“What would happen if I do nothing right now?”

Walter M. Kimbrough
2 min readApr 18, 2022


This is the question I have been asking myself during Lent.

What’s next?

This is the question I am asked often. Sometimes I feel the pressure to have the next job lined up. Every time a new HBCU presidency opens up, I get texts and e-mails saying I should apply.

I have been in a couple of searches. Those processes reminded me that despite your qualifications, you might not be selected, and it might not have anything to do with you. Sometimes you don’t get a job because it is not for you.

Being in such a public search like Southern was a new experience, and I am grateful for it. But that job was not mine.

I was told NUMEROUS times that I would be the next president of Hampton. I kept telling folks that since December I knew they were going in a different direction. They selected a General, because that job was not mine either.

So I’m good. Jonathan Nelson sang it best:

There’s a yes out there..

I can’t ignore the fact I would benefit from taking a few months to do nothing.

For me, nothing is not having the day to day grind and stress of a presidency, and finding new ways to be engaged.

I am working to do a 20th anniversary of “Black Greek 101” to be released in 2023. I am overdue a book on HBCUs. Johnetta Cole published a book in 2004, and William Harvey just published one last year. But I think that’s it for a sitting president. In addition I’ll sign with a speakers bureau soon.

Compared to the grind of 18 straight years as an HBCU president, this is doing nothing.

This article was a good reminder for me. My wife keeps telling me to be still for a while. There is a lot of weight on you as a president, and this academic year has been very busy- COVID, Ida, and bomb threats. Most people can’t even comprehend what that means, and yet still think they know what you should or should not do.

One of my favorite pastors, Howard-John Wesley, recently preached about this. I would encourage you to watch this.

So, don’t ask me what I’m going to do next- I’ll tell you when I’ve found my yes. Instead, hold me accountable and remind me to do nothing for a little while…

The Prez



Walter M. Kimbrough

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