Walter Kimbrough, the 41 year-old president of Philander Smith College, speaks with Bakari Kitwana about the current state of Historically Black College and Universities. “HBCUs will be irrelevant without a revolution of leadership,” says Kimbrough, who shares success stories from his own experience as president for the last four years. Kimbrough’s strategies at Philander Smith have resulted in increased enrollment as other HBCUs have suffered a recent decline. For Kimbrough, who’s regularly on Facebook communicating with students and who hosts the popular hip-hop lecture series on his campus, “Bless the Mic,” direct, personal contact is the key. Dr. Kimbrough also speaks here about his forthcoming book, which continues his research into Black Greek letter organizations-observing that when it comes to the new Black leadership in the Obama administration: “it’s devoid both of HBCU graduates and members of Black fraternities and sororities.” He insists that this a historical shift, and “a wake up call,” for these nearly century-old Black institutions.
Walter Kimbrough is president of Philander Smith College, a leading researcher on Black Greek letter organizations, and the author of Black Greek 101.