A Trio of New African American Deans

Professor Emerita Shirley Hymon-Parker will lead the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University as interim dean. She served the college for 13 years prior to her retirement in 2022. During her tenure as associate dean of the agricultural research program, she provided oversight for more than $30 million a year in sponsored research from 2018-2022.

“I am delighted to return to the college as interim dean, during this time of transition, to be able to help steer our research, teaching, and outreach activities to new levels of excellence,” Professor Hymon-Parker said. “I will work tirelessly to fulfill our mission as we move to R1, the highest level of research attainment, to enhance our infrastructure and boost student success.”

Dr. Hymon-Parker is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, where she majored in home economics. She holds a master’s degree in apparel design from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in education policy, planning, and administration from the University of Maryland.

William H. Whitaker Jr. has been named dean of South Carolina State University’s Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College. Prior to accepting the Clyburn Honors College role, Whitaker served as acting dean of the new College of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Earlier, Dr. Whitaler was chair and professor in the department of family and consumer sciences. and served as acting associate provost in the Division of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Whitaker earned a bachelor’s degree in clothing, textiles, fashion, and interior merchandising from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University. He holds a master’s degree in merchandising management from the College of Human Ecology at Michigan State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Kentucky.

DeNeia Thomas is the new dean of the College of Professional Studies at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Dr. Thomas will hold supervisory responsibility over the Schools of Business, Education, and Nursing.

Previously, Dr. Thomas has served in numerous higher education administrative roles, such as vice president for enrollment and student success at Texas Southern University and chief of staff at West Virginia State University.

Dr. Thomas is a native of Kentucky. She completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kentucky State University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Kentucky.

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