chapter for VSU which focused on six areas: Student Opportunity and Access, Academic Excellence, The Holistic Experience for Students, Enhancing the Land Grant Mission of the University, Advancing the VSU Brand and Financial/Operational Effectiveness.

Under President Abdullah’s leadership and guidance, VSU experienced the single largest year-to-year increase in enrollment in more than a decade and the highest retention rate in more than twenty years. The University also increased the 4-year graduation rate to the highest recorded rate in the University’s history. Virginia State University has also placed in U.S. News and World Report’s top 30 in the Best Overall HBCUs for 2022, ranked in the top 30% in the “Performers on Social Mobility” list, Top 10 in Student Retention Programs at HBCUs, and top 15% of Bang-for-your-Buck institutions in the Southeast Region of the United States. The University has extended its academic offerings with newly added undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. In addition, the University now also offers several fully online programs/degrees and has implemented a new free tuition program for students from area high schools.

Furthermore, under the leadership of President Abdullah, in 2018, Virginia State University successfully completed its reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The University was reaffirmed for 10 years with no recommendations. The President has also overseen the launch of several major initiatives since taking office. These include the establishments of the John Mercer Langston Institute for African American Political Leadership for assess, develop and empower African American leaders; the establishment of The Center for Policing Leadership and Social Justice to address the critical divide between law enforcement and communities of color; and the establishment of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging on campus to promote good relations toward and support those who may be subject of discrimination.

“Serving in this capacity at Virginia State University has been the highlight of my academic career. I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of an education,” said Abdullah. “I work with the amazing faculty and staff who show an unwavering commitment to excellence in education. I extend my gratitude to the VSU Board of Visitors for their vote of confidence and for giving me the opportunity to continue the GREATER work at Virginia State University through the reminder of this decade.”

During his tenure, President Abdullah has become a national leader-fighting on behalf of the transformative work of Virginia State University and all HBCUs. He was selected to serve on the U.S. President’s Board of Advisors (PBA) on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition, he served as Chair of the Council of 1890s Presidents for Association of Public Land-Grant University (APLU); Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; and Vice Chair of the Council of Presidents for Virginia Institutions of Higher Education; and member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


FRANKFORT, KY – Today, the Kentucky State University Board of Regents named a new interim president. Dr. Ronald A. Johnson will serve the university in the interim capacity and will begin his appointment on July 1, 2022. Clara Stamps, who was previously KSU’s senior vice president for Brand Identity and University Relations, served as acting president since July 2021.

Dr. Ronald A. Johnson

Johnson is the former president of Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where he led the development and implementation of transformational academic, financial, competitive positioning, organizational, and operating strategies that resulted in significant improvements in enrollment, first-time undergraduate student retention, six-year graduation rates, and key financial performance indicators. He is an innovator in curriculum development and led curricular and pedagogical reform at CAU including the introduction of micro credentials, technology enhanced learning, and market driven academic programs and program innovation. He led the successful development of a new strategic plan for CAU and the reaffirmation of its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation.

The Board voted on the interim president at a special-called meeting Monday, June 27. Additional information regarding his appointment will be forthcoming.

“Dr. Johnson has a distinguished record in higher education administration especially at HBCUs,” said Dr. Gerald Patton, Chair of Kentucky State University Board of Regents. “We, the Board of Regents are elated at his appointment and look forward to working with him as he provides institutional leadership at Kentucky State University at this critical time.”

This appointment comes after Dr. M. Christopher Brown II resigned from the presidential role in July 2021, effective immediately. Brown was named the 18th president of Kentucky State in 2017, after serving in leadership roles at leading HBCUs in Louisiana and Mississippi.

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

Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., Chicago State University President.

CHICAGO, IL – The Board of Trustees of Chicago State University has announced a 4-year contract extension for President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq., who has held the position since July 1, 2018. President Scott is the 12th Permanent President of the University.

“The Board of Trustees’ unanimous support for this contract extension is a vote of full confidence in President Z Scott as the right person to lead CSU now and for the foreseeable future,” said Andre Zopp, Chair of the Trustees. “During the last four years, President Scott has exceeded the Board’s expectation. Particularly she has moved the university forward while navigating the unprecedented challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Zopp underscored that Scott has driven forward advancement in areas critical to the success of the university. Key accomplishments include creating a board-approved Strategic Plan reflecting university-wide input, launching a student success strategy that increased persistence and graduation rates, implementing a new plan for student recruitment, and positioning CSU as a statewide and national leader in advancing equity in higher education. Additionally, under President Scott’s leadership, CSU has spearheaded building a national coalition of U.S. Department of Education-designated Predominantly Black Institutions. Scott also oversaw the redevelopment of the university’s foundation and its Board of Directors. Zopp concluded, “There is a renewed level of energy on campus, and a renewed focus on Chicago State University as the focal point for the engagement of corporate partners and important community initiatives.”

“I commend CSU Trustees Chair Andrea Zopp and the Board of Trustees for their attentiveness in choosing an individual with a wealth of leadership experience and determination to be the right person to lead CSU brighter each day,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., HCF Founder, President & CEO. “Madam President Z Scott has done more than exceptionally well; she has done an amazing job in her role at CSU. Scott has exceeded above and beyond, and as I survey her leadership work, she has moved the university with the confidence of being Illinois’ premier Predominantly Black Institution. She is most definitely a ‘Most Dominant leader’.'”

In addition to her role as President, Scott is on the Board of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Shedd Aquarium, Commonwealth Eddison, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. During her time as President, Scott has provided expertise to local and statewide leaders including by serving as Co-Chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Strategic Plan Committee and the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. Prior to taking the helm of CSU, Scott was an equity partner in a national law firm with an international practice. Her Career further includes work as federal criminal prosecutor in the position of Chief of General Crimes and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and the first Illinois Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Governor and its Public Universities.

In 2020, President Scott was the first president representing a Predominantly Black Institution to be named among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders. A award recognition that recognizes leaders for proving their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher ed sector and the daily needs of an HBCU or MSI.

Scott’s initial contract expires on June 30, 2022. Her new contract will be effective July 1, 2022.

About Chicago State University
Chicago State University (CSU) founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. CSU is committed ti equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. For more information, visit


Dr. Helene Gayle, MD, Globally Recognized Public Health Leader

ATLANTA, GA – Last month, the Spelman College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Helene Gayle, MD as its 11th president. Spelman College has a long, proud history of excellence and global leadership in the education of women of African descent and is committed to addressing racial inequities in education ensuring equitable opportunities for students of all economic backgrounds. Dr. Gayle’s presidency will begin on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Gayle currently serves as president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. Under her leadership, the Trust grew it assets from roughly $2.8B to $4.7B and adopted a strategic plan aimed at closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. A public health leader and humanitarian, Dr. Gayle spent nearly a decade as president and CEO of Atlanta-based CARE, one of the largest international humanitarian organizations, with approximately 11,000 staff and poverty fighting programs that reached 82 million people in 2010 in 87 countries. Under Dr. Gayle’s leadership, CARA reinforced its commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to communities living in poverty.

“Our success for more than a century and a half has been built by an engaged student body and alumnae, committed faculty and staff, and a history of exemplary presidents,” said Rosalind G. Brewer, Board Chair of Spelman College. “I’m excited about Dr. Gayle’s appointment and confident that her demonstrated ability to address complex issues in communities of color many of which involve the strength of Black females and her success factors, coupled with her commitment to equity, will further build on Spelman’s legacy and propel the College into the future.”

In months-long search, the Presidential Search Committee sought a leader who embodies the Spelman mission of academic excellence and global leadership, and whose experience and expertise would build on the College’s momentum in key areas, including affordability, entrepreneurship and innovation, and the Arts. In considering the Search Committee’s recommendation, the Board of Trustees considered key priorities for Spelman’s 11th president, some of which included increasing or improving the student experience, such as safety and housing, building on Spelman’s fiscal strength and maintaining the college’s attraction to diverse and talented students, faculty and staff.

“I am honored and look forward to being a part of a long, proud legacy committed to the education of women of African descent. This is a moment where HBCU are once again being recognized for the importance that they bring to every sector of this country,” said Dr. Gayle. “Spelman has a strong history of changing lives for people who will change lives. The idea of giving back to generations of students through cutting-edge academic programs and facilities, increasing college affordability, raising financial aid support and increasing the endowment, and developing new career pathways and opportunities is what invigorates and excites me about the new role.”

As Spelman’s 11th president, Dr. Gayle will assume the presidency at a time when the college is thriving. Spelman was named U.S. News and World Report’s #1 Historically Black College or University for 15 years in a row in 2022, the Nation Science Foundation’s #1 baccalaureate institution of Black or African American science and engineering doctorate recipients and is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars.

I am so proud to learn of the appointment of Dr. Helene Gayle as the 11th president of Spelman College. The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) welcomes you to leadership with open arms, and we are confident with the wealth of experience you have that you will lead Spelman with great courage,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., HCF’s Founder, President & CEO.

Dr. Gayle holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Psychology from Barnard College-Columbia University, a M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. She serves on several public and nonprofit boards, including The Coco-Cola Company; Organon & Co, a women’s health care company; Palo Alto Network, a cybersecurity company; and the Brookings Institution. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, GA, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with, Johns Hopkins through the Vivian Thomas Scholars, IBM HBCU Center for Quantum Computing, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


Dr. Dennis Shields

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named Dr. Dennis Shields has the next president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University and A&M College during it’s meeting on February 18. Shields, the current chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville, will succeed President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton, who announced his retirement in 2021. Belton’s contract ends on June 30.

“I think the selection of Dennis Shields represents our belief that he’s the best fit to lead the University following Dr. Belton,” said Edwin Shorty, chairman of the Southern University System Board. “We felt that Mr. Shields comes with the right mix of qualities to further advance the University.”

Shields, who has been the chancellor for the University of Wisconsin Platteville since 2010, has spent most of his career advocating for better access to higher education – especially those who have been historically underrepresented. Under Shields’ leadership, the campus has had tremendous growth. Enrollment grew nearly 11 percent from 2010 to fall 2016. Most recently, he led successful efforts to gain legislative and gubernatorial approval to build a new $55 million state-of-the-art engineering facility on campus as well as a $23.7 million renovation project for one of the liberal arts buildings on campus. Those two projects, plus a $15.3 million Williams Fieldhouse expansion, will give the university more than $93 million in upcoming growth and improvements. Additionally, he led the construction of two residence halls, one with a dinning facility.

“I am humbled and honored by your confidence in me to take on this role at this wonderful institution of higher education,” said Shields to the Southern University Board via live stream video during the meeting. “I had a remarkable and inspiring visit (to campus) and was able to spend some time with the students. I take it as a great responsibility to help continue to rise of the Southern University System.”

Prior to his current position in Wisconsin, Shields held administrative positions in admissions at the University of Iowa College of Law, University of Michigan Law School and Duke University School of Law. He has also held a deanship and a teaching position at Phoenix School of Law and act as the vice president for student affairs at The City College of New York.

A champion of diversity and access, Shields served as the first chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the National Collegiate Athletics Association for Division lll. With Shields at the helm, the University of Wisconsin Platteville, has focused more on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Initiatives have successfully doubled the number of students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds over the course of the past decade.

Shields, an Iowa native, earned a bachelors degree in business administration from Graceland College in 1977, and a juris doctoral from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1982.

Shields will officially begin his term once a final contract is approved by the Southern University Board.

About Southern University and A&M College
Southern University and A&M College, an Historically Black, 1890 land-grant institution, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is to provide a student-focused teaching and learning environment that creates global leadership opportunities for a diverse student population where teaching, research, service, scholarly and creative expectations for students and faculty are achieved through the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs offered at the institution via different instructional modalities and via public service. For more information, visit


Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University.

CHICAGO, IL – ComEd recently announced the appointment of Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, president of Chicago State University, to its board as independent directors. Scott joins Smita Shah, CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc., 2022 appointment, and Ricardo “Ric” Estrada, president & CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, named to the board in November 2021.

“Z and Smita are distinguished business and civic leaders from our community and have proven track records of innovation and leadership experience. We are pleased to welcome them to the ComEd board,” said Gil Quiniones, ComEd CEO. “Their respective expertise, combined with their shared passion for closing the opportunity gap for women and minorities, will serve the company well as we continue to work to create an equitable clean energy future for all communities.”

As president of Chicago State University, Scott has overseen the development and advancement of its strategic plan for 2020 to 2025 to ensure the institution leads with the mission of transforming students’ lives through innovation and excellence in ethical leadership.

Scott is also a well-known advocate for equity in higher education. She formed and co-chairs the Equity Working Group, a body of leaders from across the education, public, private, philanthropic, and community development sectors to address Black students access and success in Illinois higher education.

“I’m honored to join ComEd’s board of directors and advance its values of integrity, forward thinking, openness to ideas and principled decision-making,” said Scott. “I’m excited to support ComEd’s important work to build a cleaner and brighter future for communities across Chicagoland and northern Illinois.”

Scott serves on the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago board of directors where she also sits on the board’s Audit and Compliance and the Nominating and Governance Committee. In addition, she serves on the board of trustees for the John H. Shedd Aquarium and the United States Coast Guard Academy. Scott is also a member of The Chicago Network where she chairs the Government Committee.

Scott holds a J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

About ComEd
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information, visit


Dr. Jenkins is second longest tenured leader in Livingstone College’s history

Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., second longest tenured president of Livingstone College.

SALIRBURY, NC – Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., announced to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9 that he will retire from his role on July 1, 2022, after 16 years of service.

Jenkins was appointed to lead the historically black college in February 2006. He is the second longest tenured president in the history of the school.

Prior to Livingstone, Jenkins served as president of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., where a gymnasium there bears his name. Before that, he made history by becoming the first alumnus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) to serve as chancellor, after earning both his master’s and doctorate degrees in biology from Purdue University. A science building at ECSU is named in his honor.

The Livingstone Board of Trustees reluctantly accepted Jenkins letter and recognized his constructive feats as president. New board chairman Bishop Kenneth Monroe said that Jenkins will remain in role as president until a successor is appointed, and trustees and the college prepare for a series of events commemorating his tenure.

“Having labored 38 years as a college and university president has been exhilarating and exhausting,” said Jenkins. “I am grateful for the great support from the Livingstone College Board of Trustees, our alumni, the people and leaders of the City of Salisbury and Rowan County, donors and friends of the college. There is a strong sense of melancholy in the realization that a long career is ending, yet to quote Kenny Rogers, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them – and I believe that time has come. The city has been good to me and my family as evidenced by the kind of collaborative support that has been demonstrated over these past 16 years.

Rev. Dr. Nilous M. Avery, II talks with Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins as they process to the Founder’s Day program at Varick Auditorium. Thursday, February 11, 2016, in Salisbury, N.C. / JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST

During his tenure, Livingstone has undergone significant progress. At his hiring, Jenkins challenged the Board of Trustees to use his experiences to change the college approach to educating students often troubled by socio-economic difficulties, thus creating the Holistic College model.

Under Jenkins’ leadership, the campus saw its first major construction in more than 40 years in that of Honor Hall, apartment-style united for new students with high grade-point averages.

He is credited with saving the college from closure from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission Colleges (SACSCOC). Today, the college boasts reaffirmation of accreditation for the next 10 years without a single recommendation.

jenkins also raised the net asset value of the college by $15 million; acquired a former Holiday Inn to established the hospitality management and culinary arts program; and reactivated the college’s 40 acres of land to grow food and supply culinary arts.

College enrollment grew 35 percent to 1,400 students, the largest in school history (pre-COVID), resulting in Livingstone purchasing College Park Apartments, a four-building complex that houses 100 students.

“Livingstone College was its lowest ebb when we began our search for a new president in 2006,” said Bishop George W.C. Walker, former chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Jenkins became the best candidate in the search process and ultimately the president. He provided the greatest tenure of a president in the history of the college. Dr. Jenkins phenomenally lifted the college to extraordinary heights. Without question, Livingstone College is in a much better place because of his presidency.”

Jenkins was named one of ‘The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021′ by the HBCU Campaign Fund, citing the past accomplishments as president of Edward Water College, vice chancellor and chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, and currently at Livingstone College.

Jenkins’ retirement announcement comes the same week Livingstone held a ribbon cutting on a new state-of-the-art science annex, and on the heels of several major developments at the college including new upgrades to Alumni Memorial Stadium, construction of an esports arena; and application for Livingstone to apply for Level lll status to award graduate degrees and be renamed Livingstone University.

Additionally, under Jenkins’ leadership, Livingstone started a Study Abroad Student Exchange Program with students studying and living in five foreign countries; became a gated campus with decorate wrought iron fencing; relocated the Blue Bear mascot to the front lawn and painted it blue, and established a campus radio station, WLJZ 107.1M.

“Emphasis is always placed on leadership – the pilot – but we cannot forget the ground crew,” Jenkins recently told faculty and staff at opening session. “The pilot is important, but the work is executed by the ground crew. Your work is critical to our success.”

The goal, he said, was to create an environment where young men and women would not only obtain a degree, but have the capacity to command their rightful place in the global society, Jenkins said.

“I still feel this is why God has had his hand on this institution,” he said. “We serve the underserved, but that does not mean they are not deserving. They may be disadvantaged, but certainly not disregard. I’m glad my life work has been at an HBCU.”

About Livingstone College
Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit