Three Finalists Chosen for Presidency of West Virginia State University

West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia, was founded in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute. Beginning in the 1950s West Virginia’s state-operated colleges and universities initiated racial integration and concerted efforts were made to attract White students to West Virginia State. Today, only about 15 percent of the student body is Black. However, the university remains committed to its history as a Black college.

Recently, the university announced three finalists for the university’s presidency. All three are African Americans. The three candidates will all visit campus by April 27 and the announcement of a new president is expected within the next month.

Donna H. Oliver has been president of Mississippi Valley State University since January 2009. Previously, she was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. From 1998 to 2007, she was vice president for academic affairs at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Dr. Oliver is a graduate of Elon University. She holds a master’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and a second master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Brian Hemphill is vice president for student affairs at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He has held that post since 2004. Previously, he held administrative positions at the University of Arkansas, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Cornell College in Iowa.

A graduate of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Hemphill holds a master’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Iowa.

Alicia Jackson is dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Prior to taking on this position in 2007, Dr. Jackson was dean of the College of Business and Information Science at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Dr. Jackson is a graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

Update: On May 9, Dr. Hemphill was chosen as the 10th president of the university.


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  1. JOHN POWELL CLAS OF 65 says:

    Dr. Leonard Dawson past president of Voorhees College introduced me to Dr. Oliver at a NAFEO Convention in DC. I found her to very engaging and very bright. Based on what I found when I googled her name she appears to be the best person for the job. West Virginia is and always has been very political and the next president must know how to operate in the political circles/circus of West Virginia

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