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University appoints first HBCU presidential fellow to expand HBCU relationships

Elfred Anthony Pinkard to organize HBCU partnership program set to launch in 2023-24

<p>In the news release, Sylvia Carey-Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity, noted the importance of maintaining stable relationships with other institutions that provide educational opportunities.</p>

In the news release, Sylvia Carey-Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity, noted the importance of maintaining stable relationships with other institutions that provide educational opportunities.

Elfred Anthony Pinkard, the current president of Wilberforce University in Ohio, was named Brown’s inaugural HBCU presidential fellow, according to an April 11 University press release. Pinkard will begin at Brown July 1.

In his role, Pinkard will lead efforts to build on the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership and organize a program — set to launch during the 2023-24 academic year — that will expand the University’s collaboration with historically Black colleges and universities in addition to its existing relationship with Tougaloo, Sylvia Carey-Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity, said in the release.

“I was really drawn to the idea that an institution with the stature and resources of Brown, with its historic and successful relationship with Tougaloo, can work together through an iterative process to support these institutions,” Pinkard said in the release.

“Brown is honoring and expanding its relationship with HBCUs with the goal of partnering with these institutions as they reimagine their futures and build on their noteworthy legacy of achievement against formidable odds,” he continued.


Pinkard’s appointment follows the University’s plans to “create a consortium of partner schools with goals of encouraging collaborative research, promoting faculty development, providing student exchange opportunities, increasing the number of HBCU undergraduates attending graduate school, building infrastructure capacity at participating HBCUs and inspiring leadership in higher education and policy development,” the news release reads.

Before taking his position at Wilberforce, the nation’s oldest private HBCU, Pinkard worked at a variety of other HBCUs including Johnson C. Smith University, Dillard University and Spelman College. 

He also serves on the board of directors of the Council of Independent Colleges and on the leadership team at the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, which offers opportunities in education and mentorship to “ensure that HBCUs survive and thrive as national models of achievement,” according to the organization’s website.

Pinkard received his bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College and a master’s degree from Howard University — both HBCUs — as well as a doctor of education from Harvard.

Pinkard will use his experience as an HBCU president to focus on Brown’s existing partnership with Tougaloo and “how we can engage (in) a mutually beneficial relationship” with other HBCUs, Carey-Butler said in an interview with The Herald.

The Brown-Tougaloo Partnership, established in 1964, has created opportunities for student exchange programs and faculty collaborations between the two institutions, according to the program’s website

In the news release, Carey-Butler noted the importance of collaborating with other institutions of education, including HBCUs, amid declining rates of Black enrollment in higher education. 

She also cited the University’s work to confront issues of inequality through the 2006 Slavery and Justice Report and its 2021 second edition as an inspiration for continued collaboration.

“We aim to build on the legacy of that work by creating a broader HBCU initiative, and I think it’s our responsibility to do that,” Carey-Butler said in the announcement.

“HBCUs are a special sector in the unique mosaic of American higher education,” Pinkard said.


“But the historical record is replete with examples of uneven resources, a challenging relationship with the federal government and the inability of many HBCUs to get before the philanthropic community to request the kind of support that builds financial strength. And yet HBCUs have persisted and been successful in graduating very impactful alumni.”

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Aniyah Nelson

Aniyah Nelson is a University News editor overseeing the undergraduate student life beat. She is a junior from Cleveland, Ohio concentrating in political science and sociology. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and watching bloopers from The Office.

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