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Inside The Move Of Hip-Hop President Walter Kimbrough From HBCU Dillard University To Morehouse

Inside The Move Of Hip-Hop President Walter Kimbrough From HBCU Dillard University To Morehouse

Walter Kimbrough

Dr. Walter Kimbrough (Photo: Courtesy of Morehouse College)

Former Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough has taken his talents to Morehouse. The self-proclaimed Hip-Hop President is now the interim Executive Director of Morehouse College’s new Black Men’s Research Institute (BMRI).

Morehouse announced Kimbrough’s appointment to lead the institute in a press release.

In the release, Dr. Kendrick Brown, Morehouse’s Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, lauded Kimbrough’s visionary leadership as an HBCU president and said he would use his extensive gifts and education to lay a “strong foundation” at the BMRI.

“Along with President Thomas, I am thrilled to have Dr. Walter Kimbrough as the interim executive director of the Black Men’s Research Institute,” Brown said. “Dr. Kimbrough is an eminent and distinguished leader in higher education and a long-standing proponent of addressing the needs of Black men and their communities. He will enable BMRI to have a strong foundation upon which Morehouse’s enduring commitment to social justice, civic engagement, and multidisciplinary scholarship can be advanced.”

An Atlanta native, Kimbrough also expressed his excitement at returning to his hometown to begin the new endeavor.

“As someone who is often asked if I attended Morehouse, which is a great compliment, I am glad to finally be part of the Morehouse family,” Kimbrough said. “I’ve been actively working to better outcomes for Black men during my professional career, and this institute gives us an opportunity to develop research and most importantly actionable practices that may be implemented across the country.”


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Kimbrough joins Morehouse’s ranks one year after announcing his upcoming resignation from his position as president at Dillard.

“Dillard University and New Orleans have been awesome for our family, and we are thankful for the love and support,” Kimbrough wrote in a message to the university community, NOLA.com reported. “But it is time for a new challenge where my gifts and graces match the needs of an institution at this point in their history, and Dillard is ready for someone new to do likewise.”

“In this season of increased presidential departures, particularly due to retirements, there are a number of exciting possibilities at a diversity of institutions for which my talents may match,” Kimbrough’s message continued. 

He echoed similar sentiments on Twitter Sunday, Aug. 14. “Perfectly describes my announcement a year ago. Some couldn’t understand leaving when I did. It is for growth. Starting tomorrow I continue that process at @Morehouse,” Kimbrough tweeted along with a meme that demonstrates standing still doesn’t equate to growth.

During his 10-year tenure at Dillard, Kimbrough made some impressive gains. They include: convincing the U.S. government to forgive a $160 million loan given to the university to help repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina; increasing the endowment by over 115 percent to over $100 million; and increasing alum contributions from 4 percent to 23 percent, which is among the highest of all colleges and universities in the country, not just HBCUs.

Under Kimbrough’s leadership, Dillard also implemented film studies and physics programs; and restructured the school’s nursing program to become the College of Nursing.

Some wondered why he would leave after so much success, mainly because he’s only 53. However, Kimbrough said seven to 10 years is “optimal for a successful [collegiate] presidency,” and “the proper rhythm for most academic presidencies,” The Advocate reported.

Kimbrough also made it clear he wasn’t retiring, just transitioning. “I’m not ready to retire. I can do some other things,” he told NOLA.com.

Morehouse administrators aren’t the only ones grateful he’s chosen to bring his talents to the only HBCU in the nation dedicated to solely educating Black men. Some users expressed their excitement on Twitter.

“Congratulations @HipHopPrez! I know great and transformational things will happen under your leadership of this important institute. Looking forward to learning more. Wishing you all the best, @5280 wrote.

“Congratulations!! An incredible leader on all fronts!!” Dr. William S. Wainwright, the chancellor of Northshore Technical Community College wrote.