Howard University Appoints African Diaspora Scholar as New President

 

Dr. Ben Vinson III, an academic expert, has been named President of Howard University. Dr. Vinson is now the provost at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and he will succeed retiring President Wayne Fredrick on September 1.

The 156-year-old college, historically recognized as a Black institution founded to educate free slaves, has elected a Latin American historian as its 18th president. Dr. Vinson’s appointment is claimed to have come at a critical time for the historically Black university, which has graduates include Vice President Kamala Harris and author Toni Morrison, among others.

According to The New York Times, Vinson’s departure comes at an ideal time for Howard, which has earned a number of victories in recent years, including record research expenditures and high-profile academic hires. Dr. Vinson will have to maintain the pace while also dealing with students who have staged sit-ins and denounced campus conditions.

“Dr. Vinson is the right leader to usher Howard into its next era,” Leslie Hale, vice chair of the university’s board of trustees said in a statement. “As a historian, he reveres the Howard Legacy and brings a bold perspective of where Howard University should sit within the upper echelon of academic institutions.”

Laurence C. Morse, chairman of the university’s presidential search committee, also praised Vinson’s abilities to head the university, adding that his academic research and initiatives as a higher education leader demonstrate his affinity with Howard’s mission and vision.

Wayne A. I. Frederick, The outgoing president of Howard University, shared his views about Vinson’s appointment. “I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Ben Vinson III as the 18th President of Howard University. His vast experience and proven track record in academic leadership make him the ideal candidate to lead our esteemed institution into the future,” he said. “I am confident that Howard will continue to thrive under his guidance as a premier center for higher learning and innovation.”

Prior to Vinson’s appointment, Frederick had worked at the university for three decades as a student, faculty member, administrator, and, eventually, president until Howard announced his retirement in April 2022.

Dr. Vinson is an African diaspora scholar with a focus on colonial Latin America. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree and is a published author.

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