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President of Tougaloo College stepping...

President of Tougaloo College stepping down

By: Anne Summerhays - June 6, 2023

Dr. Carmen J. Walters (Photo from Tougaloo College website)

Dr. Carmen J. Walters has served as the head of the institution since 2019. The Board Trustees will conduct a national search for the college’s next president.

Effective June 30, 2023, at the completion of the 2022-2023 fiscal year, current President of Tougaloo College, Dr. Carmen J. Walters, will be stepping down from her role.

According to the college, Dr. Walters was named as the 14th President of Tougaloo College in July 2019. She brought over 24 years of leadership in curriculum and policy development, fundraising, student enrollment and retention management, team building, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and organizational management to the job as the head of the institution. 

In a statement, Dr. Walters said that as she reflects on her time as President, she wishes to thank the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni for their support.

“It has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to represent this distinguished institution through my interactions with several national leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to represent Tougaloo College,” Dr. Walters said. “Our beloved Eagle Queen is magnificent to behold. Tougaloo has a rich history and a promising future. I will always reflect on my tenure at the College with pride and root for its continued success as a passionate supporter.”

Edmond E. Hughes, Jr. Chairman of the Tougaloo College Board of Trustees, said on behalf of the Board of Trustees, they thank Dr. Walters for her service to the College and her efforts to build upon their 155-year history.

“We are especially grateful to Dr. Walters for her leadership over these past four years – leading the College through the COVID-19 global pandemic, significantly increasing the College’s endowment, and strengthening our external partnerships with organizations such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), among others,” Hughes said in a statement. “We, along with the entire Tougaloo College family, wish her well in her future endeavors.”

The Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed Dr. Donzell Lee to serve as President in an interim capacity.

Dr. Donzell Lee

The Tougaloo College Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for the college’s next president.

The Board of Trustees said that Dr. Lee, who will serve as President in an interim capacity effective July 1, 2023, is a highly respected university administrator, faculty leader, public servant, and educational consultant with more than 40 years of diverse leadership experience. He served as Interim President of Alcorn State University during its 2018-19 presidential search and later as Special Assistant to the President during the 2019-2020 academic year. Prior to that service, he served Alcorn for decades.

Dr. Lee retired in July 2020 and was named Professor Emeritus at Alcorn.

“We greatly appreciate Dr. Lee for his willingness to pause his retirement and lend his extraordinary leadership talents and deep expertise in higher education to our beloved Eagle Queen, and we welcome him to the Tougaloo family,” Hughes stated. 

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: