President Obama has named George Cooper as the new executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Cooper who is the former president of South Carolina State University, fills the vacancy left by the departure of John Silvanus Wilson Jr. to become president of Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Dr. Cooper was president of South Carolina State University from 2008 to 2012 and his tenure there was filled with controversy. He was fired by the board in 2010 and then reinstated. In March 2012 President Cooper stated that he was leaving his post voluntarily but the university had been embroiled in controversy after Dr. Cooper fired eight administrators. Immediately before Dr. Cooper announced he was leaving the university, a committee of the faculty Senate issued a statement saying that the university was in “a state of crisis.”
Prior to becoming president of the university, Dr. Cooper was an administrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and he was vice president for academic affairs and professor of animal science at Alabama A&M University.
Dr. Cooper is a graduate of Florida A&M University. He earned a master’s degree in animal science at Tuskegee University and a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois.
Ivory A. Toldson, an associate professor of education at Howard University, was named deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Toldson is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He earned a master’s degree at Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education.