LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA – The Lincoln University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new 5-year employment contract for President Brenda A. Allen.

Chairlady Theresa R. Braswell ’84 (left) and President Brenda A. Allen sign the president’s new 5-year employment contract at the Board of Trustees meeting on September 19, 2020.

“I am committed to united leadership and collaboration with Dr. Allen,” said Theresa R. Braswell, Board Chairlady (’84). “The board is eager to work with Dr. Allen to advance the legacy and support the mission of the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College & University.”

“The board is pleased with the direction of Lincoln and credits the recent successes of the University to Dr. Allen’s leadership and the team she has assembled. In the past three years, with her vision, leadership, and tireless devotion, the Lincoln community has experienced renewed energy.”

Since Allen became the 14th president in 2017, she has focused the University’s resources on student success by reinvesting in Lincoln’s roots as a world-class liberal arts institution.

“I am confident that the administration and the board are more aligned in our vision for the future because of discussions during the past three months,” said Allen. “By working together with the board, we will lead this institution through this unprecedented time and emerge more resilient and ready for the next 167 years. We have developed a clear strategy for reimagine the legacy of Lincoln. Now let’s keep moving forward.”

Allen led a concerted, multifaceted effort to build upon the University’s strong legacy of producing world leaders, its global engagement, and its commitment to social justice. She implemented a new, comprehensive strategic plan, Reimaging the Legacy: Learn.Liberate.Lead., and completed a comprehensive, University-wide restructuring to implement the strategic plan. Her leadership during a self-study that culminated in the 10-year reaccreditation of the University by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education. For two straight years, the University has been ranked as a top 20 HBCU by U.S. News & World Report.


About Lincoln University
Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), educates and empowers students to lead their communities and change the world. Lincoln offers a rigorous liberal arts educations to a diverse student body of approximately 2,200 men and women in more than 35 undergraduate and graduate programs.for more information, visit

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS – President Ivy R. Taylor announces new additions to the Rust College executive team.

Mrs. Tiffani Perry will serve as Chief of Staff. Tiffani joins Rust College from the largest public-school district in the state of Tennessee, Shelby County Schools, where she served as Public Information Officer. She has a great deal of expertise in marketing, communications, and operations, including work with the American Heart Association, DaVita Rx, and Hilton Hotels. Tiffani is a member of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated.

Dr. Dartell Treadwell will serve as Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Treadwell most recently served as Associate Dean in the College of Health Sciences at Alabama State University. He is trained and licensed as physical therapist, served as member of the Nashville Metro Police Department and in the United State Marines. Dr. Treadwell is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.

“We are excited to welcome Mrs. Perry and Dr. Treadwell to the Bearcat Family. Their skills will allow us to strengthen our internal operations as a student-centered institution and better communicate with the public about the success of Rust College and our students,” said Dr. Ivy Taylor, President of Rust College.

Mrs. Perry and Dr. Treadwell will begin their new roles immediately and will aide Dr. Tayler and the rest of the executive team in strategic planning intended to propel Rust College to greater heights.


About Rust College

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

Located in Holly Springs, MS, Rust College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate and baccalaureate degrees.For more information, visit

RICHMOND, VA – Terrell Strayhorn, Ph.D., was promoted to provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond. He is a tenured professor in the Evelyn Reid Syphax School of education and director of the Center of the Study of HBCUs at the University. Strayhorn joined the faculty at Virginia Union earlier this year.

Previously, Strayhorn served as vice president of academic and student affairs at LeMoyne Owen college in Memphis. Before that, he served on the administration and faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Ohio State University. When he was promoted to full professor in the department of educational studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University in 2014, he was the youngest full professor on the Ohio State campus.

Strayhorn is author of College of Students’ Sense of Belonging (Routledge, 2019) and has contributed scholarship to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

Strayhorn is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He holds a master’s degree from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and an educational doctorate from Virginia Tech.


Dr. Monique L. Akassi named Assistant to the President and Tenured Professor of English.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College is pleased to announce that Dr. Monique L. Akassi has joined the College as assistant to the president and a tenured professor of English. Dr. Akassi is an award-winning, transformative servant leader and manager in higher education with over a decade of experience in academic and student affairs.

She is an accomplished researcher, administrator, and author who previously served as associate provost for faculty at Edward Waters College. During her tenure at Edward Waters, there was a substantive increase in student and faculty publications, development workshops, research presentations and grant proposal submissions. Two inaugural in-house, peer-reviewed journals for students and faculty were produced; a grant of $100,000 for the institutions forthcoming Honors College was secured; the inaugural HBCU Undergraduate Research Conference was presented; and the inaugural Student and Faculty Research Lecture Series featuring cutting-edge student, faculty and staff research was launched.

Dr. Akassi’s vast array of talents and areas of expertise include curriculum design, editing, digital literacy and assessment. She is the author and editor of over 22 publications, including the groundbreaking book W.E.B. Du Bois and the Africana Rhetoric Dealienation (Cambridge Scholars, 2018), which is the first book of scholarship in collaboration with a W.E.B. Du Bois’ family member (his great-grandson, Arthur McFarlane II).

She earned her Ph.D. In English Composition and Rhetoric with minors in Literary Criticism Theory and African American Literature from Morgan State University; an M.A. in English Composition and Rhetoric from Wright State University, and a B.A. in English & Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati. She has post doctorate certificates in Management Development and Women in Education Leadership from Harvard University.

Dr. Akassi is the founding president of the Jacksonville, Florida Chapter Interest Group for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and is the founder and president of African Critical Composition and Rhetoric Association (ACCRA).


About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit

Dr. Melvin Douglass

CONCORD, NC – The Barber-Scotia College Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Dr. Melvin Douglass as the next President of the College. Dr. Douglass brings to the College more than 25 years of combined senior level administrative experience in academia, research, policy, advocacy, government service, and nonprofit sector. Dr. Douglas’ talents and experiences have allowed him to become adept at overseeing operational and fiscal responsibilities that speak to ensuring optimal organizational performances and actualizing revenue enhancements.

A native of Harlem, New York, he has earned his degrees from Vincennes University, Tuskegee University, Morgan State University, New York University, Columbia University and Harvard University. Dr. Douglass did post-doctoral studies at Clare College, Cambridge University, England, and the Goethe-Institute, Germany. He was also selected as a Japan Fulbright Memorial Scholar.

Dr. Douglass is an ordained Baptist minister, who strongly embraces the Black Churches’ long tradition of liberation theology and racial reconciliation that was notably embodied in the movement led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Douglass is frequently called upon to address civic, ecumenical, educational, fraternal and professional organizations. His appointment becomes effective immediately.

According to a press release from the College, the College will host a “meet and greet” reception for Dr. Douglass in the near future so the community, alumni, and friends of the College can join as they welcome Dr. Douglass to Barber-Scotia College.

For more information, you may email BSC Board of Trustees Chairwoman, Ms. Karen Soares at

Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Faculty Innovation and Enhancement (FIE)

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The American Council on Education (ACE) announced Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Faculty Innovation and Enhancement (FIE) at Prairie View A&M University, as an ACE Fellow for its 2019-2020 program. Thirty-nine Fellows were selected to begin work this fall following nominations by senior administration at each of their institutions and a rigorous application process.

“The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” said Ted Mitchell, ACE President. “Each year I am impressed by how many former Fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exiting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these Fellow end up?’

The ACE program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visit to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at other higher education institutions to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year. During placements, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institutions, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concerns for their home institutions and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement. After the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institutions with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.

“The ACE Fellows program is essential because it has a stellar track record of preparing leaders to take the helm of colleges and universities across the United States. The process of becoming a Fellow is rigorous, and it is designed to identify potential leaders who have been acknowledge for their diligent efforts to make constructive contributions to improve the quality of higher education in the United State as the world continues to become more interconnected globally than ever before. Colleges and Universities must be open to the richness of diverse leadership, and the ACE Fellows program creates a network of talented scholars and leaders who will be responsible for the ever-present transformations that will require ethical, responsible, creative, well-informed, and principled leaders,” said Wilson.

Wilson joined the ranks of the Academic Affairs Division of PVAMU in September of 2009 as Director of the Honors Program. As a result of nurturing high academic expectations and performers, 98-percent of the Honors students completed their degree in four years and entered top-ranked medical, law and graduate schools. Wilson also established a Confucius Institute on the PVAMU campus in 2014 and launched a partnership with Xi’an International Studies University (XISU) in Xi’an China. Furthermore, he sent PVAMU students to Ghana, South Africa, China, Korea, Taiwan, Costa Rica, France, and Italy.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

For more information about the ACE Fellows Program, click here.

PINE BLUFF, AR – Lifelong educator and chancellor emeritus Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), to be inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. While at UAPB, she developed the Honors College and served as Dean. At the request of students, it was renamed in her honored. Her contributions to the community, education, and civic organizations have impacted countless individuals in Arkansas and beyond.

She was born in Magnolia, Arkansas and raised by her grandmother after her mother’s death. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school. She attended Arkansas AM&N College, later renamed to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and went on to earn her master’s degree in English at Atlanta University. She became the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in English at Oklahoma State University.

She took a teaching positions in various universities, but returned to her alma mater as a member of the English department. She eventually made her way into the administration, serving as interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and later, interim chancellor, and finally Interim Chair of the Department of English, Theater and Mass Communications. She became the first woman to serve as chancellor of a publicly supported, four-year institution of higher education in Arkansas.

She was part of a group that founded the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, which was formed out of the public school’s String Music Program. Blakely had established an instrument rental program, which encouraged students to participate in the school orchestra class with the end goal of having students who could play with a professional orchestra.

Blakley has been also named one of Arkansas “Top 100 Women” three times; was elected president of the National Association of African-American Honors Programs, and received the NAACP Education Award. She has also served on the boards of several community and civic organizations, including the Arkansas Schools for the Blind and Deaf, Arkansas Humanities Council, United Way, Arkansas Community Foundation Board, the Susan G. Komen Board, and the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Advisory Board.

Blakley will be included into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame on Thursday, August 30, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. To purchase tickets, click here.


The goal of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame (AWHF) is to honor, in perpetuity, women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas in their community or the state.   The AWHF inducts contemporary (living) or historical (deceased) women who have been born in and achieved prominence within the state, or been a resident of Arkansas for an extended period after achieving prominence here or elsewhere and have:

  • Made significant and enduring contributions to their field of endeavor, professional or otherwise
  • Impacted the social, cultural, economic or political well-being of the community, state or nation
  • Elevated the status of women and positively impacted women and girls
  • Helped open new frontiers for women and for society in general
  • Inspired others by their example

The legacy of these great women should be shared and honored. The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of accomplishments and recognizing women across the state of Arkansas. It also provides women encouragement and inspiration from stories shared by these great women. For more information, visit