For 18 years, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough has made history as president of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Now, he is continuing his legacy at the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) Race and Equity Center as executive in residence.
Kimbrough said he was “excited” to join the center, where he will also co-chair the center’s National HBCU Racial Equity Commission, teach professional learning programs, and assist in the launch of USC’s executive certificate courses. Kimbrough connect college presidents and senior level administration across the nation with opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion coaching.
“I have benefitted from the Center’s work in sharing the value that HBCUs have, as well as its research on the experiences of Black students on majority campuses and the state of Black athletes,” said Kimbrough, “I hope I am able to bring value to the work being done.”
From 2004 to 2012, Kimbrough led Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He then went to New Orleans to lead Dillard University, finishing up his decade of service late last month. During his tenure at both Philander Smith and Dillard, student retention and graduation rates increased.
Under Kimbrough’s leadership, Dillard experienced record fundraising. Alumni giving increased from 4% to 23%, and Dillard’s endowment grew from $48.6 million to $105 million. In 2020, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave the institution its largest ever private gift of $5 million.
Dr. Shaun R. Harper, a professor at USC and the founding director of the USC Race and Equity Center said that he “greatly admires” Kimbrough and has collaborated with him across the last two decades.
“Irrefutably, [Kimbrough] has earned a reputation for being one of our nation’s best, most accomplished college presidents – not only among those who lead HBCUs, but across all sectors of higher education,” said Harper. “I am therefore thrilled and grateful that he has generously agreed to join us and deepen our HBCU partnerships.”