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Friday, June 14, 2024

Tuskegee University Announces ’86 Alumnus As 10th President And CEO


Tuskegee, Alabama — The Tuskegee University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark Brown ‘86 as the university’s 10th president and chief executive officer. Dr Brown’s selection is the first time in Tuskegee’s nearly 143-year history that an alum will lead the university. He will begin his tenure on July 1. 

The Board of Trustees approved the retired Air Force Major General’s nomination after several talented leaders stepped forward to succeed Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, the university’s ninth president.

The university announced the retirement of Dr. Morris last fall after almost 40 years of service. At that time, the search firm Storbeck developed a committee of university representatives at all levels – Trustees, faculty, staff, alums, and students – to develop the confidential process to review candidate applications and participate in interviews.

“The Board of Trustees conducted a thorough search process, considering candidates from across the nation, and was impressed by Dr. Brown’s vision, expertise, and passion for higher education,” said Norma Clayton, Chair of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees. “Working with the Board, we are confident that he will provide a clear vision, direction, strong leadership, and guidance  to evolve and grow the university.”

Dr. Brown’s extensive executive experience includes the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business,  and the Robert and Edith Broad Academy for Urban School Superintendents, now hosted at the Yale School of Management.

An educational leader

Dr. Brown, who received his bachelor’s from Tuskegee in accounting, earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy University, a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the Air Command and Staff College, a Master’s in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and his doctorate in Education from Baylor University. His experience in education is varied and distinguished.

While a Major General in the Air Force, Dr. Brown served as Deputy Commander of Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. AETC recruits, trains, and educates Air Force personnel. His command included the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered Air Forces, and two fully accredited graduate and doctoral degree-granting universities: Air University and the Air Force Institute of Technology. AETC operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter, and mobility aircraft, 23 wings, 10 bases, and five geographically separated groups. The command trains more than 293,000 Airmen annually, with approximately 60,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian, and contractor personnel.

After retiring from the Air Force with 32 years of service, Dr. Brown expanded his educational service as the chief operating officer of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid, which had a lending portfolio of $1.7 trillion equivalent to that of the nation’s five largest consumer lending banks. As COO, he was responsible for all of the nation’s Title IV funding.

Dr. Mark Brown was named the 10th president and chief executive officer of Tuskegee University by the Board of Trustees.

Most recently, he has served as president and chief executive officer of the Student Freedom Initiative based in Washington, D.C. The Student Freedom Initiative is the vision of billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith after his historic gift to eliminate the student loan debt of the Morehouse College class of 2019.

As the first President and Chief Executive Officer, he and his staff provide four components to 63 HBCUs, which also includes two Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. The capabilities include agreements to fund any educational attendance requirements beyond what is paid for through Federal programs, such as Pell Grants, Work-Study, and Federal Student Loans. SFI is also focused on elevating the communities around its school by providing critical resources such as access to high-speed broadband, cybersecurity upgrades, affordable living spaces, and solar energy.

“I am grateful and humbled by the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Alumni, Students, Community Leaders, and all of Mother Tuskegee for the opportunity to return home to lead our University into the second quarter of the 21st Century,” said Dr. Brown. “Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Morris, I am convinced that Tuskegee is well positioned to continue its global impact by producing students ready for leadership in our rapidly changing world, yet grounded in the journey of our forefathers. Gwen and I can’t wait to get started!”

Building a distinguished career

Dr. Brown was commissioned through the Tuskegee University Air Force ROTC program in 1986. He served in comptroller, command, and staff positions at all U.S. Department of Defense levels, including two assignments as congressional liaison to the United States House of Representatives.

His global experience includes serving in the Philippines, Spain, England, Turkey and Iraq. In addition, he has commanded four times at ascending levels, deploying in support of Operation Provide Comfort, and served as the Assistant Executive Officer for the 17th Air Force Chief of Staff. He was also the Financial Management Senior Military Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer for Air Force Materiel Command, responsible for a portfolio greater than $60 billion, 38 percent of the Air Force budget.

Leadership for Tuskegee’s future

Tuskegee University, a land-grant historically Black university in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Tuskegee University is a land-grant historically Black university in Tuskegee, Alabama.

“The Board’s nomination reflects our confidence that Dr. Mark Brown is the right leader to sustain and enhance Tuskegee University’s momentum as one of our nation’s top universities,” said Trustee and alum Jonathan Porter, who chaired the search committee.  “Dr. Brown has the right combination of experience and innovative thinking that will propel TU to the next level nationally and globally.  I appreciate his commitment to serving his alma mater and his dedication to improving the lives of its students.”

A statement from the Board of Trustees said: “On behalf of the entire Tuskegee family, we extend a warm welcome to Dr. Brown and his family. We look forward to working together toward the success of the university and the broader Tuskegee community.”

Dr. Brown is married to Gwendolyn Jackson Brown, his wife of 33 years. They have two adult children, Mark II and Michael.



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