Dr. Vann R. Newkirk, Sr., is the 23rd president of Wilberforce University (Wilberforce, Ohio), the nation’s first, private historically Black college university (HBCU).
Immediately prior to accepting the presidency, Dr. Newkirk served as interim associate vice president at Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, and he is a former president at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to his presidential appointment at Fisk, Dr. Newkirk was that university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.
He is a native of Elizabethtown, North Carolina who initially attended North Carolina A & T, but received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Barber-Scotia College. He holds a Master of Arts degree in history from Winthrop University, a Master of Science degree from North Carolina Central University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in history from Howard University.
Currently, Dr. Newkirk is writing a history of African Americans in Alabama. In another written work, “New Life for Historically Black Colleges and Universities” (HBCUs), to improve the long-term viability of HBCUs, he moves to identify their challenges, explore their management systems, and identify models of success. A noted historian, he has written extensively on crime and punishment in North Carolina. He has also authored the 2008 seminal work, “Lynching in North Carolina”, which won the 2009 Willie Parker History Award for the best non-fiction study of North Carolina.
His first priority for Wilberforce is to engage community supporters who can assist in the university’s fund-raising efforts, and solidify student retention and graduation rates which, he says along with premium academic programs, will add value to the university’s distinction among nationally ranked liberal arts colleges.
Vann R. Newkirk, Ph.D.