Fisk’s Rome departs, Newkirk named interim president

Dr. Kevin D. Rome and Dr. Vann Newkirk, Sr.

Fisk University has parted ways with its current president after a little more than three years.

Dr. Kevin D. Rome took over July 1, 2017 from the chairman of the Fisk University Board of Trustees, Frank L. Sims, who was the interim president at the time.

“Fisk University has ended its relationship with Dr. Kevin D. Rome, Sr.,” the university said in a press release.  “The University thanks Dr. Rome for his service as president of Fisk and wishes the very best to him and his family. Dr. Vann Newkirk will serve as interim president.”

“Fisk is positioned for a wonderful future and we look forward to the years ahead,” said Frank L. Sims, chair, Fisk University Board of Trustees.

Dr. Newkirk received his doctorate in history from Howard University and has been a proven leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Dr. Newkirk served as provost for three years at Elizabeth City State University before joining the Fisk team as provost in 2018. Dr. Newkirk has held numerous senior administrative and academic positions throughout his outstanding career. His expertise in accreditation matters and programmatic development is nationally recognized, and he has established himself as a leader in the education technology space.

Dr. Newkirk has substantial experience managing budgets, overseeing major grants, supervising enrollment management, and spearheading the research. In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Newkirk is a published scholar and recipient of the Willie Parker Award. Since he arrived at Fisk, Newkirk has not only launched several highly successful new programs including bioinformatics, data science, and social justice, he has also been instrumental in the University’s accreditation process. According to Board Chair Frank Sims, Fisk has benefitted greatly from Dr. Newkirk’s leadership and we are confident he will lead the University to new heights in the coming years.

“I am honored by this opportunity and look forward to the days ahead,” said Dr. Newkirk. “I am excited about the existing momentum and Fisk is poised for a great future.”

According to Dr. Newkirk, Fisk has a critical role to play both in Nashville and across the country.

“Our students are excellent, our faculty outstanding, our board insightful, our alumni/supporters invigorated, our finances sound and our partnerships inspiring,” said Newkirk.

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