Breaking News: Fisk Chairman Dr. Vann Newkirk Steps Down, Board Chairman Frank L. Sims Named Acting Chairman

Nashville, Tennessee. (TN Tribune) – The Fisk University Board of Trustees today announced the departure of Dr. Vann R. Newkirk as President of the University. Effective immediately, Board Chairman Frank L. Sims will assume the role of Acting President.

“The Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that Fisk University continues to excel as a leading academic institution and that our future is defined by a shared vision and set of values,” said the President Sims. “The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that the next chapter in Fisk’s future calls for new leadership. We thank Dr. Newkirk for his services and wish him good luck in his future endeavours. We look forward to conducting a thorough and thorough search process for our next president.”

Frank L. Sims

Mr. Sims has long been a valued member of the community and a trusted advisor to Fisk. He retired in 2008 from Cargill, Inc., where he led large strategic business segments in the United States and internationally. He brings experience and stability to his new position, having served as interim president of the University from 2015 to 2017.

Nashville’s oldest institution of higher learning, Fisk University has enjoyed a remarkable recovery over the past six years. Since 2016/17, it has seen unprecedented growth in several key areas, resulting in four consecutive years of operating surpluses. The most notable results include:

Five consecutive years of fundraising records (2017-2022) With the highest totals in 2019/20 and 2020/21 combined for over $30,000,000.

· Four consecutive years of enrollment growth with an increase of almost 40%. Fisk’s current registration is 1,050 compared to 628 over the past five years.

· A significant increase in overall funding.

Fisk’s transformation over the past six years is underpinned by huge increases in fundraising and enrollment that have provided unprecedented resources for improvement. These results are all part of a clear vision designed by and reflected by Board leadership and delivered by a variety of exceptional teams and institutional areas.

The deep relationships, incredible partnerships and excellent student outcomes that are now capturing national attention are due to the dedication and long-term work of many, and the University looks forward to building on this momentum under new leadership.

Fisk board member Juliette Pryor (’86) is the new board chair, and board member JoLinda Herring (’85) will chair the national search committee for the next Fisk president. university.

“The board remains deeply committed to the approach that got Fisk to this point and will now continue to aim for an even brighter future,” said Juliette Pryor (’86). “For Fisk to continue on its current trajectory of becoming a leader in higher education again, it will take a commitment to go further and deliver a bolder proposition than ever before. Today’s educational climate is extremely competitive and Fisk is ready to meet that challenge.

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