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Howard Welcomes 18th President, Ben Vinson III, Ph.D.

Ben Vinson III, PhD, launched his presidency as keynote speaker of opening convocation.

Vinson sings the alma mater

Ben Vinson III, PhD, started his presidency with a keynote speech to the Howard community at this year’s opening convocation on September 15, 2023.

Donning the Howard blue-and-white regalia, Vinson recounted the first time he visited Howard’s campus when he was about 12 years old and saw a Howard student dressed in a starched white shirt and carrying a briefcase.

“It seemed he had places to be, people to see, something to accomplish. Nothing stood in his way, although he paused long enough to smile my way. That image of accomplishment, drive, and determination has never left me. It has always defined what Howard University is, in thought and in action. I knew then, as I do now, that there is rich treasure right here on these grounds.

“The treasure is the people, the mission, the building of character and mind that – person by person – happens here like nowhere else. Howard fortifies each member of our community with an internal strength and instills in each of us a confidence, a pride, a knowledge, and an uncompromising pursuit of excellence in truth and service. I couldn’t be more honored to stand before you today, in this regalia, as an official member of our community; and as I do, I carry that image of that determined Howard student in my mind. I remain as captivated by Howard University as I was when I first entered its gates those many years ago.” 

The community is excited about his tenure. “He [seems] very happy to be here. It seems like he wants to do a lot for the campus and school. I’m excited to see what he does,” said sophomore Eseosa Eregia, an international business major from Dallas.

James T. Jackson, PhD, associate professor in the School of Education, agreed. “I’m excited that we have a new type of energy. I’m hopeful that he will bring with him an ethos of shared governance,” he said. “[Vinson’s scholarship] adds to the historical context of Howard University and something we’ve been able to achieve since our inception.”

Vinson’s first few months in office included kicking off the Bison engagement tour; a visit from the president of Guyana, Irfaan Ali; and leading his first Howard Homecoming.

As he acknowledged that he came on board to lead Howard at the University’s high point, he said people should never become too comfortable where they are.

“Is the strongest we’ve ever been the strongest we can absolutely be?” he asked the crowd at opening convocation. “I believe our collective mission is to aim even greater, and I will do everything in my power to steward us there.” 


This story appears in the Fall 2023 issue.
Article ID: 1716

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