Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - Career » Lester C. Newman Biography - Raised With High Expectations, Remained In Academia, Left Alma Mater, Guided Mvsu Into The Twenty-first Century - Selected writings

Lester C. Newman - Left Alma Mater

university college president professor

In 1989 Newman moved to Kentucky State University in Frankfurt as an associate professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1993 he left for Shelby State Community College in Memphis, Tennessee, to become Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of political science. Two years later he became Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. There, in addition to his other accomplishments, Newman was instrumental in securing the university a $750,000 "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation, the first such award to an HBCU.

At a Glance...

Born Lester C. Newman on February 18, 1952, in Shreveport, LA; son of Earlee Newman; married Gloria; children: Russell, Eddreaka. Education: Southern University, BA, cum laude, 1973; Atlanta University, MA, 1976; Atlanta University, PhD, 1987.

Career: University of South Florida, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies, 1976-78; Southern University, assistant professor, 1978-86, assistant to the dean of the Junior Division, 1986-88, associate director of Institutional Self-Study, 1987-88; Kentucky State University, associate professor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, 1989-93; Shelby State Community College, professor, vice president for academic affairs, 1993-95; Johnson C. Smith University, vice president for academic affairs, 1995-98; Mississippi Valley State University, president, 1998–.

Selected memberships: National Association for Equal Opportunity, board of directors; Southern Association of Institutional Researchers; Southern Political Science Association; U.S. Department of Education, Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Advisory Board, 2003–; American Council on Education, board of directors, 2004–.

Selected awards: Governor Brereton Jones, "Kentucky Colonel" commission, 1993; Shelby State Community College, award for outstanding leadership and service, 1995; Greenwood-Leflore Retired Teacher's Association, Educator of the Year; Miller Brewing Company, Gallery of Greats, 2003; Delta Business Journal, Profiles in Leadership Award.

Addresses: Office—Mississippi Valley State University, 14000 Highway 82 West, #7272, Itta Bena, MS, 38941-1400.

Newman designed his career to ready himself for becoming a university president. He read biographies of university presidents, particularly those of HBCUs. However Newman told the Clarion-Ledger in 2004, "Being a university president is so unique that few things can truly prepare you for what you actually face on a day-to-day basis."

As soon as he took over as MVSU's fifth president in July of 1998, Newman began to reorganize academic programs and initiate innovative programs for improving the overall quality of the university. Founded in 1950 as Mississippi Vocational College for teacher and vocational training in the Delta, during the 1960s the college expanded into nursing, business administration, and the liberal arts. MVSU opened its first graduate program in 1976; however beginning in the 1980s enrollment declined. MVSU lost some degree programs and twice was threatened with closure.

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