The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022






“You can’t lead where people are not willing to follow.”

 – Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr.

The dynamics of higher education in America today are driving the demand for a new set of skills and capabilities for tomorrow’s leaders. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) provide a high-quality education to low-income, first-generation, and academically underprepared students. Also, these institutions as such serves a diverse population while maintaining the role as the backbone of higher education and well underrepresented for more than a 150-year history.

As the Founder, President & CEO at the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF), a non-profit educational advocacy organization for private and public HBCUs and MSIs, leaderships plays a substantial role in the management of the day-to-day operations at an higher education institution. This fifth selected group of leaders has proven their responsibilities for 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 or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes academically.

The organization has identified ten chancellors and presidents currently serving an HBCU or MSI, who exemplify a prominent and influential role in leadership and model the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward.

We are thrilled to introduce the inaugural Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education Award  among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders this year. A new honor that will recognize a current or retiring/retired president or chancellor that serve(s) an HBCU or MSI and upholds decade-long value and contributions to the field of higher education. We are proud to honor retiring presidents Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., of Alabama A&M University, and Dr. William R. Harvey of Hampton University, as well as celebrate their retirements. Also, we are excited to tribute Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, with the dedication of his namesake to this award; even so, honor him as a recipient as well.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education Award recipients, and the distinguished fifth class of the HBCU Campaign Fund’s National Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022.








Demetrius Johnson, Jr.
Founder, President & CEO

Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr.

A native of Pine Bluff, Dr. Lawrence A Davis, Jr., received his formal education at the Arkansas AM&N Laboratory and Merrill schools. A true believer in education, Dr. Davis attended Arkansas AM&N (now UAPB), University of Arkansas, and completed his doctorate degree at Iowa State University. Originally a teacher of Mathematics and Physics, Dr. Davis worked across the United States, from the halls of Mississippi Valley State University to the halls of NASA, before returning to his hometown to become a professor at UAPB. In 1991, Davis was named Chancellor of the university by Dr. B. Alan Sugg, former President of the U of A System. A published researcher, receiver distinguished alum awards from UAPB, U of A-Fayetteville, and Iowa State, and an active community member, Dr. Davis made UAPB athletics one of his many platforms during his tenure with the institution, and made many strides in the advancement and promotion of the various athletic programs the university operates. During his tenure, the football stadium and adjoining field house were constructed and completed, as well as the baseball complex and the UAPB Soccer Field. He led the university through a period of academic growth and spearheaded the accreditation and reaccreditation of various academic programs throughout the university. He also led the construction of three new academic buildings in the center of campus, as well as the renovation and construction of on-campus housing. After 21 years of leading the university, Dr. Davis retired in 2012.


The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 Recipients

A. Zachary Faison, Jr., Ph.D.


Edward Waters University

A. Zachary Faison, Jr., Ph.D., took the helm of Edward Waters University (EWC), the State of Florida’s first independent institution of higher education and first Historically Black College or University (HBCU), in July 2018 post a unanimous vote by the University’s Board of Trustees making him the nation’s youngest HBCU President or Chancellor. Since that time President Faison has led in the development and implementation of an ambitious strategic plan and agenda for the institution, title Eminence 2025. Under the leadership of President Faison, the institution has undergone a dynamic and historic transition having recently in June 2021 been authorized by its accrediting body, (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Comission on College – SACSCOC) to move from a baccalaureate to master’s level degree-granting entity thereby ascending after 155 years from Edward Waters U (EWU) to Edward Waters University. Relatedly, in 2021 under President Faison’s leadership EWU was further approved to offer the institution’s first ever graduate degree program by SACSCOC, the Master of Business Administration (fully online MBA), while simultaneously achieving a successful SACSCOC fifth-year accreditation review, without recommendations, reaffirming EWU’s full accreditation through 2025.

Recently named by the Jacksonville Business Journal as a 2021 Ultimate CEO and by the Jacksonville Record & Observer as one of Jacksonville’s Six Top Newsmakers of 2020, President Faison with the support of a dynamically assembled team of dedicated academicians and administrators, has led EWU in achieving record high enrollment, extraordinary programmatic and academic profile advancement, and unprecedented fiscal fundraising, and resource development success. Notably, and despite the challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, for the second consecutive year EWU experienced phenomenal enrollment growth as the past fall (Fall 2021) overall enrollment at the newly named Edward Waters University (EWU) increased in a single year by a stunning 14.5% (18.5% over the past two year) welcoming the institutions highest number of new students on record and culminating in a final enrollment count of over 1100 students (1110) – the highest overall enrollment the institution has seen in nearly two decades. Equally noteworthy, under Dr. Faison’s leadership the institution eliminated its formerly existing multi-year multimillion dollar operating deficit and has now achieved consecutive fiscal year-end (FY20 and FY21) operating net cash surplus’s for the first time in over a decade.

Additionally, under President Faison’s leadership EWU earned SACSCOC approval to offer the University’s first ever fully online undergraduate degree program (i.e., the Bachelor of Business in Organizational Management); launched the A. Philip Randolph Institute for Race, Law, Social Justice and Economic Policy; established the Charles H. Pearce Summer Institute and Bridge Program, secured an innovate corporate partnership with Follett Higher Education group to provide six-figure philanthropic support to the university and furnish new Chromebook laptop computers to every new first-time in college full-time EWU student through the year 2025; and led the contractual renegotiation necessary for the City of Jacksonville to directly fund a $4.4 million-dollar renovation of the University’s largest student residence facility and the $4.3 million-dollar new construction of the University’s first ever on-campus athletic stadium both completed in 2021.

Further, President Faison also recently led EWU in earning NCAA Division II membership for its intercollegiate athletic program for the first-time in the institution history while rejoining the historic Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) after nearly a century long hiatus. In addition, under the leadership EWU concurrently added five new sports to the institution, including its first ever women’s soccer, men’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s indoor track programs as well as the return of the university’s women’s golf program in collaboration with THE PLAYERS Championship. The University’s rapidly ascending trajectory under President Faison’s leadership has been well chronicled as the institution has earned back-to-back-to-back recognition’s by the HBCU Campaign Fund as a Top 10 Smaller HBCU Rising for 2019, 2020, and 2021.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, President Faison’s career exploits include distinguished professional experiences as a higher education executive administrator, educator, and attorney. Prior to his Presidential appointment, he served as the General Counsel & Vice President of External Affairs at Tuskegee University; Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs at Virginia Union University; Special Assistant to the President for Legal & Legislative Affairs, Community Affairs, and Economic Development; Chief of Staff; and Vice President of Institution Advancement & Executive Director of the MVSU Foundation at Mississippi Valley State University.

As a scholar-educator, Dr. Faison has held professional appointments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in various academic disciplines including Political Science, Criminal Justice, and Business Administration. He is also a former state prosecutor having served as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting criminal felony drug cases in Georgia. President Faison graduated Magna Cum Laude from Albany State University (ASU) with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English. He later attended the University of Georgia School of Law (UGA) where he earned his Juris Doctorate (J.D.). He is a licensed member of the State Bar of Georgia and is admitted to practice before all of the state and federal bars of Georgia. President Faison also completed post-doctoral study as a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM) and was a Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Institute Fellow of the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU) & Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Additionally, he is a graduate of AASCU’s New President’s Academy and is a Gamma Cohort Fellow of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (HELF). He also holds the Certification in Fundraising Management (CFRM) designation from The Lily Fundraising School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.


Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.


Coppin State University

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D., became the eighth President of Coppin State University (CSU) on May 26, 2020. A respected higher education leader, he is an advocate committed to creating opportunities for all students, especially those from underrepresented communities.

He is a champion of public policy issues that foster meaningful dialogue  within the landscape of higher education. President Jenkins has delivered keynote addresses to audiences across the United States and internationally. His speeches, research, presentations, and publications have been focused on economic development, crisis management, enrollment and retention, diversity, leadership, African-American male initiatives, social justice, first-generation college students, funding higher education, mentoring, and high-risk college campus behavior such as alcohol consumption and sexual misconduct.

President Jenkins is leading the Coppin State University family with an unwavering commitment to student centeredness, excellence, transparency, and accountability. Through collaboration with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Baltimore community, President Jenkins is positioning Coppin State University to become a national leader in urban higher education that transforms the lives of students, from all backgrounds. Coppin State University is recognized, nationally, for its healthcare, business, psychology, criminal justice, teacher, education, social work, and STEM academic programs.

President Jenkins has been honored by several civic organizations and universities for his leadership on social change and community engagement. He has been invited to discuss important higher education issues on various media outlets, appearing on Maryland Public Television, Fox News, CBS News, The Jim Strawn Talk Show, HBCU’ish, Hoppy Kercheval – WV MetroNews, IHeart Radio, TEDCO Talks, WOLB, HBCU Digest, C-SPAN, The Box Podcast, NPR and the Roland Martin Show. President Jenkins has been inducted into several prestigious academic honor, business and leadership societies, including Alpha Kappa Psi; Phi Kappa Phi; Sigma Alpha Pi; Alpha Sigma Lambda; Omicorn Delta Kappa; Alpha Phi Sigma, Pi NU, and Order of Omega. The Baltimore Business Journal included him in their 2021 cohort of “Faces to Watch.”

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised between the nation’s capital and North Carolina, Jenkins is a United States Army veteran who began his path to the presidency as a first-generation college graduate of Fayetteville State University. He earned a master’s degree from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate from Virginia Tech. President Jenkins is the first graduate in the history of Virginia Tech’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) doctoral program to become a college or university president.


Marion Ross Fedrick, Ed.D.


Albany State University

Marion Ross Federick, Ph.D., was appointed as the 10th president of Albany State University on August 14, 2018, by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. She was appointed after serving as both the interim executive vice president and interim president for the University since October 2017. President Fedrick is an accomplished senior leader whose proven expertise spans over 30 years. Her professional work background includes: higher education administration, strategic planning, crisis management and strategic partnership management in both the private and public sectors.

Committed to the impact of academic development, Fedrick believes every student deserves access to an excellent and affordable education. Federick is a two-time graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in adult education, concentration in organizational development, and a master’s degree in public administration.

As president of Albany State University, Fedrick continues to apply her diverse experiences and commitment to drive initiatives that ignite excellence. Under her leadership, the institution has undertaken several critical initiatives that include a redesign of the institution’s academic colleges, approval of the University System of Georgia’s first nexus degrees, and the design and implementation of the university’s integrated student success model to include the creation of Albany State University Summer Success Institute.

The intersection of her vision, passion, and broad leadership capabilities have placed her in key leadership roles throughout her career. Serving as the USG vice chancellor of human resources, Fedrick has led strategic initiatives relating to effective university administration, leadership development and all human resources planning efforts at Clark Atlanta University, Emory University Hospitals, State of Georgia’s Office of State Personnel Administration, AT&T, and the former BellSouth Corporation.


James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D.

President and CEO

Meharry Medical College

James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., was born and raised in Camden, Arkansas. In 1975, he began undergraduate studies in Harvard University and was selected as the first African-American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas in 1978. He graduate from Harvard magna cum laude in chemistry in 1979. That fall, Dr. Hildreth enrolled at Oxford University in England, gradating with a Ph.D. in immunology in 1982. At Oxford he studied the biology of cytotoxic T cells with Professor Andrew McMichael and become an expert in monoclonal antibody technology and cell adhesion molecules.

He returned to the United States to attend Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, taking a one-year leave of absence from medical school for a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology from 1983 to 1984. In 1987 he obtained his M.D. from Johns Hopkins and joined the Hopkins faculty as assistant professor.

In 2002, Dr. Hildreth became the first African American in the 125-year history of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to earn full professorship with tenure in the basic sciences. In July 2005, Dr. Hildreth became director of the NIH-funded Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry Medical College.

Dr. Hildreth has received numerous award over his career for mentoring, leadership and his efforts related to diversity. In October 2008, he was honored for his contributions to medical science by election to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, the most presitigous biomedical and health policy advisory group in the U.S. In May of 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Hildreth has been inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. He currently serves on the Harvard University Board of Overseers.

In August of 2011, Dr. Hildreth became dean of the College of Biological Sciences at University of California, Davis. He was the first African American dean in the university which was founded in 1905. He was also appointed as a tenured professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

On July 1, 2015, Dr. Hildreth returned to Meharry Medical College to serve as the 12th president and chief executive officer of the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health sciences center.


David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D.

President and CEO

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D., has been presently serving since 2011 as the President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (CDU) and Science in the Watts-Willowbrook area of Los Angeles County, Dr. Carlisle is a published author in health policy, quality of care, medical education diversity and eliminating health disparities. A board-certified internal Medicine specialist, his clinical work has always revolved around caring for the underserved.

President Carlisle graduated from Wesleyan University, majoring in chemistry. He then earned his Medical Degree from Brown University, his Master of Public Health and his PhD in Health Services Research from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He completed a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program Fellowship at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1990.

Dr. Carlisle has been affiliated with the UCLA Department of Medicine for approximately thirty-one years, becoming a tenured Associate Professor in 1998. He is presently a Professor of Medicine and Public Health at CDU and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at UCLA.

President Carlisle served as Director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for eleven years (2000-2011) under Governor Gray Davis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Governor Jerry Brown. Under his leadership, OSHPD released its first-ever health disparities reports, increased scholarship and loan repayment opportunities for health providers committed to practice in underrepresented, under-resourced and underserved communities, and successfully administered hospital seismic safety as well as health facility loan insurance programs.

In 2007, Dr. Carlisle became a Senior Fellow at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and presently is also a member of the Advisory Council of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. In 2018, he was appointed as a member of the California Future Health Workforce Commission. In 2018, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the California Health Care Foundation, is a member of the Futuro Health Community Board, and served as a founding member of the BioscienceLA Board.


Heidi M. Anderson, Ph.D.


University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Heidi M. Anderson, Ph.D., joined the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as the sixteenth president on September 1, 2018.

A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Anderson continues in the path of mentors that she admires, dedicating her lifework to making educational opportunities accessible. As president of UMES, a historically black doctoral granting land-grant institution founded in 1866, Anderson leads a campus focused on teaching, research and outreach with an emphasis on stewardship of the land, sea and environment.

A collaborative servant leader, Dr. Anderson is leading vital new initiatives at UMES. Anderson immediately established access, quality and opportunities as key areas of emphasis. She focused on positioning UMES for both physical and intellectual growth, an effort that is yielding results. Construction of a $95 million academic building for UMES’ School of Pharmacy and Health Professions is underway, having received authorization from the 2019 Maryland General Assembly.

Anderson has nearly two decades of leadership experience in higher education, and may productive initiatives under her belt that help students gain access to college – and enable them to thrive when they get there. Prior to coming to UMES, she was the Provost at Texas A&M University – Kingsville from 2015 to 2017, where she managed a $35 million budget and directed 22 academic departments, 10 centers and institutes. She oversaw creation of new degrees in computer science, engineering and clinical mental health counseling. Prior to working in Texas, Dr. Anderson was the Provost at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia from 2013 to 2015. Between 2006 and 2013, she held several positions at the University of Kentucky, including professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, assistant dean for educational innovation,  associate provost for faculty affairs and vice president/associate provost for institutional effectiveness.  Her classroom experience also includes work as a professor and chair of Auburn University’s Pharmacy Care System Department and as an assistant professor in the University of Tennessee’s College of Pharmacy. She was the first African American to serve as president of the Accreditation Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), the national accrediting body for pharmacy programs nationwide, a role she held twice.

Most recently, in 2019, Dr. Anderson completed Leadership Maryland, a hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic, and environmental issues. In 2020, she received the Influential Marylander’s Award by the Daily Record, given to honor people who had made significant impacts on vital social, economic, and environmental issues in their field and continue to be leaders in Maryland. She is currently a board member on: American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and, she serves locally on the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and the Rural Maryland Council.

In 2020, she won Maryland’s Top 100 Women, given to recognize women who excel professionally, within the community, and mentorship. In 2021, the Del-Var-Va Council selected Dr. Anderson as recipient of the Lower Shore Distinguished Citizen Award.

Dr. Anderson is a proud three-time graduate of Purdue University (a land-grant institution). She olds the Ph.D. in pharmacy administration, a M.S. degree in education and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. Her contributions to education and her community are immeasurable in adding points of pride to the UMES Hawks family.


Bobbie Knight


Miles College

In August 2019, Bobbie Knight was elected as the fifteenth president, and the first woman to serve at the helm of Miles College. Knight, who is a Birmingham native, retired in 2016 after a successful career of more than 37 years with Alabama Power Company. Throughout her career Knight held various executive leadership positions, including Vice President of the Birmingham Division (Alabama Power’s largest division), Vice President of Public Relations, and General Manager of Supply Chain.

Although retired from her professional career, Knight continues to use her business acumen as CEO of her own company, Bobbie Knight Consulting, LLC. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Mangers for the Birmingham Times Media Group. In 2018, Knight was appointed to the Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) and was immediately elected Chair by her colleagues. She continues to serve as Vice Chair of the BAA.

In 2017, Knight was elected to the Board of Trustees of the historic Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama where she served on the development committee. Also in 2017, she was tapped by the Birmingham’s Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin to serve as co-chair of his transition team.

Knight has earned recognition for her dedication to leadership with civic organizations, from championing the city’s downtown Railroad Park, to serving as chair of the board for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Her past philanthropic and civic board affiliations are too numerous to mention but they include Red Mountain Theatre, REV Birmingham, VOICES for Alabama’s Children, The Literacy Council, A.G. Gatson Boys and Girls Club, the American Association of Blacks in Energy, the Board of Visitors of the University of Alabama College of Communications, and the United Way of Central Alabama.

Throughout her career, Knight has received many awards and accolades. In 2005, she was named Outstanding Alumni in Public Relations by the University of Alabama School of Communications. In 2018, Knight was a recipient of the Women’s History Award from the Birmingham Chapter of NAACP. In 2013, she was recognized as one of the “Women Who Make a Difference” by the Birmingham News and In 2019, Knight was presented with a Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award by the NCCJ.

Knight has a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She is also a graduate of the University’s Kellogg School of Management Executive Leadership Program.

Knight is a women of immense influence and is passionate giving back to her community and mentoring young men and women to become leaders in their communities.


Valmadge T. Towner

President and Superintendent

Coahoma Community College

Valmadge T. Towner (Val) is serving as fifth president of Coahoma Community College and ninth superintendent of Coahoma Early College High School. He has served as President and Superintendent since July 2013.

He assumed leadership of Coahoma Community College after performing in numerous administrative and educational positions. Earlier in his career, he served as a college mathematics instructor, head college baseball coach, and as an assistant college football coach. In the K-12 educational realm, he was employed by Quitman County Schools as a principal and superintendent of education. Most recently, before returning to Coahoma Community College, he served as director of pupil services for Desoto County Schools.

Val graduated from Coahoma Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science. He also graduated from Alcorn State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics, a Master of Education Degree in Mathematics and a Master of Education Degree in Administration. Additionally, Val received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey and he was conferred a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.


Media Coverage

  • HCF Announces Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazers of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award and Class (HBCU Campaign Fund)