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New Black college presidents.

THE YEAR 2004 has been a year of change and redefinition for the Black educational world. Since last September, the two major Black educational organizations, the United Negro College Fund (page 24) and NAFEO, the National Association for Equal Opportunity for Blacks in Higher Education (page 108), have changed leaders, and seven new presidents--four males and three females--have been named at Black colleges and universities. (After our deadline, another president, Hazel R. O'Leary, who served as secretary of energy in the Bill Clinton cabinet, was named president of Fisk University.)

The new college leaders have impressive educational credentials and prior experience in educational administration. The new president of NAFEO, Lezli Baskerville, is a lawyer and the first woman to head the organization.

DR. TRUDIE KIBBE REED is the fifth president of Bethune-Cookman College and the first woman to serve in that post since the death of founder Mary McLeod Bethune. She previously served as the first woman president of Philander Smith College, where she doubled the endowment. Dr. Reed received an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in social work at the University of Texas at Austin. She later received a doctor of education degree at Columbia University. She also has a master's degree in adult and higher education. The new president served for 18 years as a senior level administrator with the United Methodist Church and became, at 28, the youngest elected general secretary. Dr. Reed is married to Willie (Ed) Reed and has two sons. She collects African-American art as well as art from the Victorian period.

DR. ALLEN L. SESSOMS is the ninth president of Delaware State University. Before accepting the new position, Dr. Sessoms served as an executive administrator and professor at three institutions of higher education and held diplomatic posts for the U.S. State Department. From 2000 to 2003, he served at Harvard University as a fellow and lecturer of public policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received an undergraduate degree from Union College, N.Y., in 1968, a master's degree in physics at the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in physics at Yale University. Dr. Sessoms collects paintings and loves to work out.

DR. HORACE A. JUDSON is the seventh president of Grambling State University. Before accepting the post, Judson served as president of Plattsburgh State University of New York, and as a senior fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Lincoln University (Pa.) and received a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Cornell University. In his spare time, Dr. Judson loves to his sweet potato pie. He also enjoys golfing and gardening.

DR. MICHAEL A. BATTLE is the new president of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). A minister who has been praised for his fund-raising ability, he earned a bachelor's degree at Trinity College, a master of divinity from Duke University, and a doctor of ministry degree from Howard University. Before accepting the ITC post, he was vice president for student affairs at Chicago State University and an associate vice president for student affairs at Virginia State University. He is the author of several books and publications on ecumenism and the Black church. Dr. Battle is married to the former Linda Ann McClure. The Battles have three adult children.

DR. MARY EVANS SIAS is the 15th president of Kentucky State University. She formerly served as senior vice president for student affairs and external relations for the University of Texas at Dallas. A native of Jackson, Miss., President Sias is a summa cum laude graduate of Tougaloo College end earned an MBA from Abilene Christian College. She received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was a Ford Foundation Fellow. President Sias and her husband, Shad, have one daughter, Adrienne. In her spare time, she reads and refinishes furniture.

DR. SAMUEL D. JOLLEY is the 17th president of Morris Brown College. He previously served as the executive director and chief operating officer for the Atlanta University Center. He also served as 14th president of Morris Brown College, which has survived a series of major financial crises. Dr. Jolley, a specialist in mathematics, graduated magna cum laude from Fort Valley State (College) University in 1962. He earned a master's degree in mathematics from Atlanta University and a doctor of education degree from Indiana University. The new president says he is committed to the task of solving the Morris Brown financial crisis and restoring the school to its former reputation. He is married to the former Jimmye Hambry. They have two adult children.

DR. BELINDA C. ANDERSON is the first female to serve as president of Virginia Union University in the 139-year history of the institution. Dr. Anderson, who joined the university in 2000 as vice president of academic affairs, served as interim president during the 2003 academic year. She formerly served as director of student affairs and senior academic affairs coordinator at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration with an emphasis on community college education from Virginia Tech. She also holds an M.S. in history, a B.S. in history and B.S. in history and social science from Radford University.


LEZLI BASKERVILLE is the first female president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). She is also the first NAFEO president without previous experience as a college president.

The new president, who previously served as outside counsel for the organization, earned the promotion by excelling under fire. After being named interim president, she was so impressive in solving problems and advancing the cause of the organization that the board asked her to accept the full-time post. Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert said the lawyer stepped in and "exhibited great courage, resolve and skill at assessing and advancing the association."

Before joining NAFEO, Baskerville served as vice president for government relations for the College Board, executive director of the National Black Leadership Roundtable and national legislative counsel for the NAACP.

President Baskerville received an undergraduate degree at Douglass College and graduated cum laude from the Howard University School of Law.

In her spare time, Baskerville enjoys spending time with her twin sister and nephew, whom she refers to as their collective son. She is a gourmet cook and is famous for her entree of Crab Cake and Beef Wellington. She volunteers often to prepare meals for the needy and homeless.

The new president says she is preparing a new program to increase the visibility and service of NAFEO, which is an advocacy association for the 118 historically Black colleges and universities.
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Author:Jones, Bonnita
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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