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Vernon Jordan Tapped to Lead Howard Presidential Search

by Jamal Watson

Vernon Jordan Veteran civil rights leader and prominent attorney Vernon E. Jordan Jr., has been tapped to chair the search committee to select Howard University’s 17th president.

In an interview with Diverse, Jordan, who has been a member of Howard’s Board of Trustees since 1993, said that he was “greatly honored to give leadership to this” task that will recommend to the board of trustees a person to lead the 150-year-old Historically Black College.

The former president of the National Urban League and former executive director of the United Negro College Fund is a graduate of Howard’s law school and has been a popular presence on campus, where he’s delivered an annual lecture for the past 22 years to faculty, staff and students.

“I really, really care about Howard University,” says Jordan, who will shepherd the committee through the process of interviewing and vetting a replacement for Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau, who abruptly resigned last semester after just five years on the job. Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, who was the school’s provost and chief academic officer under Ribeau, was named interim president. It’s unclear if Frederick plans to formally apply for the position.

“The search for leadership is always a challenge,” says Jordan, who was chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Presidential Transition team and is now a senior managing director of Lazard Freres & Co. LLC in New York and senior counsel in the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, DC. “But I’m going to give it my best shot.”

The other members of the search committee, representing the Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as business and higher education leaders, include:

Benaree P. Wiley, Alumna, Trustee, Principal of The Wiley Group, and Chair, Board 2014 Transition Committee;

Kelechi C. Anyanwu, President of the Graduate Student Assembly and Third-Year Doctoral Student in the Counseling Psychology Program;

Edward E. Cornwell III, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.C.C.M, Alumnus, Surgeon-in-Chief/Professor and Chairman of Surgery, Howard University Hospital;

Lorraine N. Fleming, Ph.D., P.E., Alumna, Chair, Interim Dean, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, 2015 Middle States Accreditation Periodic Review, Chair, 1999 Middle States Accreditation Self-Study Taskforce;

Leslie Hale, Alumna, Trustee, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ);

The Honorable Kamala D. Harris, Alumna, Attorney General of the State of California;

The Honorable Danette G. Howard, Alumna, Secretary of Higher Education, State of Maryland;

Marian Johnson-Thompson, Ph.D., Alumna, Trustee, Professor Emerita of Biology, University of the District of Columbia (UDC);

Robert L. Lumpkins, Trustee, Chairman of the Board of The Mosaic Company, and retired Vice Chairman of Cargill Incorporated;

Mark A. L. Mason, Alumnus, Trustee, Chief Executive Officer of Citi Private Bank;

Stacey J. Mobley, Esq., Alumnus, Trustee, Senior Counsel, Dickstein Shapiro, LLP;

Dominique C. Perkins, Vice President, Howard University Student Association;

James K. Pleasant, Director, Mechanical, Engineering and Plumbing Services, Physical Facilities Management, Howard University;

The Honorable M. Kasim Reed, Alumnus, Trustee, Mayor of the City of Atlanta;

Frank Savage, Alumnus, Chief Executive Officer of Savage Holdings LLC and Chairman Emeritus, Howard University Board of Trustees;

Dana A. Williams, Ph.D., Alumna, Chair of the English Department, Howard University;

Undergraduate Faculty Senate Representative (Pending appointment by the Faculty Senate);

Graduate Faculty Senate Representative (Pending appointment by the Faculty Senate).

Jamal Watson can be reached at jwatson1@diverseeducation.com

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