Michelle R. Howard-Vital, the former president of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, died on August 21 at Duke Regional Hospital in North Carolina. She was 65 years old and had suffered from cancer.
Dr. Howard-Vital became Cheyney University’s eleventh and first woman president in 2007. She served in that role until 2014. During her tenure, she secured funding for a new 400-bed student residence hall and a LEED-certified science center and planetarium, which were the first structures built on campus in over 30 years.
In addition to her position at Cheyney University, Howard-Vital held a number of posts at various higher education institutions throughout the country such as the University of Illinois at Chicago, Harold Washington College, Chicago State University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
After stepping down as president of Cheyney University, Dr. Howard-Vital was named provost at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. A year later, she was appointed interim president.
Dr. Howard-Vital earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and her master’s degree in teaching English from the University of Chicago. She received a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago.