Former Chicago State President Joins Restructured Executive Cabinet at Kentucky State

Eight months after a controversial dismissal as Chicago State University president, Thomas Calhoun was yesterday named as the vice-president of student engagement and campus life at Kentucky State University, one of several new hires made by newly appointed president M. Christopher Brown II.

Dr. Calhoun joins new vice-presidents from several HBCUs nationwide as a part of an institutional realignment, which officials say more closely reflects the goals of the university’s five-year strategic plan to grow enrollment and increase institutional effectiveness.

Other appointees scheduled to start at KSU by July 5 include:

  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Debbie G. Thomas, Ph.D. The former dean of Academic Affairs at Capital Community College in Connecticut. Under Dr. Thomas’ leadership, the school launched new degree and training programs in theater arts and insurance analysis over the last academic year, while winning multiple national awards for diversity building.
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore Vice President for Administrative Affairs Kevin Appleton will join as Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
  • Clara Ross Stamps will join as vice president for enrollment management and brand identity. A former Alcorn State University executive with charge over media relations and marketing recently won the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s Grand Award for print and electronic media for its alumni publication, Alcorn: The Magazine. 
  • Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations: Rick W. Smith, Sr., MBA. Smith is the interim vice president for External Relations and Development at Kentucky State University.

According to Dr. Brown, the hires represent the board’s commitment to repositioning the university’s brand and value in Kentucky and throughout higher education.

“In order to ensure the five strategic goals in Kentucky State’s current strategic plan are met, academic prioritization and unit realignment are essential,” he said in an email statement to the HBCU Digest. “In fact, program prioritization is critical to enrollment growth and market credibility. This is the first step in building a strong foundation for maintaining and improving the quality of academic and administrative programs across the university.”

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