theGrio’s 100: Walter Kimbrough, the 'hip-hop' college president

Who is Walter Kimbrough?

Walter Kimbrough embodies success. Following impressive academic achievements, which include a doctorate degree, he embarked on a successful career in education.

The Atlanta native is the current president of Dillard University.  Prior to this role, he served as president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he significantly increased the student enrollment and graduation rate.

Kimbrough’s motivation is to make an impact. He has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs, black fraternities and sororities, and African-American men in college, including the establishment of the Black Male Initiative at Philander Smith College.

He has received several honors and awards. In 2009, he was named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of 25 To Watch. A year later, he was cited by Bachelors as one of 25 college presidents you should follow on Twitter.

Two years ago, he made the coveted Ebony magazine power list of the 100 doers and influencers in the African-American community. Recently, he was named by New Orleans magazine as one of the 2012 People to Watch.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Dubbed the “hip-hop” college president, Dr. Walter Kimbrough strikes an unlikely figure. At the age of 45, Kimbrough’s newly appointed role at Dillard University makes him one of the youngest college presidents in the nation.

This achievement is even more impressive when you consider the average age of a president is over 60, according to a 2012 study by the American Council on Education.

What’s next for Kimbrough?

Dillard, a private HBCU, in New Orleans, suffered extensive damage in the aftermath of Katrina. Nearly a decade after the devastation, the college which is home to 1,300 undergraduates, is moving up in he world. In 2012, it was ranked in the top 10 list of HBCUs in the U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Kimbrough, who has been on the job for only seven months, told theGrio, “Dillard is in a great position almost a decade after Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “Our job now is to shift from recovery and rebuilding to repositioning ourselves as a higher education leader, and revolutionizing the education we provide to our students and our community.”

Follow Walter Kimbrough on Twitter at @HipHopPrez