More than 65 Percent of Public HBCUs Have Changed Presidents in the Last Four Years

How long does it take for a college or university to develop and implement a strategic plan? How long does it take to see the true graduation rate percentage of an entering cohort, or for a head coach in a given sport to recruit athletes into juniors and seniors who can compete for championships within a system?

The melded answer for all of these questions is roughly four-to-10-years. And for more than two-thirds of the nation’s public historically black four-year institutions, permanent executive leadership has changed at least once in the last four years.

While executive transitions are down for the sector through the mid-term of the 2018-19 academic year, exclusive leadership numbers for public HBCUs indicate that the sector is likely to see a bump in 2019 of leadership changes. With three presidential resignation announcements at Bluefield State College, Coppin State University and Savannah State University all in less than a month and the latter two within one week, HBCUs which are most vulnerable to funding, legislative interference and political disruption are changing voices and vision at a clip of nearly seven new presidents per year dating back to 2015.


Coppin State University
Fort Valley State University
Norfolk State University
Southern University and A&M College
University of the District of Columbia
Winston-Salem State University


Grambling State University
South Carolina State University
Texas Southern University
Virginia State University
West Virginia State University
Southern University at New Orleans


Alabama State University
Bowie State University
Florida A&M University
Jackson State University
Kentucky State University
Lincoln University of PA
Miss. Valley State University
NC Central University
Prairie View A&M University


Albany State University
Alcorn State University
Delaware State University
Elizabeth City State University
Lincoln University
University of Maryland Eastern Shore

  1. This is not good especially when the same HBCUs are facing state and federal funding cuts. Consistent progressive leadership is one of the keys to combating systemic racist higher eduation policies.

  2. Imagine having Generals of armed services units whom have never engaged war and/or rose through the ranks from front line units. Increasingly in the HBCU Presidential suite, we have individuals whom have never taught, engaged research, or lived the “life-of-the-mind.” As such, they are likely not familiar with the core intellectual function of a college university. Indeed, many HBCU President’s do not have Doctorate’s in core disciplines that are capable of producing/disseminating substantive knowledge.

    In my estimation, this is a fundamental problem of the HBCU Presidency—the wrong types are typically selected for. We need to go back to the model when men like Benjamin Mays, Charles Johnson, Julian Malveaux—-intellectuals and accomplished scholars—are placed in the HBCU Presidential suite.

  3. Most HBCU’S are managed by Board of Directors who are determined to manage them like Church Boards. Instead, of operating it like it’s a business.

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