Yesterday, Howard University announced that after a yearlong search Ben Vinson III, PhD has been named the university’s 18th president. 

Vinson most recently served as the provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleaveland where he was responsible for all facets of academic and university research.

As the newly appointed president of Howard, Vinson is returning to the Washington, D.C. area as he previously served in senior leadership roles at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University.  

Vinson will succeed Wayne A. I. Frederick who has served as Howard’s 17th president since 2014. 

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

Vinson earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College with a double major in history and classical studies, summa cum laude, where he also serves on the advisory board for the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. He earned a doctorate in Latin American history, with distinction, from Columbia University. 

While at CWRU Vinson led the university’s “Think Big” strategic planning initiative and helped facilitate the increase in underrepresented students over the course of four years. 

He previously served on the faculties of Barnard College and Penn State University before joining Johns Hopkins University as a professor of history and founding director of its Center for Africana Studies. At Johns Hopkins, he went on to serve as a vice dean for centers, interdisciplinary studies, and graduate education before becoming dean of George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. 

Vinson is an accomplished historian of the African diaspora with a focus on Blacks in Latin America, and the author of several books, including “Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico.”

“Dr. Vinson is the right leader to usher Howard into its next era,” Leslie Hale, vice chair of the university’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “As a historian, he reveres the Howard legacy and brings a bold perspective of where Howard University should sit within the upper echelon of academic institutions.”

Vinson will assume the position of Howard’s president on Sept. 1.

“The opportunity to lead Howard at this historic juncture represents 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,” said Vinson. “Combined with the uniquely transformational power of a Howard education, the students, faculty, staff, and alumni constitute a positive force of change in our society. Our world needs Howard at maximum strength.”