HBCUstory Symposium to feature Inaugural Presidents Roundtable at Fisk

pres roundtable
l to r: Meharry Medical College President James E. K. Hildreth; host and Fisk University President H. James Williams; and St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda Jordan

Presidents to share perspectives, discuss contemporary issues

NASHVILLE, TN.—Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Nashville-based advocacy initiative HBCUstory Inc. will introduce an inaugural HBCU Presidents Roundtable as part of the third annual HBCUstory Symposium, scheduled Oct. 9-10. Moderated by symposium convenor Crystal A. deGregory Ph.D., the Presidents Roundtable and HBCUstory Symposium will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Clinton B. Fisk Memorial Chapel on Friday, Oct. 9.

“HBCUstory’s mission is to tell the story of the people who make HBCUs the important places they are, and the cherished spaces they should be,” said deGregory, who also serves as executive editor of HBCUstory Inc. “The presidential roundtable is but one way that we celebrate the diverse voices of HBCU presidents and presidents who are HBCU products.”

Undoubtedly, there are some challenges which HBCUs uniquely face, but there are many more that are universal to the burdens of presidential leadership. The rountable’s participants will bring this context to their discussion about the colleges they lead and the students they serve. Each president will discuss their institution’s historical positioning as well as how their university leverages its story and champion their environs.

Confirmed participants in this year’s inaugural Presidents Roundtable include: host and Fisk University President H. James Williams; Meharry Medical College President James E. K. Hildreth; and St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda Jordan.

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. H. James Williams is the fifteenth president of Fisk University. Prior to his selection as president, he served as dean of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. During his career, President Williams has made significant contributions to the Academy, receiving recognition for his outstanding teaching at Georgetown University, and three “Teacher of the Year Awards” at Florida A & M University and Texas Southern University. He is a 1977 graduate of North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Hildreth began his tenure on July 1 as Meharry’s twelfth president. He most recently served as dean of the University of California Davis’ College of Biological Sciences, where he oversaw fundraising efforts and research projects. Having previously worked as a professor and researcher at Meharry, Dr. Hildreth was the founding director of the school’s Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research.

The seventh president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan previously served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry at Lewis & Clark College, and was the director of the Science Education Alliance (SEA) of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She previously advanced to associate vice president for academic affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana where, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Jordan’s coordinated efforts with other administrators helped the university to be the first institution in the city of New Orleans to reopen its doors for classes. A Fisk aluma, she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the university in 1982.

This year’s symposium, themed, “Reconstruction in a New Age of Resistance: Respecting our Roots + Restoring our Rites,” will contextualize the resistance that proponents of black education faced during the Reconstruction era while juxtaposing those challenges with the economic, political, social and cultural climate of today.

The two-day research and cultural symposium, which will celebrate the beginning of the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction and of the Fisk School, annually convenes more than 100 historically black college and university (HBCU) presidents, researchers, administrators, faculty members, students and alumni from across the nation.

Offering open-access to academicians and practitioners, the symposium is the first of its kind for the nation’s HBCUs. The symposium’s collection of scholarly research and case studies outline the historic and contemporary value of HBCUs, and convenes expert voices in areas of history; information science; STEM; fundraising and development; partnerships and mergers, student persistence and retention; diversity and inclusion (LBGTQ, women studies); as well as athletics and wellness.

For more information contact: Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D., executive editor via telephone at 615.601.1866 or email at cadegregory@HBCUstory.com.


Registration for the third annual HBCUstory Symposium is available online here