Alumni News

Lauren King

Lauren N. King Program Officer Lauren N. King is a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. In this role, she supports the foundation’s systems change efforts to promote thriving children, working families and equitable communities.

As a program officer focused on employment equity, King identifies and nurtures opportunities to effect positive systemic change within communities; executes programming efforts aligned with the organizational direction; and works closely with other staff to ensure the integration and coordination of initiatives. Throughout her career, King has brought together cross-sector partnerships to promote workforce equity and create innovative pathways to economic security and wealth building.

Prior to joining the foundation, King was the director of workforce programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. While serving as director, she staffed the New Orleans Works Collaborative (NOW) and lead the New Orleans Workforce Innovations Program (NOWI). This collaborative brought together philanthropy, city government and grassroots organizations to create a nationally accredited, entry-level stormwater management curriculum that provided jobseekers with skills needed to advance their careers. Prior to this, King served as director of community and economic development at Delgado Community College; director of workforce development at Delgado Community College; and project director for JOB1 Business and Career Solutions. King has volunteered on several nonprofit and governmental committees and boards, currently serving on the Jobs of the Future- Workforce Subcommittee for the City of New Orleans and the Hospitality Mobility Collaborative.

King holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Xavier University of Louisiana and a doctorate in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University’s Executive Ph.D Program. She was recognized as an Aspen Institute Workforce Leadership Fellow in 2019.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

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Posted in Alumni News

Dr. Long accepted the role Friday, August 27th, 2021, following President Billy C. Hawkins’ decision to step down due to medical reasons. Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Isaiah Hugley says, “The Board of Trustees has accepted his resignation with regrets. The Board thanks Dr. Hawkins for 13 plus years of service and leadership to Talladega College and our community.”

The Board of Trustees formed a presidential search committee in June 2021, after Dr. Hawkins announced his plans to retire in June 2022. The search process is underway. WittKieffer, an international executive search firm, has been retained to assist in the search for the President of Talladega College.

Concurrently, Dr. Lisa Long is honored to serve as acting president. “I am committed to the College’s mission,” says Dr. Lisa Long, acting president of Talladega College. “For over 20 years, I have been dedicated to the rich legacy of Talladega College. I am committed to its mission, and I look forward to working alongside the Board of Trustees, senior leadership, faculty, and staff to expound on the institution’s legacy while continuing to serve our students and the community.”

More About Dr. Lisa Long:

Dr. Lisa Eyvette Long was born in Denver, Colorado. Long attended schools in Marlin, Texas, and graduated from Marlin High School.

She is a graduate of Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. Dr. Long later attended The University of Alabama, where she earned a Master of Science degree in Social Work. In 2000, Long completed a Juris Doctorate at the Birmingham School of Law.

Dr. Long has been employed as a social worker at several companies, including Children’s Rehabilitation, East Alabama and Viva Renal Dialysis Center, and Southern Behavioral Health in Anniston, Alabama. Her duties included working with families and individuals suffering from mental illness.

In August 2001, Dr. Long accepted a position as a Field Coordinator for the Social Work Program at Talladega College, and in 2004 she was named Department Chair of the Social Work Department at Talladega College. She has taught at the undergraduate level in social work. She has also served as the Diversity Training Facilitator for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, Alabama since 2008.

In 2009, Dr. Long was appointed Interim Dean of Social Sciences and Education at Talladega College, and in August of 2013, she assumed the duties as Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs at Talladega College. As the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, she led the revision of the general education program, implemented the first Master’s Program in the 154 years of existence of the institution. She also served as Accreditation Liaison for a successful SACSCOC 10-year Reaffirmation. In December 2019, Lisa Long was elected, by her peers, as a member of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. In July 2019, Dr. Long received a resolution from the State of Alabama House of Representatives in Montgomery, Alabama, for facilitating and earning a National Teaching Credential endorsed by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) and the American Council on Education (ACE).

Dr. Long is married to Shedric Long, Sr. Together they have raised their three adult children, Ashley, Shedric C., and Shedric, Jr.

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Dr. Latacha Hamilton, PhD, was named Manager, Learning & Develpment at Ajinomoto  Foods for North America Inc.

A passion for the education and training, along with a desire to optimize learning outcomes lends to my interest in Training and Development positions. Review of my credentials will confirm that I’m a skilled researcher and program developer, having served with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital most recently in my career journey. With a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education as well as licensure as a professional counselor, I have much to offer.

By way of example, the following highlights of my career would help me to exceed expectations in L&D roles:

Noteworthy qualifications include designing educational and vocational programs for schools across the southeastern U.S. including those in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas in an effort to improve outcomes for students diagnosed with hematological diseases;

A background in online classroom facilitation having served as an adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix for 7 years. Managed to keep students engaged and participating while incorporating experiential digital and virtual learning strategies;

Successful presentation of research at several conferences including various organizations in the U.S. and the U.K. Recently delivered a talk at the annual meeting of Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Conference on Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education on student self-advocacy and accessing accommodations.

My resume will provide additional details about my qualifications and accomplishments, and I would welcome the opportunity for an interview to discuss the performance that can be expected from me.

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Whitney McDowell-Robinson

Tougaloo, MS, April 22, 2021 – Dr. Whitney McDowell-Robinson ’10 has been appointed as Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at Tougaloo College.

Dr. McDowell-Robinson will assume her new position effective May 1st, President Carmen J. Walters said in making the announcement.  She will be responsible for the overall leadership of the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid, Chaplain, Public Safety, Residential Life, Student Engagement, Zero Tolerance, and Marketing & Communications.

As a member of the president’s cabinet, Dr. McDowell-Robinson will be an active partner in college-wide planning and policy discussions and provide leadership in the design and implementation of marketing, recruitment, and enrollment practices that seek well-prepared students, promote retention to graduation, and advance the mission and goals of Tougaloo.

“I am honored to advance within the Tougaloo community and consider it a great privilege to serve at a top, forward-thinking liberal arts historically black college,” Dr. McDowell-Robinson said.  “I am excited to continue my work with President Walters, faculty, staff, students, and external constituents to build on the College’s strong traditions at this time of innovation and change in higher education..”

Dr. McDowell-Robinson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Tougaloo College, a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Jackson State University, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Higher Education also from Jackson State University.



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Ida GibsonDaemen College has named Dr. Ida Gibson as the college’s first chief diversity officer as part of the institution’s continuing commitment to advance diversity and inclusion on campus. Her appointment was effective Jan. 2.

In this new role, Gibson will lead the college’s efforts to create and sustain a campus culture that embraces and promotes diversity and inclusion. She will serve as a key advisor and advocate, and will lead in developing the vision for Daemen’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

As a member of the college’s senior leadership, Gibson will work closely with Daemen President Gary Olson and Dr. Greg Nayor, vice president for strategic initiatives, and other senior leaders to enhance the college’s efforts in diversity and inclusion and to set long-term goals.

“This newly created campus role is integral to strengthening Daemen’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and underscores our commitment to fostering a truly welcoming and inclusive campus community for our students, faculty, and staff,” said Olson. “We are confident that Dr. Gibson has the vision, expertise, and skills to lead us forward toward our goals for inclusive excellence.”

Gibson’s elevation from her most recent position at Daemen as director of diversity and inclusion to the newly created chief diversity officer role is essential to building on the college’s efforts in campus diversity and inclusion and for institutional planning in this area.

“Dr. Gibson serving in this new role will be key to leading our strategic initiative to advance efforts that will create an environment where all members of the Daemen community can live, learn, and thrive,” said Nayor. “I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with Dr. Gibson on this work.”

Prior to joining Daemen in 2019, Gibson was director of grants management in the Office of the City Administrator for the District of Columbia Government, and managed policy and program decisions, research, and projects for the Richmond City Council.

Gibson earned a doctorate in higher education administration from Jackson State University, a master’s degree in public administration from Savannah State University, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Georgia.

Her research interests and areas of teaching are in talent management, diversity initiatives, cultural competency, equity and access in public policy, and minority women in politics.

A native of LaGrange, Ga., Gibson resides in Buffalo.

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Photo of Lynda Batiste, Ph.D.

Dr. Lynda Batiste has been appointed to serve in the position of Interim Vice President for Business and Finance.  As the CFO, Dr. Batiste will be responsible for providing leadership, management, coordination and supervision of the university’s fiscal affairs. Dr. Batiste replaces Mr. Clayton Gibson who will be leaving the university to serve as CFO at the University of North Texas, the 41st largest Tier I research university in the country.

Dr. Batiste has the experience and is well prepared academically for this assignment.  She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University and a Masters of Professional Accountancy (MPA) and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern University and A&M College.  Additionally, she has completed 30 hours of course work toward the doctorate in business administration.

Since 2019, Dr. Batiste has served as the Assistant Vice President for Finance/Comptroller at Alabama A&M University.  In this role, she supervises the work of general accounting, accounts, payable, payroll, grants and contracts accounting, office of student accounts, and the cashier’s office.  One of her principle responsibilities is in ensuring the timely and accurate completion of the university’s annual audit.  This function has been quite effective as evidenced by the decreased time between the close of the fiscal year and the issuance of the audit report.

Other positions held by Dr. Batiste were Director of Finance for the Southern University Agriculture Research and Extension Center as well as instructor and fiscal assistant, trainer with the Southern University Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development, and teaching positions with Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College.  Dr. Batiste is quite knowledgeable of the accreditation process and has served as member of three on-site SACSCOC reaffirmation committees, three off-site committees and one special committee. She has also presented at a number of professional association conferences and meetings.

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Dr. Kenney will provide leadership and direction through the planning, organization, coordination, and implementation of the College’s development programs. Her responsibilities will include leading the advancement team in carrying out the institution’s goals and funding priorities as determined by the College’s mission and vision. She will report to the president.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Kenney to our senior leadership team,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, president of Talladega College. “She brings a wealth of experience in fundraising, development, and alumni relations, and has the vision and expertise to elevate our advancement efforts.”

Dr. Kenney previously served as director of alumni giving for Christian City, Inc., in Union City, Georgia, where she increased annual giving, donors retention, and employee giving. Prior to joining Christian City, she served as executive director of JSU (Jackson State University) Development Foundation, Inc., where she managed its $52 million assets operation, $3.5 million annual contributions, $17 million endowment, and $1.2 million operational budget.

Dr. Kenney holds a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, a master of science in Higher Education – College Administration and Leadership from Purdue University Global, and a bachelor of science in Agricultural Business from Tennessee State University. She also earned a certificate in fundraising management from the Center for Philanthropy at Indianan University.


About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCU in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit

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The Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) selects Arianna Stokes,Ph.D. as Professional Development Specialist for eLearning and Instructional Technology

Dr. Arianna C. Stokes is a two-time graduate of Jackson State University, where she received a B.S in History Education and Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education. During her undergraduate years at Jackson State University, Arianna was active in several organizations. Those organizations included the Student Government Association, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, History Club, and the Jackson State University branch of the NAACP. During her sophomore year, she fulfilled a lifetime dream of becoming a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Throughout her undergraduate career, both through organizations and independently, Arianna gave service to children and those in need; Education has always been her passion. Upon completion of her B.S., she had an opportunity to teach in the Jackson Public School district in Jackson, MS. That further ignited her career in education.

Dr. Stokes began her career as an educator in 2016. She is licensed to teach at the Secondary level in the areas of History, Social Sciences, and STEM. In addition to her role inside the classroom, Arianna served in various leadership capacities including Building Director of Tools for Life, Team Lead, Cheerleading Coach, and as a member of the school leadership team. Her knack for technology led her to a Web Director appointment by administration. While committing to the duties aligned with these roles, she simultaneously pursued a Master’s Degree in Educational and Instructional Technology from Belhaven University. In May of 2018, she received an M.Ed. from Belhaven University, which shifted her career focus and interest to distance education, instructional design, and using technology tools to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

With a strong interest in online learning and educational technology, Arianna began pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Higher Education immediately following the completion of her Masters Degree. Her doctoral research study focused on African American students in distance education and faculty perceptions of student persistence. In the summer of 2020, Arianna chaired the 8th Annual Graduate Research Conference for Jackson State University’s Executive Ph.D program where she presented her research findings.

​In addition to her professional endeavors and interest in Higher Education, Dr. Stokes received CITI training for Social and Behavioral Research and ADA certification for K-12 and Higher Education Institutions. Also, she received a certification from HarvardX and Harvard University for completing a course on Digital Humanities (Summer 2020) and was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key international honor societies.


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With 25 years of successful fundraising, development and nonprofit management experience, Dr. Soublet will serve as the leader of the Division of Institutional Advancement, one of four divisions at the university. She will manage the overall operation of fundraising efforts for the university, build and cultivate corporate and foundation partnerships and support, and galvanize alumni. Dr. Soublet will work to advance a culture of philanthropy through the engagement of NCCU’s alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends (both individually and in the corporate community) in support of the university’s mission of preparing students to become global leaders and practitioners who transform communities. She will report directly to Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, serve as a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet and manage a team, which includes liaisons to the academic colleges and schools.

Dr. Soublet previously served as vice president for Institutional Advancement at Xavier University of Louisiana from 2015 to 2020, where she oversaw strategic initiatives and daily operations for the office. Her achievements in this role include consistently meeting fundraising goals, increasing alumni engagement and giving, establishing a corporate partners program, and expanding the planned giving program. Her efforts to enhance donor stewardship garnered recognition for Xavier as having one of the highest donor retention rates among users of the popular Raiser’s Edge software. From 2007 to 2015, Dr. Soublet was assistant vice president for development at Xavier.

Prior to joining Xavier, she was director of corporate and foundation relations and a major gifts officer at Dillard University in New Orleans and, from 1997 to 2002, she worked for the United Way of Greater New Orleans, serving as vice president of campaigns her final two years there. During her tenure at United Way, Dr. Soublet won numerous national participation and goal achievement awards as director for the Combined Federal Campaign.

Dr. Soublet currently serves on the Board for the New Orleans chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and is the principal for Soublet Consulting Group, where she provides governance, management and development consulting for nonprofits. Nationally recognized for her success in fundraising and nonprofit management, she has presented for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), AFP and United Way conferences on various topics including major gift acquisition, building donor participation, board development, diversity and inclusion and ethics in fundraising.

Dr. Soublet holds a Ph.D. in urban higher education administration from Jackson State University, a Master of Business Management from the University of Phoenix, a bachelor of science in computer information systems from Xavier, and certification in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Her research focuses on the impact of same-gender mentoring on the career progression of women of color in higher education.

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