Six African Americans Who Are Taking on New Administrative Duties in Higher Education

Lydia G. Sermons has been selected to serve as vice president of public relations and communications at Spelman College in Atlanta. She most recently served as vice president of strategic positioning and alignment for Population Action International, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for the rights of women and girls abroad.

Sermons is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. She holds a master’s degree in communication from American University in Washington, D.C.

Roderick Johnson is the new director of financial aid at Virginia Union University in Richmond. He is the former director of financial aid at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee.

Dr. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Memphis. He earned two MBAs from Strayer University and a doctorate in educational leadership and practice from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.

Katrina Poe is the new executive director of the student health center at Mississippi State University. Dr. Poe joined came to the university in 2018 as a staff physician at the health center.

Dr. Poe is a graduate of Mississippi State University. She earned her medical doctorate at the University of Mississippi.

Austin Jamar Banks is the new acting vice chancellor for student affairs at the Univerity of Colorado Boulder. Banks has been serving as associate vice chancellor and dean of students. Prior to joining the staff at the University of Colorado, Banks served as an associate vice chancellor and dean of students for student affairs at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.

Banks earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership with a specialization in leadership and multicultural student development and retention from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Elizabeth Horton has been promoted to director of the Office of Graduate Services at South Carolina State University. She has served as the administrative assistant in the department of education for the last seven years. Horton joined the university’s staff in 2000 as the data entry specialist in the School of Graduate Studies.

Horton received a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and a master’s degree in counseling education from South Carolina State University.

Latonia Garrett was appointed director of the Warrior 360 program at Wayne State University in Detroit. Warrior 360 is a student support program that concentrates its efforts on first-generation college students and students from historically marginalized groups. Since 2019, Garrett has been serving as director of the Student Service Center at the university. Earlier, she was assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement at Wayne State.

Garrett is a graduate of Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan, where she majored in journalism. She holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and is pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at Wayne State University.

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