Winston-Salem State Administrator Named New Tennessee State University President

Winston-Salem State Administrator Named
New Tennessee State University President

Dr. Melvin N. Johnson, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at
Winston-Salem State University, was named president of Tennessee State University last month.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Charles Manning said Johnson’s experience at a growing, historically Black university makes him a good choice to lead Tennessee State.

“I think he will be able to connect to this community,” Manning said.

Johnson replaces Dr. James A. Hefner, who has been Tennessee State’s president since 1991. Johnson has never been the president of a college or university. He will earn $180,000 a year in the position.

Manning said the board of regents cannot afford to hire experienced college presidents because their salary requirements would be too high. Another top candidate for the TSU job, Dr. Charlie Nelms, a vice president of the Indiana University system, withdrew over salary concerns.

“We’re not in a salary or a money situation where we can pay competitive rates,” Manning said. “So what we can do is to offer someone a chance to be president — at a good salary, but not for someone who has already been a university president for four or five years.”

Johnson, 58, is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and holds degrees from Ball State and Indiana universities, including a doctorate in business administration from Indiana.

Before taking his current position in 2000, he was an associate vice chancellor at North Carolina A&T; interim dean of the university’s graduate school; associate professor and chairman of the business administration department; and associate professor of economics. Johnson served as an Air Force officer from 1968 to 1990. He will officially begin at Tennessee State on June 1. 

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