A Sudden Change in Leadership at Fisk University in Nashville

Kevin D.  Rome Sr., president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, was placed on leave after a man filed a restraining order against him. The man, who claims he was in a relationship with the Fisk president, accused Dr. Rome of drugging him and doing damage to his home. President Rome stated that the accusations are false.

On July 1, 2017, Dr. Rome became the sixteenth president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to becoming the president at Fisk, Dr. Rome served as the nineteenth president of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, from June 2013 to June 2017. Dr. Rome is a graduate of Morehouse College. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Fisk University board of trustees immediately appointed Vann Newkirk, provost at Fisk, as acting president. Dr. Newkirk has been serving as provost since late 2018. Earlier, he served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and as a professor of history at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Prior to that, he was associate provost and dean of the graduate school at Alabama A&M University.

Dr. Newkirk holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina, a master’s degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a master’s degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham, and a Ph.D. in history from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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