Wilberforce University has appointed Dr. Vann R. Newkirk as the 23rd president. He succeeds Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard who retired in March 2022. Newkirk’s tenure is set to begin in July 2023.

In a news release issued by the school, Newkirk expressed his excitement and gratitude about leading Wilberforce into the future. One of the key aspects of his vision is to increase the university’s fund-raising efforts by establishing strong ties with community stakeholders.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the Wilberforce University community,” Dr. Newkirk said. “As an HBCU graduate, I also understand the transformative power of these institutions and I look forward to working with the talented faculty, staff, and students at Wilberforce to continue the university’s legacy of excellence.” He continued, “Our students are young people who have dreams and aspirations when they come to us. We have to guide them to the right kind of career paths.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Newkirk to Wilberforce University,” added Board of Trustees Chair Mark Wilson. “His experience, vision, and commitment to educating our students make him the ideal choice to lead our university into the future.”

In his distinguished career in higher education, Newkirk served as provost, vice president of academic affairs and former president of Fisk University. Also, he was an interim associate vice president at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville.

Newkirk received his undergraduate degree in sociology from Barber-Scotia College, earned a Master of Arts degree in history from Winthrop University, a Master of Science degree from North Carolina Central University and a Ph.D. in history from Howard University.