Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., a renowned scholar of the African diaspora, has been named the 18th president of Howard University. On May 1, 2023, Vinson was unanimously voted as the new president by the Howard University Board of Trustees.

Laurence C. Morse, chair of the board, expressed his excitement about Vinson’s upcoming tenure as president.

“Both his academic research and the initiatives he’s championed as a higher education leader have demonstrated his commitment to elevating the diversity of experiences of people of the African diaspora—a commitment that aligns well with Howard University’s mission and vision,” Morse said in a statement.

“His vast experience and proven track record in academic leadership make him the ideal candidate to lead our esteemed institution into the future,” Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, outgoing president of Howard University added. “I am confident that Howard will continue to thrive under his guidance as a premier center for higher learning and innovation.” 

Returning to Washington D.C. where he went to high school, Vinson described his appointment as president of Howard as “the honor of a lifetime.”

“Howard’s incredible legacy, its remarkable trajectory, combined with the fine talent of its faculty and staff, situate Howard at the uppermost echelons of higher education,” Vinson said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to the DMV, which I consider home, and working with the broader campus community to fortify Howard and help build upon its incredible tradition of delivering excellence, truth and service to greater humanity.” 

Before assuming the presidency of Howard, Dr. Ben Vinson formerly served as provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University, where he gave leadership to all aspects of the university's research. He was the founder of the Center for Africana Studies at John Hopkins University where he was a professor of history. He also was dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University and has served on the faculties of Barnard College and Penn State University. 

He received his undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Vinson is married to Yolanda M. Fortenberry, PhD, a biochemist and they share three children.