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 www.subr.edu.

###

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 ComEd.com.

###

Dr. Kemba Chambers, President of H. Councill Trenholm State Community College.

MONTGOMERY, AL – On Wednesday, Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker announced the appointment of Dr. Kemba Chambers as President of H. Councill Trenholm State Community College. Chambers is the first female to serve in this capacity at the college.

Chambers has 25 years of higher education experience and currently serves as Interim President at Trenholm. She previously served as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning and Chief Instructional Officer at the Alabama Community College System, and Executive Vice President and Vice President of Instructional Services at Trenholm State. Chambers has served in various leadership roles at four of Alabama’s community colleges including serving as Interim President at Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette and J.D. Drake State Community and Technical College in Huntsville. She also served at Calhoun Community College in Decatur and Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City.

“The future of Trenholm State is bright with Dr. Chambers at the helm,” Baker said. “Her familiarity with the college combined with her vision and commitment to creating opportunity for students and the greater community, makes her the ideal leader for Trenholm State.”

Chambers earned an Associate of Arts degree from Chattahoochee Valley Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from Columbus State University. She earned a Master of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from Troy University, an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from Troy University, and a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration from Auburn University.

“Opportunities abound at Trenholm State and it’s an honor to serve as President at the college at such an exciting time,” said Chambers. “I look forward to working alongside not only our outstanding faculty, staff, and students at Trenholm but with community leaders across the River Region to continue to provide opportunities for a better future through education and workforce training.”

Dr. Chambers’ tenure as President at H. Councill Trenholm State Community College will begin on December 15, 2021.

About H. Councill Trenholm State Community College
H. Councill Trenholm State Community College is a comprehensive two-year community college located in Montgomery, Alabama. The College provides technical certificate and degree programs; adult learning opportunities; civic, social, cultural and personal development opportunities; business and industry training opportunities; and support of economic development for the central Alabama region. The College is part of the Alabama Community College System, a statewide system of postsecondary colleges governed by the Alabama Board of Education. For more information, visit www.trenholmstate.edu.

FAIRFIELD, Ala. – The Miles College Board of Trustees voted to extend the contract of President Bobbie Knight to run through May 2024.

Trustees conducted President Knight’s performance review prior to the October 2021 board meeting and in that meeting voted to extend her contact an additional two years, Knight began her tenure at Miles College in August of 2019 as Interim President before being voted permanent on March 5, 2020.

During Knight’s tenure as president, the College has experienced two consecutive years of enrollment increases. The most recent addition brought the College’s total enrollment above 1,500 for the first time since 2017. Also, under President Knight’s leadership, the College has had an increase of over 500% in private gifts and more than 1100% in public and foundation grants. The College also increased its endowment to an all time high and has been rated one of the top 10 most fiscally stable HBCUs in the nation.

“Miles is fortunate to have President Knight at this critical time. Her strategic approach to goal-setting, her extensive corporate experience, and her warm and engaging personality are assets that have already benefited the College,” said Trustee Board Chair, Bishop Teresa Jefferson Snorton. “We look forward to new initiatives that she will launch to assure Miles College students receive a quality education and college experience.”

“I am grateful that the Board of Trustees is allowing me to reimagine Miles College in the years to come,” Knight said. “I also appreciate the trust they have conferred upon me, and I look forward to maintaining my commitment to Miles College and her students.”

A formal inauguration is being planned for Spring 2022. The pandemic interrupted original plans in 2020. More details will be available at a later date.

About Miles College
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution (the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) saw education leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degrees, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham, Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

###

Alabama A&M University’s 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., has been named one of the first HCF Trailblazers of Higher Education honorees among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 Award recipients and fifth class.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is gearing up to reveal its annual The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award recipients and fifth class. The organization has announced that among the recipients is Alabama A&M University’s 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., who will retire after twelve years of leadership at the end of December 2021. Dr. Hugine will be honored as one of the first HCF Trailblazers of Higher Education recipients among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 for his outstanding dedication to the space of higher education and his long record of accomplishments.

“A true trailblazer at heart and an outstanding leader beyond, we salute Dr. Hugine on a job well done for his dedication to the space of higher education. Holding twelve years of leadership at AAMU and more years in higher education, Dr. Hugine has proven to other leaders in the space that they can do it too,” said HBCU Campaign Fund’s Founder, President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson, Jr. “HCF is delighted to honor such a legendary individual as Dr. Hugine, and we commend him for his contributions. When consulting this year’s list of leaders, there was no other to consider honoring but Dr. Hugine, and we wish him the best on his retirement.”

Alabama A&M University 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr. (Photo courtesy of AL.com)

Prior to Dr. Hugine’s appointment to AAMU, he served as President of South Carolina State University. Other positions held included Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; Director of Special Services Program; Director of University Year for Action Program-a service-learning program; Research Fellow; Assistant and Director of Institutional Self-Study; Professor of Mathematics; and high school mathematics teacher. He has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his leadership in education and adept administrative skills.

Since his appointment at AAMU, the University’s accreditation with SACSCOC has been reaffirmed; the financial status of the university has been strengthened; the university signed a $96 million dollar financing agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the largest in the Department history, which was used to refinance existing debt and construct a new 580-bed student residence hall; enrollment has increased by 25.83% since Fall 2012 with Fall 2018 enrollment being 6,108, the Fall 2018 freshman Class of 1,521 is the highest in the University’s history, ten(10) new academic degree programs have been added; private funding has increased by 68% percent and the university has successfully completed a $27.3 million capital campaign; and more than two dozen memoranda of understanding have been signed with companies, governmental agencies and universities including one with the prestigious Confucius Institute.

Dr. Hugine earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from South Carolina State University and a doctorate in Higher Education/Institutional Research from Michigan State University.

The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class is a national recognition that honors the outstanding work and leadership of chancellors and presidents of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions. The individuals are selected for their leadership that plays a prominent and influential role in shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals’ lives in the higher education space and the daily needs of what an HBCU and MSI contributes.

The organization will reveal the remaining list of honorees of chancellors and presidents that currently serve an HBCU or MSI who play a prominent and influential role in leadership and displace the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward as well as its second Trailblazer of Higher Education honoree in early January 2022.

About HBCU Campaign Fund
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 20212 and is a nonprofit 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.

About Alabama A&M University
Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public, comprehensive 1890 Land-Grant institution, committed to access and opportunity, and dedicated to intellectual inquiry. The application of Knowledge and excellence in teaching, research and service is responsive to the needs of a diverse student population and the social and economic needs of the state and region. The University offers contemporary baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral level degrees to prepare students for careers in the arts, sciences, business, engineering, education, agriculture and technology. As a center of excellence, the University is dedicated to providing a student-centered educational environment for the emergence of scholars, scientists, leaders and critical thinkers, who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global society. For more information, visit www.aamu.edu.

###

ST. LOUIS, MO – Dr. Corey Bradford, Sr. has announced that he is leaving Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) to pursue an opportunity at a research university, the HSSU Board of Regents thanks Dr. Bradford for his leadership. Bradford took over as president in May 2020, replacing Dr. Dwaun Warmack, who left to for an opportunity of president at Claflin University. Bradford’s inauguration ceremony, postponed by the pandemic, was held on April 9, 2021.

Dr. Corey Bradford, Sr.

The university has announced that Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, currently Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will serve as Interim President, effective June 1, 2021. Collins Smith has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience with an extensive background in administration and program development. She began her career in higher education at Harris-Stowe State University in 2010 as a project coordinator in the Office of Counseling Services. She has also served the institution as associate provost, assistant provost and as executive director of Center for Career Engagement.

Dr. Collins Smith is the co-principal investigator of a $5 million National Science Foundation grant to substantially strengthen STEM in the state of Missouri, the largest grant in the history of Harris-Stowe. She currently serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the nation’s largest regional accreditation body. She also served as the campus team lead for the following initiatives; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Re-Imagine First Year Project, the Strada Foundation Measuring College Value project, the Complete College America MSI Initiative, the Ascendium Project Success Initiative and the Gallup Alumni Survey Project.

Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith

Dr. Collins Smith serves as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Celebration Commission of Missouri and a member of the Downtown Advisory Board for Greater St. Louis, Inc. She served on both the Alumni Board of Directors and Alumni Foundation Board of the University of Central Missouri. She is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Dr. Collins Smith has received several leadership and service awards including the Equal Education Opportunity Group Pioneer Award, the NAACP Ben Hooks Community Leader award and the AKA Central Region’s Outstanding Educational Advancement Foundation Captain award. She is a 2019 Millennium Leadership Initiative Protégé, a St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow and a Higher Education Leadership Foundation Fellow.

Collins Smith earned a educational doctorate in higher education leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis. She holds a master of social work degree and a master of public health from Saint Louis University. She is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri, where she majored in social work.

Chair of the Board of Regents Ron Norwood commented that “Dr. Collins Smith has a proven record of outstanding leadership and will serve the University well.”

###

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

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

Dr. Mordecai Brownlee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

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

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

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

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

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

###

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

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

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