Keith Whitfield Will Be the First Black President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The Nevada System of Higher Education’s board of regents voted to appoint Keith Whitfield as the next president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, When he takes office on August 24, Dr. Whitfield will be the university’s 11th permanent president and the first Black president in the university’s 63-year history.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas enrolls more than 25,000 undergraduate students and more than 5,000 graduate students, according to the most recent statistics furnished to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 8 percent of the undergraduate student body.

“This is truly, truly an honor. UNLV is a university that I have great respect for, and to be able to be a part of that is something I can’t express in words,” said Dr. Whitfield.

Dr. Whitfield has been serving as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and a professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit. Earlier, Professor Whitfield was vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University and held appointments as a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience and research professor in the department of geriatric medicine at Duke University Medical Center. His current research focuses on the relationship between stress and longevity in African American families.

The son of a U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel, Dr. Whitfield received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in life span developmental psychology from Texas Tech University.

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  1. When did become an accepted norm to REWARD poor performance in higher education like this appointment of Dr. Whitfield. For those who dissent, ask Dr. Whitfield why the retention and graduation rates for Black American students at Wayne State University were abysmal under his leadership.

    • This comment is not factually correct. While it is true that Wayne State University has a very low graduation rate for Black students, under Dr. Whitfield’s leadership, Black Graduation rates have risen significantly. You must look at more than a single data point to understand what has happened on this campus. As I am sure you understand.

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