Monday, July 30, 2012

In the news...

I found out recently that I appeared in a couple of publications. This year is Tennessee State University's centennial. Last December I was the speaker for commencement. I was invited by Dr. Portia Holmes Shields, interim president, who was president at Albany State University when I was her VP for Student Affairs.

I also found out (via Twitter of course) that I was in the latest Delta Journal. This was from last summer when I was invited to do a worshop for the collegiate members. I definitely love those kinds of experiences.

The Prez

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hip Hop Prez off to Exciting Start at Dillard University

This was a nice article written by Mr. Dillard Jerome Bailey, Jr. for HBCU Buzz!

NEW ORLEANS – The new “Hip Hop” President of Dillard University has brought his talents to the Big Easy, already making his presence known on campus.
It wasn’t too long ago on July 1when Dr. Walter Kimbrough or “Hip Hop Prez” took over as the 7thPresident of Dillard University.  Previously Dr. Kimbrough was one of the youngest college presidents in the nation serving as President of Philander Smith College, a small, private historically black college in Little Rock.
Kimbrough has gotten students excited by staying connected with them through his top ranked twitter account, cited in 2010 by as one of 25 college presidents to follow on Twitter. (@HipHopPrez) Kimbrough’s account has over 4,000 followers that already consist of many current Dillard students, faculty and staff as well as incoming freshman. Dr. Kimbrough prefers to have direct communication with the Dillard family.
“I really like to meet with the people who work on a campus so one of my practices is the schedule time for anyone to share thoughts about the university, as well as give me a chance to get to know the people.”
“I think if I can talk to 50% then I will have a really good picture of Dillard. “
Well, so far so good for the 7th President. According to his blog over 10 percent of faculty and staff had already signed up for a time to meet with Dr. Kimbrough by his first day so it may be pretty safe to say that this number may have increased since.
In addition, “Hip Hop Prez” has already given a speech to participants in Dillard’s pre-engineering summer program that is designed to increase the number of minorities and women entering mathematics, science and engineering professions.
Dr. Kimbrough has maintained active memberships in several higher education organizations, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Association of Fraternity Advisors, and Brothers of the Academy. He presently serves as chair of the archives, history, and public information committee of the United Negro College Fund, and is a past member of the board of directors. He is the author of the book Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. After five months, the book was an Essence magazine top 10 best seller, and is currently in its tenth printing. In 2010, he made the coveted Ebony Magazine Power list of the 100 doers and influencers in the African American community, joining the likes of President and Mrs. Obama, Jay-Z, Richard Parsons, Tyler Perry, Debra Lee, Michael Jordan, and Tom Joyner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dillard University and Greek Leadership

(Mark Tillman, DU class of 1988, on the left)

I was pleased to learn this weekend that Mark Tillman was elected as the 34th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Bro. Tillman is a 1988 graduate of Dillard University, and a 1985 initiate of the Beta Phi chapter here at Dillard. We're definitely contemporaries, as I am a 1989 graduate of the University of Georgia and a 1986 initiate of the Zeta Pi chapter at UGA.

I first met Bro. Tillman in February of 2009 when I was the guest speaker of the Eta Beta Lambda chapter in Wichita, Kansas for their Black history fundraiser. We had started recruiting students from that area when I was at Philander Smith College. Bro. Tillman served as the Midwestern Region Vice President of the fraternity.

So this marks a high point for Dillard with Bro. Tillman as the incoming president of Alpha Phi Alpha, AND Cynthia Butler McIntyre at the current president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. McIntyre in a 1976 graduate of Dillard. I also learned over the weekend that Dr. Mattelia Grays was 18th Grand Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from 1970 to 1974. I learned that when she was elected in 1968, she was the youngest ever to be chosen.

This got me to thinking and I found some other Greek leaders with Dillard ties. Dr. Albert W. Dent, the 3rd president of Dillard University, served as the 13th Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. from 1937 to 1940. He became president of Dillard University in 1941, a role he held until 1969. Dent would have been 32 when he was Omega president, and Grays would have been 40 when she started.

Finally, Dr. Charles Teamer, past vice president for fiscal affairs at Dillard University, served as the 27th general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Teamer began working at Dillard in 1965 when Dent was president. He was the president when Bro. Tillman was in college (and me too).

Talk about coming full circle.

The Prez

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Laser Light Show

So I am in the process of meeting LOTS of faculty and staff, and even touring some of the facilities. This week I had a thorough visit with our STEM area chair, Dr. Darwish.
Dillard has a strong history in the natural and physical sciences. A great number of students have gone on to graduate and medical school. After Katrina, new facilities helped to strenghten these programs.
One of our hidden jewels is physics. The physics program rated as one of the top 15 in the nation(not just HBCU) for producing Black physicists. I had never met a Black physics major until this past spring when I met 2 Black women. This week I met two men as well.
Dr. Darwish has been able to attract funding from the military for his program, including this laser that he built. In fact, graduate students from Tulane come to Dillard to use this laser for their research. This is definitely a great program for Dillard.

The Prez

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Essence Fest 2012

This weekend I attended my first Essence Festival. It was definitely a great experience.

For me I was excited to attend the empowerment sessions. I had a chance to see many of the people who participated in my lecture series at Philander Smith, Bless the Mic. So folks like Dr. Steve Perry were a delight to reconnect with.

But just walking around the convention center I met all kinds of people, like Dillard alum Ted Ellis, who is an artist now living in Texas. He gave me a quick oral history of Dillard and the arts. Plus his work was fantastic.

And then we kept running into former students. I saw several from Albany State University in Georgia, and a few from Philander Smith, including Amber whom I recruited from San Francisco and who graduated 2 years ago. That made the event more special. I even ran into a friend from my undergrad days at UGA.

So it was a good event. As far as the concerts, Mary Mary and Mary J. Blige stole the show for me, and in the superlounges, Vivian Green was awesome.

The Prez

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pre-Engineering Summer Program

On Friday I gave my first speech as president of Dillard University for the summer pre-engineering program. It was a great way to cap a wonderful first week.

Over 20 high school students spent part of their summer to gain additional education in the STEM areas. It is great that they took this time to get ahead in their education.

After my remarks they were excited to get their certificates and awards. They also received special awards for their work in math, English, and computer science.

A nice touch at the end was their surprise gift for the program coordinator, Dr. Ruby Broadway. She was touched by their gesture.

It was great to be with the students and their energy around learning. I would love for more students to spend their summer like this. As a nation, we can only catch up if we do extra work.

The Prez

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day One

Sunday, July 1st was my first day as president. I attended church at Bethany United Methodist Church. The sermon title was, "Where do we go from here?" It was the pastor's first Sunday there.

That was a good message and one I will emphasize in August at our Faculty-Staff Institute. Coming in new you want to assess where you are and then help determine the appropriate direction. That process began in earnest today.

I really like to mee with the people who work on a campus, so one of my practices is to schedule time for anyone to share thoughts about the university, as well as give me a chance to get to know people. The response was great for the first day. So far over 10% of all faculty and staff have signed up for a time. I think if I can talk to 50% then I will  have a really good picture of Dillard. I will then  begin focus groups in the fall which will include alumni, students, and community people as well.

The Prez

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Preparing to take over as president of Dillard University on tomorrow. So I am updating Facebook and Twitter, and have now set up my new blog. It's a late night!