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Lester C. Newman Biography

Raised With High Expectations, Remained In Academia, Left Alma Mater, Guided Mvsu Into The Twenty-first CenturySelected writings


College president, political scientist

Newman, Lester C., photograph. AP/Wide World Photos Reproduced by permission.

Dr. Lester C. Newman, president of Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in Itta Bena, Mississippi, has become nationally-known for his achievements in improving the funding and administration of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Newman turned MVSU—located in the rural, poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta—into the fastest-growing institution in the state. Between 1998, when Dr. Newman became president, and 2004, MVSU's enrollment grew from 2,200 to 4,400. Under Newman's leadership, MVSU became one of the best-respected, as well as one of the fastest-growing universities in the Southeast. Newman began calling MVSU "The Valley of Scholars" and gave his innovations the theme of "Moving from Excellence to Preeminence." Newman's major goals have been to promote MVSU as a center of academic excellence and as a catalyst for economic development in the Delta.

(With others) The Freshmen Survey: Values, Attitudes, Goals, Perceptions, Southern University, 1986.

Southern University Self-Study Manual, Southern University, 1988.

"The African-American Vote and The Crisis in Voting Rights: Views From the Inside," Proceedings from the 5th Symposium on African-American Voting Rights, Norfolk State University, 1996.



Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS), September 5, 2004, p. 2G.

Delta Business Journal (Cleveland, MS), July 2003.

Black Issues in Higher Education, December 23, 1999, p. 41.


"Ayres Case 32 Years Later," WTOK-TV News. www.wtok.com/news/headlines/781067.html (December 30, 2004).

"Mississippi Valley State Has an Eye on the Future," Delta Business Journal Online, www.deltabusinessjournal.com/HTML/archives/5-00/valley.html (December 30, 2004).


Additional information for this profile was provided by Dr. Lester C. Newman and his executive assistant/chief of staff Tonjanita L. Johnson.

—Margaret Alic

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