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University of Nevada Las Vegas Hires First Black President

Dr. Keith Whitfield will become the first Black president of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, starting on Aug. 24. He currently serves as the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and a professor of psychology at Wayne State University.

Dr. Thomas “Thom” Reilly, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, described Whitfield as “a highly respected educator, researcher, and administrator.”

Dr. Keith WhitfieldDr. Keith Whitfield

“His experience boosting student success at Wayne State University will serve UNLV well,” Reilly said in a statement. “And his knowledge and understanding of leading a diverse student population – Wayne State University’s student population mirrors UNLV in terms of diversity – affords him the familiarity to tackle UNLV’s unique challenges head on.”

Prior to Whitfield’s time at Wayne State University, Whitfield held multiple roles at Duke University, serving as vice provost for academic affairs, a professor of psychology, a research professor in the department of geriatric medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He also co-directed the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Santa Fe, as well as a master’s and a Ph.D. in lifespan developmental psychology from Texas Tech University. He also did post-doctoral work in quantitative genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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