Howard University Selects Ben Vinson III as New President

Vinson was previously a provost at Case Western Reserve University. He also founded the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
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  • Vinson was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and said he has fond memories of visiting Howard's campus with his mother.
  • Howard University will be the first HBCU Vinson has led.
  • Vinson said he's studying Howard's history and is excited to lead an HBCU instead of networking with HBCUs.

Howard University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C., is welcoming its new president, Ben Vinson III.

The university announced Tuesday that its board of trustees unanimously voted to appoint the Washington, D.C., native to the position after a yearlong search.

Vinson graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with a double major in history and classical studies with the highest honors and earned a doctorate in Latin American history, with distinction, at Columbia University in New York.

"Howard's incredible legacy, its remarkable trajectory, combined with the fine talent of its faculty and staff, situate Howard at the uppermost echelons of higher education," Vinson said in the press release announcing his appointment.

"I look forward to returning to the DMV, which I consider home, and working with the broader campus community to fortify Howard and help build upon its incredible tradition of delivering excellence, truth, and service to greater humanity."

According to the press release, Vinson said he remembers visiting Howard with his mother and being amazed by the number of Black students on one campus. He is also excited to share a Howard legacy with family graduates who told stories about the Mecca.

Before Howard, Vinson served as provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University, a private university in Cleveland.

Before Case Western, he founded the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He later became dean of George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

"Both his academic research and the initiatives he's championed as a higher education leader have demonstrated his commitment to elevating the diversity of experiences of people of the African diaspora — a commitment that aligns well with Howard University's mission and vision," Laurence C. Morse, chair of the board, said in the press release.

In an interview with The Hilltop, Howard's independent student newspaper, Vinson said he still has much to learn. He has been researching Howard's history, preparing to lead at his first HBCU.

"I believe in paying it forward," he said to The Hilltop. "That's how I've lived my life, and I'm excited to get a chance now to apply all the things that I've learned to be on the other side — rather than creating consortiums and networks with HBCUs — to actually be at an HBCU."