Intermission: Life After Dillard

Walter M. Kimbrough
4 min readJul 2, 2022


So today was my first day post-Dillard, and since I announced last summer that this was going to be my final year, there is a common question I am asked all the time.

“What’s next?”

My colleague Dr. Colette Pierce-Burnette, who recently left Huston-Tillotson University, told me about this concept called a mosaic career. I looked it up and found that it is attributed to entrepreneur and human capital expert Elatia Abate. She writes,

With the Mosaic model, we shift our working worlds from a singularly focused track, based on a central skill set, to a composition of talents, creativity, skills, and values that center around a common theme or series of themes.

I’ve started to think of my presidential career as a musical or an opera. Act I would be Philander Smith College, and Act II was Dillard. Today begins the intermission. The San Francisco Opera describes an intermission as a long break, usually 20 minutes, between the acts of an opera. While the audience is free to move around, there is work that happens with the cast and crew.

Here is the work I will be doing during my intermission.

I have signed on with CAMPUSPEAK to handle my campus speaking engagements. CAMPUSPEAK is one of the oldest and largest firms focusing on campuses.

“Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers.” I am serving as a contributing writer for Optimal, focusing on issues related to HBCUs, Black men in college, etc.

I was admitted as a member of The Registry, an organization that provides interim leaders for institutions. With such volatility in higher education, there is always a need for interims. This is a long-term association for me as I will probably have another full-time president position before retiring.

This announcement went out today. Folks immediately welcomed me to LA but it's not that kind of residency (I am not moving to LA y’all). I will have access to the researchers and staff at the center as well as resources to work on projects of my choosing. One of the major projects will be to co-chair the HBCU Racial Equity Commission. Opportunities to teach and serve on dissertation committees are also included.

I’m also making myself available to Dr. Ford as she transitions into leading Dillard University. While I will be mostly invisible in town, I will be accessible to our new leader. And there will be other pieces to the mosaic that may be added as well. This includes additional writing, hopefully to include a 20th anniversary edition of “Black Greek 101” which came out in 2003.

What all of this creates for me is a professional mosaic, “a combination of many different parts forming one thing.” (Cambridge Dictionary)

My wife teases me and asks how long will the intermission be? That is the question for sure!

Stay tuned…




Walter M. Kimbrough

12th president of Philander Smith College. 7th president of Dillard University. Now in an Intermission.