Four African American Scholars Who Have Been Appointed to Dean Positions

Yolanda Pierce was appointed dean of the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, effective July 1. Since 2017, she has been dean of the Howard University Divinity School in Washington, D.C. Earlier, Dr. Pierce was the Elmer C. Homrighausen Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and director of the Black Church Studies program at the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.

Dr. Pierce is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in English and religion. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in religion and literature from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

John W. Miller Jr. has been selected to serve as the next dean of the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science at the University of Louisville, effective July 1. Dr. Miller has been serving as dean of curriculum and senior diversity officer at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. Earlier, Dr. Miller held posts at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is the author of African American Perspectives: Matters of Consideration for Social Work Practice (Cognella Academic Publishing, 2016).

Dr. Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in experimental psychology and a master of social work degree from the University of South Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Tennessee.

Kristina K. Bethea Odejimi was named dean of students and associate vice president for belonging, engagement, and community at Emory University in Atlanta, effective June 1. Dr. Odejimi currently serves as dean of students at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Dr. Odejimi is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kelechi C. Ogbonna is the new dean of the School of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Ogbonna joined the faculty at the university in 2012. In 2016, he was appointed associate dean for admissions and student services at the School of Pharmacy.

The son of immigrants from Nigeria, Dr. Ogbonna earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He holds doctor of pharmacy degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston and later added a master’s degree in health administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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