Alumni News

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





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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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Howard O. Gibson, Ph.D. has been named the Vice President of the Division of Academic Affairs at Wiley College.

Dr. Gibson has 20 years of corporate and higher education administration and teaching experience at 4-year and 2-year public and private, rural and urban institutions.
Dr. Gibson served as Interim President of Arkansas Baptist Community College where he implemented and sustained a number of transformational processes including streamlining institutional operations; collaborating with fellow board members on advancement strategies for the institution; and making recommendations to the board for the adoption of instructional programs and other educational and community services, etc.

President Felton is delighted by Gibson’s onboarding. He states, “The College is extremely excited to welcome Dr. Gibson to our family. He is a seasoned administrator who can hit the ground running. He brings invaluable experience to us and is knowledgeable in strategic planning, SACS process, institutional research, faculty enhancement, as well as the Second Chance Pell Program. A learned professional, he’s also astute in the business space and looks to bring our online programming to a different level. The search committee recommended him with a unanimous vote for the national search that was conducted.”

Gibson’s curriculum vitae hosts a number of notable accomplishments such as authoring the Shorter College Second Chance Pell Grant Experimental Site Program Handbook (2017), developing and implementing a Student Government Association, requesting for proposal grant process in the Office of Student Programs and Resources (2015) and leading administrative efforts to create a 10-graduate agreement partnership between Arkansas Baptist College and Strayer University (2010).

He currently serves on an assorted list of accreditation, academic council, and judicial committees. In 2013, Dr. Gibson received the Outstanding Staff Achievement Award from Baton Rouge Community College.

Gibson holds 3 degrees from Jackson State University: a BBA in accounting in 1998, an MBA in business administration in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education since 2008.

Dr. Gibson commenced duties at Wiley College on January 15, 2020.

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Dr. Braque Talley has been named Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“I am confident that Dr. Talley’s leadership will help us continue our upward trajectory in Enrollment,” said UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander. “We look forward to working with him and the entire enrollment management team in building on our most effective program of external engagement with two-year colleges, secondary schools, prospective students and their parents.”

Previously the Vice President of Enrollment Management at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Dr. Talley helped lead the college in achieving increases in overall student enrollment and retention. His team also has received more than $1 million in grants and other gifts to undergird student support initiatives.

Previously, he served as the Coordinator of Marketing and Recruitment at Alabama A&M University. Since 2008, he has served as an Ambassador to the Black College Fund (BCF), which allows him to travel domestically and internationally recruiting students and thanking BCF donors for their support.

A native of Starkville, Mississippi, Dr. Talley graduated from Rust College with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Liberal Arts. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the E.A. Smith Honors Society, Alpha Kappa Mu National Honors Society, and he was the President of the Student Government Association. He earned a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, with a concentration in Community Development at Alabama A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Dr. Talley is active in several professional, civic and social organizations, and he has delivered numerous presentations at conferences and professional meetings. He has received recognition by the Starkville Daily News “Top 40, Under 40;” Mississippi Business Journal “Top 50, Under 40,” and Rust College “Top 10, Under 10.” Dr. Talley is married to Dr. Brittney Tate-Talley, and they have one daughter, Bridynn.

Dr. Talley succeeds Dr. Linda Okiror, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success Emeritus, who recently retired from UAPB after 23 years of dedicated service. As vice chancellor, Dr. Okiror led the reversal of a downward trend in student enrollment, launched several initiatives that brought significant increases in student retention, and contributed to increases in the 4, 5, and 6-year graduation rates. She was responsible for the Offices of Recruitment, Admissions, the Student Success Center, the Living/Learning Centers, the summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program. She also launched UAPB’s partnership with SEARK College for the new Associate’s to Bachelor’s Dual Degree Program. She provided leadership to programs that create opportunities for new students and persistence to graduation for all students. She was first employed at UAPB in January 1996 in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, where she rose from Assistant to the Dean to Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

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Dr. Tonjanita Johnson, an Alabama native and veteran academic leader, will succeed Dr. Charles Ray Nash as Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the University of Alabama System. 

Dr. Johnson will join the UA System on December 2 and assume the title of Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs on January 1, 2020. She is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for The University of Tennessee System, where she is second in command to the UT System President. 

Senior Vice Chancellor Nash, who joined the UA System in 1992, will serve until December 31, 2019 as Senior Vice Chancellor and will retire in July 2020 after 28 years of service. 

A native of Butler, Alabama, Dr. Johnson returns to her home state after leadership positions with the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Middle Tennessee State University, and Mississippi Valley State University in addition to her senior cabinet-level role with the UT System. A charter member of the University of Alabama Library Leadership Board since 1999, she is a member of the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Board of Trustees, the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine Board of Visitors and numerous other professional and civic affiliations.

She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in communications from the University of Alabama and received her Ph.D. in urban higher education at Jackson State (MS) University. A communications specialist at the University of Alabama from 1993-1996, she is a former higher education reporter at the Decatur Daily.

“Dr. Tonja Johnson brings 30 years of impressive higher education experience to her position with our System,” Chancellor Finis St. John said today. “As Senior Vice Chancellor she will provide oversight and leadership in academic planning, institutional research and programmatic coordination. We look forward to her arrival as we ensure a seamless transition following Dr. Nash’s distinguished tenure.”

In addition to administrative leadership positions, Dr. Johnson held faculty appointments at Stony Brook, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi Valley State and Herzing University. She was assistant director of the University of Alabama Minority Journalism Workshop from 1988-1991. 

Dr. Charles Nash’s career achievements include administrative positions with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (Director of Special Studies and Assistant Vice Chancellor); Armstrong Atlantic State University (Dean of the School of Education); and the Commission on Colleges at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC — Associate Executive Director). 

He chairs accreditation committees for SACS, is a member of the American Bar Association’s Council in the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, the New York Academy of Science STEM Advisory Committee, the A+ Education Partnership, the Alabama Access to Justice Commission, and a long list of other entities devoted to education, workforce development, teacher preparation and family services. 

Dr. Nash earned his bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University, his master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his doctorate from Mississippi State University. He is graduate of leadership development programs at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford University and has received many civic and professional awards. 

Comprised of three doctoral research universities (UA, UAB and UAH) and the UAB Health System, the UA System is Alabama’s largest higher education enterprise and educates more Alabamians than any university system in the world. Fall 2019 enrollment is approaching 70,500 and there are 45,000 System employees. Overall economic impact exceeds $10 billion annually.

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Stevie L. Lawrence II will join the Southern Regional Education Board September 4 as vice president for postsecondary education. In this role, he will lead SREB’s postsecondary programs, such as the Academic Common Market, Doctoral Scholars Program, education data services and state authorization reciprocity agreements. He will also be charged with developing additional initiatives to support postsecondary state offices and institutions.

“I am excited to serve in this capacity at SREB, leading and developing postsecondary programs and initiatives,” said Lawrence. “I look forward to creating strategic partnerships and efforts that will increase equity and access for higher education throughout the region.”

Lawrence comes to SREB from Fort Valley State University in Georgia, where he is founding dean of the University College and previously led student affairs and enrollment management. He has also held positions at the University of North Carolina system, Shaw University, Virginia Union University and Halifax Community College. His background includes strategic leadership in academic affairs, specifically in student success and retention.

Lawrence earned a bachelor of arts degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a master of public administration from North Carolina Central and a doctor of philosophy in urban higher education from Jackson State University.

“Dr. Lawrence is an accomplished, energetic, passionate administrator,” said SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt. “He has an abiding commitment to student success that will continue to drive his work on behalf of SREB higher ed agencies, colleges and universities, and students.”

Cheryl Blanco, SREB’s current vice president for postsecondary education, will work with Lawrence through September 30 as he transitions into the new role.

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Dr. John Young has been selected as a Regional Support Manager of the Office of Administration in the Regional Office at HUD in Kansas City, Kansas.  

John has been with HUD for 14 years, including several years of service in the St. Louis Field Office.  He started with CPD and is currently with Multifamily here in the Kansas City's Regional Office.  John’s official start date will be Monday, September 16th

Please join us in welcoming Dr. John L Young to the Region VII Admin Team!!!

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Jerald Jones Woolfolk is Lincoln University's new president, the school announced Tuesday.

She will begin serving as LU's 20th permanent president June 1 — although she's expected to attend the President's Gala on April 7.

Woolfolk was on a business trip Tuesday and not available for an interview, but told the News Tribune she's looking forward to coming to Jefferson City.  LU Curators President Marvin Teer, of St. Louis, said the board's vote to hire her was unanimous. 

"Two of our most critical areas are enrollment management and funding," he said. "She is uniquely qualified in both of those areas."

Woolfolk currently is vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the State University of New York in Oswego.

That school's president, Deborah F. Stanley, said in an email: "Dr. Woolfolk has been an instrumental member of SUNY Oswego's leadership team and a valued colleague whose skills, counsel and judgment have been immeasurable to me and to her peers across campus.

"In addition to overseeing steady enrollment growth and record-breaking applications, she has worked diligently with her staff in Student Affairs to enhance student life programming and services on campus, with the goal of fostering increased student success."

Woolfolk was one of two finalists for the Lincoln presidency, which came open last year when Kevin Rome left at the end of June to become president of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Mike Middleton, a long-time University of Missouri administrator and law school teacher, has been LU's interim president since last June 1, and will continue in that post until Woolfolk takes over this summer.

Woolfolk has been at SUNY-Oswego for four years.

A native of Leland, Mississippi — and one of the nation's poorest places — Woolfolk earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

She earned her master's degree in counselor education at Iowa State University, Ames — where, she said last month, she realized she wanted to pursue an education career.

Woolfolk later earned her doctorate in urban higher education from Jackson State.

In her first job after college, she went to the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff — and stayed 17 years.

Woolfolk worked at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi, for 13 years, then left for a position at City University of New York's College of Staten Island. She was asked to return to Mississippi Valley after one year and then stayed another three.

That variety of experiences should help her in the LU president's job, Teer said.

"I think this will be an excellent opportunity for us to work, learn, live and grow together, and Dr. Woolfolk will be a champion for Lincoln in the years to come," he said.

Woolfolk was chosen through a national search conducted by the Boston-based Isaacson, Miller, working with LU's 23-member search committee headed by Curators Winston Rutledge, of Jefferson City, and Frank Logan, of St. Louis.

The committee considered formal applications from 58 people, interviewed five and recommended two finalists — Woolfolk and William Hudson Jr., vice president of Student Affairs at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee.

"Everybody was very, very engaged, had done their homework and had read up on all of the candidates," said Teer, who also served on the search committee. "Throughout that process, it was professional, it was collegial and you couldn't hope for a better process."

Both candidates visited Jefferson City three weeks ago, attending a number of different forums where they met with faculty, staff, students, alumni, members of the Jefferson City community and the curators.

"If you really do this right, everybody has a role to play, and the university touches so many different spaces in the Jefferson City community," Teer said. "And I think they deserve to be at the table.

"I hope that we included everybody — as many of those interested groups as we could."

After the campus visits, the search committee met to recommend one of the finalists to the curators. That recommendation wasn't made public.

Student Government Association President Curtis Burton III served on the search committee.

After Woolfolk's hiring was announced Tuesday, Burton said in an email: "We are excited and elated of the hiring of Dr. Woolfolk. We are eager to begin working with her, to continue moving our fine institution forward."

Cole Abbott, LU's shipping and receiving warehouse supervisor, who is the current Staff Council chair, said Lincoln's employees also are "excited to welcome Dr. Woolfolk to our historic campus. LU Staff looks forward to showing Dr. Woolfolk all the great things Lincoln University has to offer, and working with her to guide Lincoln into the future."

School officials said Woolfolk will earn $240,000 during her first year — the same as Rome was paid in his last year at Lincoln — and also receive benefits that were comparable to Rome's.

In his last year, state Higher Education Department records show, Rome received nearly $75,000 in benefits, including insurance for himself and his family, an automobile, retirement, an annuity and a stipend for adjunct teaching.

The state records show the LU president's salary is one of the lower salaries paid among Missouri's four-year college presidents and chancellors.


Lincoln University has named Jerald Woolfolk as its 20th president.

Woolfolk was selected after a six-month search led by the Isaacson, Miller search firm. Curators Frank Logan and Winston Rutledge served as co-chairs of the 20-member Presidential Search Committee.

Board of Curators President Marvin Teer of St. Louis said in an LU news release that Woolfolk is the right leader for the university at this time.

"We have a lot of work to do, and Dr. Woolfolk is exactly who we need at the helm to move us forward," Teer said.

Woolfolk currently is the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the State University of New York at Oswego. She also holds roles as a visiting professor and interim chief diversity and inclusion officer at SUNY.

She will begin her tenure as LU's president June 1.

Michael Middleton, who has served as LU's interim president since July 2017, will continue in that role until then.

Woolfolk will be introduced during LU's 16th Annual President's Gala weekend. The gala is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. April 7 at The Linc in Jefferson City.

Woolfolk holds a bachelor of science degree is psychology from Jackson State University, a master of science degree in counselor education from Iowa State University, and a doctor of philosophy degree in urban higher education from Jackson State University.

She also completed the Harvard University Institute for Education Management, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities/Council of Independent Colleges/Academic Leadership Institute Executive Leadership Academy, the AASCU Millennial Leadership Initiative and the Indiana University Certificate in Fundraising Management.

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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.

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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.

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