Two African Americans Among the Four Finalists for President of St. Cloud State University

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees has announced a field of four candidates as finalists to be president of St. Cloud State University. The university, located 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis, enrolls nearly 14,000 undergraduate students and almost 2,000 graduate students. African Americans are 6 percent of the undergraduate student body.

The candidates have all visited campus this week for a series of interviews and public presentations. Two of the four finalists are African Americans.

Dione Somerville is the vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. She has served in that role since 2011. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Somerville was dean of students at Iowa State University. Earlier, she held student affairs posts at Lorain County Community College in Ohio, the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, and Ursuline College in Ohio. Dr. Somerville is a graduate of Ohio Northern University in Ada, where she majored in English. She earned a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Brian Johnson served as president of historically Black Tuskegee University in Alabama from 2014 to 2017. Previously, he was the chief diversity officer and assistant provost for academic affairs at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. Earlier in his career, Dr. Johnson was chief of staff in the president’s office at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. He as the founding director of the Jonathan Jasper Wright Institute for the Study of Southern African American History at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Dr. Johnson is a magna cum laude graduate of Johnson C. Smith University. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina.

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