Bishop Vashti McKenzie Named Keynote Speaker for 4th Annual HBCUstory Symposium in Dallas

The nation's only annual interdisciplinary convening on HBCU research and culture for academicians, practitioners, and enthusiasts is hosted by Paul Quinn College.

DALLAS, TX. —Wednesday, Sept. 21: Organizers of the 2016 HBCUstory Symposium are excited to announce Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie will serve as keynote speaker, where she will address HBCU presidents, faculty members, students, alumni, and supporters from across the nation. The two-day research and cultural symposium on Oct. 31-Nov. 1—presented by HBCUstory in partnership with Paul Quinn College—will be hosted at the school’s Zale Library, located at 3837 Simpson Stuart Road, Dallas, TX 75241.

bishop-vashti-websize-300x200A 1985 graduate of Howard University’s School of Divinity, McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. She also serves as the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District, which includes the entire state of Texas. Bishop McKenzie serves as chairwoman of the Board of Trustees at Paul Quinn College, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves as the national chaplain of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

“Bishop McKenize’s connection to historically black colleges and universities stretches back more than a century when her namesake and grandmother, Vashti Turley Murphy, was one of the 22 founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Howard University,” said symposium convenor Crystal A. deGregory Ph.D., executive editor of HBCUstory. “History-making in her own right, Bishop McKenzie’s historic election as the first female elected as bishop in the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was one of many firsts in the singular story of her family’s long and outstanding connection to HBCUs, the Black press, Black fraternal life, and the Black church.”

Past noted symposium speakers include:
• Spelman College and Bennett College for Women President Emerita Johnnetta B. Cole,
• Paul Quinn College President Michael J. Sorrell,
• Meharry Medical College President James E. K. Hildreth,
• St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan,
• then-White House Initiative on HBCUs Deputy Director Ivory Toldson,
• HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett L. Carter Sr., and
• Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director of Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

The symposium’s organizers have vetted approximately 20 papers from HBCU faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni who represent numerous HBCU member institutions. Themed “The Will + The Way: HBCUs Reaffirming Their Mission, Redefining Their Vision,” the two-day research and cultural symposium annually convenes historically black college and university (HBCU) academicians, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across the nation.

Registration is required to attend and is free for HBCU undergraduates. Tickets are available online at and registration includes lunch for both days.

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the symposium are still available. For more information contact Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D., executive editor via email at


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A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. is a graduate of the historic Fisk University ’03. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University, ’14, where she formerly taught in the department of history, geography and political science. A professional historian and passionate HBCU advocate, she is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. She is also a regular contributor to HBCU Digest, is a co-host of Black Docs radio show, and offers a wide-range of expertise on multiple topics including history, culture, education, black fraternity and sorority life and of course HBCUs. Follow her on twitter at @HBCUstorian, visit her website at, or contact her via email at