Vernell Bennett-Fairs Named the Thirteenth President of LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis

The board of trustees of historically Black LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee, has appointed Vernell A. Bennett-Fairs as the college’s 13th president. She will take office on January 1.

“I’ve been prepared to be a president for some time now,” Dr. Bennett-Fairs told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “But I didn’t apply until the presidency that came along that I was interested in. The presidency of an institution where I feel I can be impactful and really gel with the faculty, staff, students, the community. LeMoyne-Owen College is the first presidency I applied for, because that was the right one.”

LeMoyne-Owen College enrolls just over 800 students, according to the latest data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 97 percent of the student body.

Since 2016, Dr. Bennett-Fairs has been serving as vice president for student affairs at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Earlier, she was vice president for student affairs at Kentucky State University.

Dr. Bennett-Fairs is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, where she majored in vocal performance. She earned a master’s degree in vocal performance from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate in instruction and administration from the University of Kentucky.

Related Articles


  1. Congratulations Dr. Bennett-Fairs and LeMoyne-Owen College, I sang in the Central State University Chorus as a principle voice before pursuing a career in higher education. The exposure of touring with the chorus, at the behest of the conductor, William Henry Caldwell, speaking to audiences about Central at intermission, really jump started it for me recruiting. My first role almost 20 years ago was in Enrollment. I look forward to following LeMoyne-Owen’s progress, Memphis is my other home. Again, congratulations.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

American Students Studying Abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa

In the 2021-22 academic year, there were 4,614 American students who studied at universities in sub-Saharan Africa. This is about one tenth of the number of students from sub-Saharan Africa studying at U.S. universities.

Marcus L. Thompson Named the Thirteenth President of Jackson State University

Dr. Thompson has more than 20 years of leadership experience in early childhood, K-12 education, and higher education. He has been serving as the deputy commissioner and chief administrative officer of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, where for over a decade he has been responsible for overseeing IHL staff.

U.S. Public Schools Remain Separate and Unequal

Approximately 522,400 students, or 1 percent of overall student enrollment, attended public schools where fewer than half of the teachers met all state certification requirements. Of the students attending those schools, 66 percent were Black and Latino students.

Featured Jobs