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Leonard Haynes Named Executive Director of White House Initiative on HBCUs

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has named Dr. Leonard L. Haynes III executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, replacing Charles M. Greene, who abruptly resigned earlier this month. Haynes currently works under Spellings as director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

In his new capacity, Haynes will be tasked with repairing rifts between the Initiative and the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, whose work the Initiative oversees. During his brief one-year tenure, Greene had openly complained about the lack of clarity in his job function and chafed against what he called was the board’s micromanagement.

In turn, board members remained frustrated by the lack of timely annual reports on grant activity between federal agencies and HBCUs, required under the executive order that established the initiative. Some HBCU Board of Advisors members had raised concerns about missing and incomplete reports at a board meeting concluding the HBCU Week conference in September.

HBCU Board of Advisors member and American Council on Education Senior Vice President Dr. James Renick says the connections and experience gained by working in the Department of Education under both the current president and his father, President George H. W. Bush, bode well for Haynes as he seeks to strengthen ties between federal agencies and HBCUs.

“I think that he’ll do an outstanding job in that role, precisely because he’s had a rich history and experience with HBCUs. He’s committed to them and he’s worked with the Department of Education for years. I think all those are pluses,” Renick says.

Similarly, Spellings cites his vast experience in government and academia in naming him the right man for the job.

“We’re honored that Leonard will continue to serve the American people in a new capacity at the Department of Education,” Spellings says. “His vast experience in higher education, coupled with the leadership he has demonstrated as director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education will be tremendous assets to his work on behalf of historically Black colleges and universities,” she adds.

Haynes has been director of FIPSE since June 2003. Previously, Haynes was assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the Education Department from 1989 to 1991; director of academic programs for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the U.S. Information Agency (now State Department); acting president of Grambling State University; executive vice president of Southern University; and a faculty member of Howard University, the University of Maryland, George Washington University and Southern University.

Haynes holds a bachelor’s from Southern University, a master’s from Carnegie Mellon, and a doctorate in higher education administration from The Ohio State University.

In his new post, Haynes will work in conjunction with the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, advising the president and the U.S. secretary of education on how best to support and strengthen HBCUs. This executive order also requires each federal agency to submit an annual report detailing partnerships and grant activity with HBCUs. For more information, visit

–David Pluviose


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