The higher education veteran will begin January 5, 2021
Memphis, Tenn. – The LeMoyne-Owen College Board of Trustees voted to appoint Vernell Bennett-Fairs, Ed.D. as the College’s 13th president.
Dr. Bennett-Fairs has over 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving as vice-president of Student Affairs at Delta State University in Mississippi for four and a half years. At Delta State University, her career accomplishments include increasing student enrollment, realigning the college’s scholarship budget and assisting in attracting students from over 50 countries. Dr. Bennett-Fairs also served in a similar role at HBCU, Kentucky State University, where she instituted innovative recruitment strategies such as a coordinated recruitment program and faculty teaching days in high schools. Her leadership is based in collaboration, relationships and student-centered strategies.
Dr. Bennett-Fairs was selected from a pool of 78 highly qualified candidates during the College’s six-month long presidential search, which included a rigorous vetting process of interviews and assessments. The search was facilitated by ABG (Association of Governing Boards) Search and supported by a board-appointed Presidential Search Committee representing College faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners.
“We selected Dr. Bennett-Fairs because of her vast experience in higher education and we are especially impressed with her student recruitment successes,” Johnny Pitts, LOC Search Committee Chair. “LeMoyne-Owen College is poised to continue to advance with her at the helm.”
As president, Dr. Bennett-Fairs will be responsible for providing executive leadership with overall responsibility for strategic planning, fundraising, administration, and management of all aspects of the College’s components. Her appointment follows Dr. Carol Johnson Dean’s tenure as the College’s interim president for nearly two years.
“The Board of Trustees commends the Search Committee for conducting a stellar search process and selecting such a qualified candidate in Dr. Bennett-Fairs,” says Patricia Covington, LOC Board of Trustees Chair. “We are looking forward to even more transformative work for LeMoyne-Owen College under her leadership.”
LeMoyne-Owen experienced a series of successes in 2020 including having a historic $40 million endowment established by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and securing a partnership with Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare to expand its health and wellness services for students.
Dr. Bennett-Fairs will begin her new role as LeMoyne-Owen College president effective January 5, 2021. For more information, visit www.loc.edu.