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Du Bois Scholar Tapped to Lead Warner Pacific University

Dr. Brian L. Johnson, a W.E. B Du Bois scholar who served as president of Tuskegee University, has been tapped to lead Warner Pacific University (WPU), a private liberal arts university in Portland, Ore., that is affiliated with the Church of God. He officially takes helm of the university on Aug 1.

Dr. Brian L. JohnsonDr. Brian L. Johnson

“I want to be somewhere where I can bring to bear my faith commitments, my scholarly commitments, my ethnicity, and frankly, all the things that prepared me for this moment I see evidenced and embodied in Warner Pacific as a Christ-centered urban, minority serving and Hispanic serving institution situated in a metropolitan environment,” said Johnson. “It fits everything I enjoy.”

Johnson who served as president of Tuskegee University—the historically Black Alabama university founded by Booker T. Washington—from 2014 to 2017, most recently worked as vice president at Mercy College and campus administrator for its Manhattan Campus.

In a letter to Mercy’s campus community, Dr. Tim Hall praised Johnson as a visionary leader who “helped enhance programming, increase enrollment, and establish valuable community partnerships with civic and non-profit organizations,” since joining the institution in 2018.

Johnson replaces Dr. Andrea Cook who has served a president of Warner Pacific since 2008.

“As this moment in higher education, you can no longer just be an ornamental president,” Johnson said, adding that he plans on working to increase WPU’s enrollment, boost its national reputation and expand its corporate and philanthropic partnerships.

Johnson earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina , a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University.

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