In 2021, the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) announced the creation of the Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders. An honor recognizing a current or retiring/retired president or chancellor serving an HBCU or MSI upholding decade-long value and contributions to higher education.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, 7th President of Stillman College.

Eight days after the death of Dr. Davis and the day (Oct. 22) that was proclaimed as Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Memorial Day in Pine Bluff. HCF President & CEO Demetrius Johnson, Jr. and the organization have unanimously announced retiring Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick as one of the 2023 honorees to receive the honor.

Dr. Warrick is the first woman to hold the position at the college and announced her retirement from the presidency in September 2022. She will step down from the role at the end of her current contract term on June 30, 2023.

Warrick was named the seventh president of Stillman College in April 2017 after four months as interim president. Upon her arrival to campus, she was tasked with stabilizing the institution’s finances and academic standing, as well as enhancing its donor relationships. The College saw a student enrollment increased from Fall 2016 to Fall 2019. In 2020, the SACSCOC accreditation was reaffirmed for another 10 years without any recommendations or further action.

In 2020, Dr. Warrick was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders by the HBCU Campaign Fund, recognizing her for tireless work executing fundraising strategies and the previous roles she served in higher education.

Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund.

“Dr. Warrick defines what a true trailblazer is, and identical to Chancellor Emeritus Davis, Dr. Warrick also upholds what a true giant exemplifies in the space of higher education. Dr. Warrick holds a significant part of the contributions that she has bestowed, and it is immeasurable,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund. “It is with great pleasure to recognize Dr. Warrick with such a great distinction as a Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education honoree. I am so proud of her, and we congratulate and wish her all the very best in her future endeavors.”

In 2012, Dr. Warrick was selected as Interim President at South Carolina State University. In 2014, she was appointed as Interim President of Grambling State University, where she brought stability to the institution in its crisis. Prior to, she was a Senior Fellow at Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and also served as President of the Society for Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences, based in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Warrick earned her bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Howard University; and completed the masters of science in public policy from the George Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in environmental science & public policy from George Mason University.

The award was named after the late University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., who passed away on October 15, 2022. The recipients awarded are evaluated on their drive to advance the mission to change and inspire others. The individual has prove their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of people life’s in the higher education space.

“Dr. Davis legacy has been inspirational and has impacted many lives throughout his career. Both Davis Sr. and Jr. were well-respected leaders, and I truly appreciate their contributions to our Dear Mother. The gifts of Dr. Davis will forever be a long-standing treasure of UAPB, and we will always cherish his warmhearted spirit. We will continue to live through his legacy, and his namesake of the Trailblazer of Higher Education Award will continue to carry on.” Johnson continued.

The Annual Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class is a national recognition ranking that was created by the HBCU Campaign Fund, a non-profit that advocates for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The recipients are honored for their prominent and influential role in leadership and displays the characteristics of the responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward.

The Class of 2023 is expected to be announced early January

About the HBCU Campaign Fund
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2012 and is a non-profit educational organization that remains a strong advocate for students and higher education. The mission of HCF is to support the significance and raise funds for scholarships, programs, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman College’s first female president announce that she will retire from the presidency at the end of her contact term on June 30, 2023, during a news conference held on campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The first woman to hold the president position at Stillman College, Dr. Cynthia Warrick, will retire from the presidency at the end of her current contact term on June 30, 2023, according to the College.

Warrick announced her retirement at a news conference held on campus on Thursday, September 8. Warrick said her time at Stillman has been incredibly rewarding and she’s excited for the future of the college.

“Stillman is a space place and Tuscaloosa is a great college town. I will cherish the outpouring of support from the local community, the state, and the alumni that has contributed to the success that we have achieved during my tenure,” said Warrick. “Stillman is now at a place where a new president can build on the solid foundation of teaching, research, and community service that we have established in the past five years.”

Warrick was named the seventh president of Stillman College in April 2017 after four months as interim president. Her tenure at Stillman has seen the college grow, diversify its course offerings, and enhance its academic reputation nationally. Since 2017, Stillman has added multiple programs to reshape its liberal arts profile and reflect growing trends in the workforce in the State of Alabama, such as business concentrations in data analytics, supply chain management, and cybersecurity, as well as new offerings in film and music industry. Since 2019, Stillman has been recognized each year as a “College of Distinction.”

In 2020, Warrick was named amongst the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders by the HBCU Campaign Fund, recognizing her for her work in the space of higher education, contributions, and achievements at Stillman College.

“I am lost for words but in tears of joy right now. What a remarkable leader that Stillman College was blessed with, Dr. Cynthia Warrick is more than incredible. I admire and applaud her for an exceptional job well done,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., HCF Founder, President & CEO. “Our organization was honored to recognize her work in higher education as a dominant leader in 2020. I have been following Dr. Warrick since her tenure as interim president at Grambling State University when HCF was smaller in name. It will be rough initially to not tie Stillman to Dr. Warrick as current president; furthermore, I am so proud of her; we congratulate and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Warrick has been a steadying presence and relentless force in critical areas for the college. Upon her arrival to campus, she was tasked with stabilizing the institution’s finances and academic standing, as well as enhancing its donor relationships. Her impact would be felt immediately – student enrollment increased 27% from Fall 2016 to Fall 2019, and the college had its largest incoming freshman class (231) since 2014. In 2020, Stillman’s SACSCOC accreditation was reaffirmed for another 10 years without any recommendations or further action.

Additionally, Warrick worked tirelessly to address the college’s debt, rallying presidents at more than 40 institutions with HBCU Capital Finance loans to work with policymakers and Congressional leadership, first for deferment, and in 2020, loan forgiveness, an effort that would result in Stillman eliminating $40 million from its book, making the college debt free.

Stillman’s business, government, and academic partnerships have also grown under Warrick’s leadership. During the past five year, Stillman grew grant funding and sponsored programs to more than $12.8 million dollars through the recruitment of research faculty and the development of MOUs with major research universities and community colleges, including the expansion of graduate school pathways with the existing 50-year partnership with the University of Alabama. Warrick also established summer research opportunities in biomedical sciences with Drexel University, the Salk Institute, and LaJolla Research Institute in Immunology. And, for the first time in its history, Stillman receives an annual appropriation from the State of Alabama Education Trust Fund.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, the first female president of Stillman College, who begun her tenure in 2017. Warrick announced that she will be retiring at the end of the academic year on June 30, 2023.

“Dr. Warrick has been a significant part of the existence of Stillman College – her contributions are immeasurable,” said Donald Comer, Sillman College Board of Trustees Chair. “The college has gone through some very rocky times, and she has been the anchor that has kept us on track. She has raised the brand of the institution and enhanced the college’s reputation.”

Stillman’s enchanced brand reputation is buoyed by a significant overhaul of its website, logs, watermarks, and digital footprint. Warrick has also strengthen Stillman’s historical connection to the Presbyterian Church USA and the West End Tuscaloosa community. She served on the board of UNCF, Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club & Foundation, the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Agency, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Girls Scouts of North Central Alabama, and the United Way of West Alabama, among others.

“I marvel at what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time with 70% of our students from Alabama,” said Warrick. “When I learned about Stillman graduates earned 36 doctorates between 2010 and 2020, making us number two for HBCU undergraduate institutions producing PhDs in the State of Alabama, it proves the value of the small HBCU contributing to the knowledge-based economy that is required today.”

Stillman’s Board of Trustees has initiated a national search for Warrick’s successor. The plans are to name a replacement for Warrick by the time she retires.

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