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.

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  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.

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