James A. Hefner, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Clark Atlanta University and former president of both Jackson State University and Tennessee State University, died on August 26. He was 76 years old and had suffered from cancer.
Dr. Hefner was a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he majored in economics. He held a master’s degree from Atlanta University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado.
Dr. Hefner served on the faculty at Morehouse College in Atlanta and chaired the department of business and economics there from 1974 to 1981. He was president of Jackson State University from 1984 to 1991 and then served for 14 years as president of Tennessee State University. At Tennessee State, Dr. Hefner also held the Thomas and Patricia Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship.
Glenda Glover, the current president of Tennessee State University, said in a statement that “Dr. Hefner devoted his entire adult life to serving others and expanding educational opportunities to all. As educators, we have lost a visionary and one of the best leaders to ever serve this great institution. He loved inspiring students and challenging them.”