The Coldest HBCU Presidents

Walter M. Kimbrough
5 min readDec 5, 2018

2018 Edition

Today we celebrate the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at Cornell University. One of the things I have loved about the fraternity is that it has a great legacy of brothers serving as college presidents. In fact, we boast more college presidents than any other historically Black fraternity (but shout out to the men of Omega Psi Phi- they have a lot too, including the legendary Dr. Benjamin E. Mays).

However for college presidents, especially HBCU presidents, Alphas set the standard for leadership.

Frederick Patterson. Benjamin Payton. Luther Foster. Fred Humphries. M. Lafayette Harris. Norman C. Francis. Earl Richardson. Henry Ponder. Walter Washington. Julius Chambers. Charles Johnson. James Cheek. Lionel Newsome. And of course, the author of the Alpha Phi Alpha history book, Charles Harris Wesley.

By my count, there are currently 21 HBCU leaders that are members of Alpha Phi Alpha (up 2 from last year). So allow me to introduce you to the COLDEST HBCU leaders in the land. Those with Twitter handles are listed so that you can follow them.

Two brothers get special recognition.


Dr. Everett Ward, President, Saint Augustine’s University (2015 — ), current and 35th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF (2004 — ); Dillard University (1998–2004)

Here are the other brothers listed by seniority as president.


Dr. Harold Martin Sr, North Carolina A&T State University (2009 — ); Winston-Salem State University (2000–2006)


Dr. George French, Miles College (2006 — )

Dr. Dwight Fennell, Texas College (2008 — ), Paul Quinn College (2002–2005)


Dr. Harry Williams, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (2018 — ); Delaware State University (2009–2017)


Dr. David Wilson, Morgan State University (2010 — )


Dr. Kent Smith, Langston University (2012 — )


Dr. Laurence Alexander, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2013 — )

Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr., Mississippi IHL (2018 — ); Alcorn State University (2014–2018)

Dr. Logan Hampton, Lane College (2014 — )


Dr. Roderick Smothers, Philander Smith College (2015 — )

Dr. Edward Wheeler, Interdenominational Theological Center (2015 — )


Dr. Makola Abdullah, Virginia State University (2016 — )

Dr. W. Franklin Evans, Voorhees College (2016 — )


Dr. M. Christopher Brown, Kentucky State University (2017 — ), Alcorn State University (2011–2013)

Dr. Jerry Hardee, Paine College (2017 — )


Dr. Hakim Lucas, Virginia Union University (2017 — )

Judge Hubert Grimes, Interim, Bethune-Cookman University (2017 — )

Dr. Clarence Armbrister, Johnson C. Smith University (2018 — )


Dr. Lester McCorn, Clinton College (2018 — )

Dr. Leroy Staggers, Morris College (2018 — )


And of course, yours truly. Dillard University (2012 — ), Philander Smith College (2004–2012)

BONUS BROTHERS: Here are a few Alpha Brothers serving as PWI college and university presidents. But I couldn’t find a listing of all African Americans who lead PWIs- has anyone seen a list?

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, University of Maryland Baltimore County (1992 — )

Dr. Ronald Crutcher, University of Richmond (2015 — ); Wheaton College (2004- 2014)

Dr. Antoine Garibaldi, University of Detroit Mercy (2011 — ); Gannon University (2001–2010)

Dr. Jack Thomas, Southern Illinois University (2011 — )



Walter M. Kimbrough

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