Alumni News

On Monday, July 1, Delgado Community College welcomed a new chancellor, Larissa Littleton-Steib, Ph.D.

Littleton-Steib, who previously had been chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, was selected for the Delgado position in April by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors. The board made its selection after a comprehensive and competitive national search that included on-campus interviews and public forums with students, faculty and staff, and community members.

“This is a tremendous honor to be the chancellor of the college that gave me my start,” said Littleton-Steib. ”I am grateful to the members of the LCTCS Board of Supervisors, LCTCS President Monty Sullivan and the members of the search committee for entrusting Delgado to my care. This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly and I offer my absolute commitment to Delgado’s future success.”  She added, “The dedication, talent and commitment of the faculty and staff of Delgado is invaluable and together we will advance the mission and vision of the college. Delgado has a great foundation and is known for educational and workforce development excellence. It is my responsibility to build upon this rich foundation.”

“I want to congratulate Dr. Littleton-Steib on her selection as the new chancellor of Delgado Community College,” said Tim Hardy, LCTCS board supervisor and chair of the search committee.  “We believe Dr. Littleton-Steib is the perfect fit for the students, the college and the community it serves, and she will continue leading our efforts to deliver world class academic and workforce training.”

LCTCS Board Chairman Stephen Toups added, “The appointment of Dr. Littleton-Steib caps off one of the most comprehensive and talent-rich chancellor searches we have conducted during my time on the LCTCS Board. We feel this selection was the right one for the college and the broader college community as we move forward to meeting and exceeding the region’s educational and workforce needs.”

Littleton-Steib served as chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) since 2016. During her time at BRCC, Littleton-Steib led efforts that have increased student enrollment, improved the college’s fiscal health and stability, promoted and improved the BRCC brand as a model of excellence, and increased business and industry partnerships.

Prior to attaining the BRCC post, Littleton-Steib served in various roles at Delgado Community College. While at Delgado, she served as vice chancellor of workforce development, dean of technical education, campus executive dean, executive assistant to the chancellor and director of community and economic development.

During her time at Delgado, she chaired the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan and played a key role in developing the Maritime and Industrial Training Center and the River City Site.

She possesses an extensive background in program development, grant writing and workforce training. Littleton-Steib has a strong record of working collaboratively with multiple business partners and stakeholders, and over the course of her career she has secured and successfully managed over $75 million in grants and external funding.

Littleton-Steib serves as an American Association of Community Colleges Commissioner for Research, Data and Accountability and as a representative on the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Advisory Council.

Littleton-Steib is a native of Louisiana and earned a doctorate in urban higher education from Jackson State University in Mississippi and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. She is married to Kyle Steib, Sr. and they have three children Kyle, Blake and Victoria.

Posted in Alumni News

President William B. Bynum Jr., Ph.D. has named Dr. Daarel Burnette as the next Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Jackson State University. His effective date of employment is March 1.

Burnette has previously served at Central State University (CSU) as vice president for administration and CFO, where he was able to increase CSU’s cash reserves from $500,000 in 2012 to over $7 million by 2016. Through this accomplishment, he helped to remove CSU from Ohio’s Fiscal Watch List.

At JSU, he will be charged with managing all financial services at the institution.

“Dr. Burnette has a well-established 20-year career in managing finances in the private sector and higher education,” said Bynum. “Throughout his career, he has made innovations using best practices in fiscal affairs through utility cost savings measures, tuition and fees, construction, and auxiliary services.”

Burnette replaces Howard Merlin, who served as CFO for the past year.

“We would like to thank Howard for his service to Jackson State University,” said Bynum. “We wish him well as he returns to his consulting business assisting tech startups.”

Previously, Burnette has held the following positions:finance director, National Underground Railroad and Freedom Center; vice president of finance and administration, Grambling State University; interim vice chancellor of business and finance, Winston-Salem State University, and acting vice president/CFO at Stillman College.

In 2001, he retired from the United States Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

Some of his accomplishments include initiatives to keep undergraduate tuition and fees flat which propelled CSU as Ohio’s first and most affordable University for both in-state and out-of-state students; debt mediation programs for current and former students at Central State University and Stillman College; and year-end dollar savings and revenue surpluses, which were used to help strengthen faculty and staff research capacity, modernize campus infrastructures and improve academic quality, including excellence in first-year student retention, course completion, and graduation rates, among numerous other accomplishments.

He also led CSU’s negotiations with the U.S. Department of Education Capital Financing Program to acquire residential halls from a private developer. These acquisitions helped Central State generate an additional $500,000 in auxiliary programs revenue streams. During his time at CSU, campus utility dollar spending was reduced by over $1.5 million annually, and he secured a $16.2 million energy performance bond. The funds were used to replace an antiquated centralized steam plant structure.

His professional affiliations include American Association of State Colleges and Universities – Millennium Leadership Protégé program, Hampton University Executive Leadership Summit graduate, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Protégé, National Association of African American Studies, Miami Valley Research Park – member and treasurer, American Educational Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, National Association of College and University Business Officers, and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and finance from Morehouse College, a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia College and State University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in urban higher education leadership from Jackson State University.

A native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., he is married to Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Houston Tillotson University. They have three children – Marcus, Daarel II, and Daana.

Posted in Alumni News

If you ask Tara Dunn what her goals as dean of students for Northwest Mississippi Community College are, she will quickly tell you she wants to improve student development and success. Dunn hopes her own practical experience and desire will provoke positive influence on the students and the colleagues she works with daily.

In her capacity as dean of students, she will be responsible for housing, student conduct and educational programming for students and the Northwest community regarding safety, security, relationships, cultural awareness and substance abuse. She will also be teaching the college’s Leadership and Organizational Skills courses.

Dunn came to Northwest in November 2016 when former Dean of Students Aime Anderson became the college’s Registrar. Prior to coming to Northwest, Dunn had served as associate director of Housing and Residence Life and student success specialist at Hinds Community College since July 2010. She also served as a student orientation instructor and as an adjunct reading instructor.

In the fall of 2016, she was given additional duties as director of Hinds’ Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Prior to her time at Hinds from 2008-2010, Dunn served as a residence hall director at Delta State University.

Dunn is a native of Picayune. After graduating from Picayune Memorial High School, she received a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Delta State University and a Master of Science in Higher Education from Mississippi College. Dunn is currently working on a doctorate in Urban Higher Education at Jackson State University.

Dunn’s passion for student affairs and higher education began when she was a sophomore at Delta State. “My freshman year, I planned to go to school, do homework and come home on the weekends. That changed my sophomore year when I became a resident assistant. It sparked my interest in housing and student affairs, which led to me getting involved in student government, recruitment and honor organizations. I had no idea that my involvement with student activities would be the basis of my future career,” Dunn said.

She had been majoring in English Education and had taken a lot of psychology classes for her major. She was planning to become a teacher, but her interest in student affairs led her down a different path.

When she was a senior, she spoke with her adviser, who helped her change her major to Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in English and psychology. “Once I realized how much I loved higher education, and that teaching English was not my passion, I only wanted to focus on the skills that could help me in my career. Writing skills are transferrable, and understanding people is essential to any job. I knew an Interdisciplinary Studies degree would give me a good integration of both,” Dunn said.

Dunn has been a member of several committees and organizations dedicated to aiding student development and success including the Mississippi Community College Board Student Leadership Conference; Project ME (Mentoring Effort) and IDEAL Woman Lead Advisor. IDEAL is an acronym for Intelligent. Dignified. Emerging. Ambitious. Leaders.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, the Mississippi Association of Housing Officers and the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers. She received the Mississippi Association of Housing Officers Service Award in 2011.

Dunn believes that orientation and students’ first-year experience will be something she wants to focus on in her capacity as dean of students. She feels that the relationship between a student’s first year experience has a lot to do with student retention in college. She believes one big area where some guidance for students is necessary is social media, and its affects on students during college and in their future as employees. “College professionals should educate students on the impact of social media. It can enhance or damage your future opportunities. It is important to understand it and use it to promote the best representation of yourself,” Dunn said.

“From one of the most competitive pools of job applicants I’ve seen in a long time, Tara emerged as our strongest candidate for the job of dean of students.  Everyone was impressed.  I know she is going to do some great things here at Northwest,” said Dan Smith, vice president for student services and chief of staff.

In her spare time, Dunn enjoys working out and visiting family and friends. She has an older brother, Kenwa and a sister-in-law, Kim. Her younger sister, Aleia is currently a student at Hinds. Her parents, Donald and Audrey are both retired.

Dunn is very passionate about what she does, and believes that she should be first and foremost, a student advocate. As a manager, she strives to listen, but also be a firm managerial leader.  “My goal is to always be firm, fair and friendly. When others know where you stand, it increases your credibility to lead,” she said.

Posted in Alumni News

A resident of Clinton, MS, Garrett serves as the alderwoman-at-large for the city.

“I had previously served as executive director of the Mississippi Nurses Association and had founded the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners,” she said. “I also manage the Mississippi-Speech-Language Hearing Association. I served a 12-year term on the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, gaining valuable educational experience.”

In addition to teaching high school English and serving in a variety of leadership positions across multiple state professional associations, Garrett has dedicated many years to public service in local boards, agencies and community organizations. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the Mississippi University for Women, Garrett went on to earn a master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Explaining how she got involved with MSCRA, Garrett stated, “I had previously worked with John Morgan Hughes, the executive director and lobbyist for MSCRA, and he asked me to assume the executive director role, with the approval of the board, so that he could focus on legislative issues.”

Garrett is excited for the new opportunities that MSCRA members will see under her leadership.

“I think there is tremendous potential for growing the association and enhancing the educational opportunities for its members,” she said. “They will see their association grow and expand its benefits, including a new partnership with CARS. There will be more educational opportunities and an expanded Southern Automotive Repair Conference (SARC). We plan to expand and enhance the SARC Conference under our leadership and direction.”

MSCRA’s Board of Directors will host its next meeting on August 14 to look at the association’s bylaws and discuss priorities for upcoming workshops and the SARC.

Posted in Alumni News

Dr. Latitia McCane Hill (Cohort 9)

June 28th, 2019 by ephd

APRIL 7, 2018 — Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) reports that Latitia D. McCane has been named director of education for the Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding.

McCane is responsible for the overall leadership, vision and strategic direction of craft training, academic delivery, student services, accreditation and recruitment for the school, which provides high quality, comprehensive four-to eight-year apprentice programs for approximately 800 students.

Since 1919, the school has produced more than 10,000 graduates. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

McCane will report to Ray Bagley, Newport News' vice president of trades operations.

"Latitia comes to us at an important time in our company's history when we are focused on people and technology—transforming the way we do business," Bagley said. "Given Latitia's wealth of experience, I'm confident that she will play an integral role in helping prepare our shipbuilders for the future. We are fortunate to have Latitia on our team."

Since 2007, McCane has held several leadership positions at Bishop State Community College, a two-year public institution with an enrollment of 3,400 students in Mobile, AL. She most recently served as dean of instructional services and was responsible for all academic programs across the four campuses. She also was associate dean of instruction at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Alabama.

McCane earned doctoral degrees in urban higher education administration and education administration from Jackson State University and Lacrosse University, respectively. She also holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in organic chemistry and chemistry from the University of Alabama, Texas Southern University and Alabama State University.

The Apprentice School accepts about 225 apprentices per year. The school offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs. Apprentices work a 40-hour week and are paid for all work, including time spent in academic classes. Through partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, the Apprentice School's academic program provides the opportunity to earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology and bachelor's degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.

Posted in Alumni News

Clark Atlanta University announced Wednesday that George T. French Jr., the current president of Miles College, will become its next president.

French has been president of the historically black liberal arts college, located in Fairfield, Ala., since 2006. He replaces Ronald Johnson, who resigned in December. Lucille Maugé, CAU’s chief operating officer, has been serving as interim president and will continue to do so until French arrives in September.

“I am thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to lead another great institution and serve as the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University,” French said in a statement. “CAU has strong faculty, students and academics. I’m optimistic about the University’s next stage of growth and eager to build on the strong foundation CAU has established.”

French, a native of Louisville, Ky., has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a law degree from Miles Law School and a doctoral degree in higher education from Jackson State University. 

Miles College has 1,600 students and a six-year graduation rate of about 20%, federal statistics show. About 90% of its students receive Pell Grants, federal funding given to students based on financial need.

Clark Atlanta officials cited French’s fundraising background, noting he surpassed prior records at Miles College, among the reasons he was hired. They also said French increased student access to educational funding and doubled the size of the existing campus with several key land acquisitions.

Article by Eric Stirgus

Posted in Alumni News

Larissa.Stieb.LittletonDr. Larissa Littleton-Steib was unanimously selected as the chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors. Dr. Monty Sullivan, LCTCS president, made the recommendation to the board during its monthly meeting. The recommendation was made after a comprehensive and competitive national search that included on campus interviews and public forums with students, faculty and staff, and community members.  Littleton-Steib's appointment is effective January 2, 2017.

"On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I want to congratulate Dr. Littleton-Steib on her selection as the new chancellor of BRCC," said Mickey Murphy, LCTCS board supervisor and chair of the search committee.  "We were impressed by the knowledge and experiences of each finalist.  After a thorough vetting process, we believe Dr. Littleton-Steib is the perfect fit for the students, the college and the community it serves and she will continue leading our efforts to deliver world class academic and workforce training."

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Posted in Alumni News

Tonjanita JohnsonDr. Tonja Johnson
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Tonjanita (Tonja) L. Johnson was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Tennessee System on October 14, 2016. In this capacity, she has primary responsibility for assisting the President in maximizing the System’s operating performance and achieving its strategic goals and objectives.

Currently, Johnson’s primary responsibilities include overseeing the System’s strategic plan, initiating and managing strategic alliances, participating in the development of operating and capital budgets and providing executive oversight for five system-level offices, including: academic affairs and student success, communications and marketing, facilities planning and capital projects, human resources, and institutional research.

Johnson has served as a cabinet-level administrator for more than 15 years, working directly with and reporting to the institution’s president and serving as a trusted advisor. Her professional experiences have been focused on high-level organizational and operational activities and broad-based strategic communications and marketing efforts.

​​Source: ​

Posted in Alumni News

Kevin WilliamsThe University of the Virgin Islands is pleased to welcome Dr. Kevin L. Williams as its new Vice Provost for Access and Enrollment Services.  Dr. Williams comes to UVI having served in leadership roles in enrollment management, admissions, retention and diversity – most recently at Talladega College in Alabama, but also at Mississippi Valley State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Ross University and others. 

I was a finalist for this position three years ago,” said Dr. Williams, who has been following UVI closely through the network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to which he has devoted his career.  “So when it came up again I was excited, and very happy now that it all came together.  I’m feeling great about the team, the support I’ve received since I got here, and making the adjustment to island life.  It’s wonderful to wake up every morning feeling enthusiastic about what the day will bring.”

Dr. Williams’ primary focus will be on expanding the population of territory, stateside and international students enrolling at UVI through marketing, branding, outreach, and staff development.  In an effort to expand awareness and interest of students attending the University, Williams plans to concentrate on recruitment as well as working to Update UVI’s marketing materials – and not just the print editions.   

“In order to tell the UVI story to students who are not already familiar with the University, you need to be very social media savvy,” said Williams.  “You need to engage in creative outreach campaigns, attend HBCU and other college fairs, school visits, and utilize current UVI students themselves to talk about what they’re doing and share their successes.”

Williams acknowledged that UVI presents several unique marketing challenges.  Not only is competition for college-ready applicants fierce these days because students have so many choices, but most students from the U.S. mainland don’t know that the University of the Virgin Islands exists. Nevertheless, he relishes the opportunity to raise awareness about the country’s youngest HBCU by taking the UVI story on both physical and virtual roads. 

In addition to graduating from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, Dr. Williams holds a Master’s in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.  Through his previous work, Dr. Williams had oversight of undergraduate and graduate admissions, where he implemented various innovative strategies leading to enrollment increases.

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Posted in Alumni News

Cohort 9 Graduate to Accompany MDA to Canada

September 15th, 2016 by webmaster


Dr. DeJonnette King will accompany Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to participate in a multi-sector business development trade mission to Canada September 21-28, 2016. The trip will include stops to Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba for Mississippi companies to launch or increase export business in the Canadian market. The mission will offer opportunities to generate growth, gain market information, make business and government contacts, solidify business strategies and gain a better understanding of business opportunities in these two Canadian markets. Each stop will include one-on-one business meetings and appointments with qualified buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners. The delegation includes Mississippi firms, representing a cross-section of U.S. industries with growth potential in the Canadian market.

Posted in Alumni News