Rutgers GSE CMSI

HBCU: The Power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a pivotal role in promoting social and economic mobility for African Americans and in mentoring the next generation of Black leaders. In their latest book, HBCU: The Power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Marybeth Gasman and Levon T. Esters explore the remarkable impact and contributions of these significant institutions. Listen to a discussion on sustaining HBCUs’ invaluable legacy with the two authors, moderated by CMSI and Proctor Institute President in Residence Walter Kimbrough. Participants of this webinar will get a 30% discount code for the book. Click here to get your copy.

Date & Time: February 27, 2024 at 2:30 PM ET

Moderated by Walter Kimbrough, Former President, Philander Smith College and Dillard University, & CMSI President in Residence

Speakers include:

  • Marybeth Gasman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University
  • Levon Esters, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, The Pennsylvania State University


About Marybeth Gasman 

Marybeth Gasman is the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education, a Distinguished Professor, and the Associate Dean for Research in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity & Justice and the Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. Marybeth is the Chair of the Rutgers University, New Brunswick Faculty Council. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, Marybeth was the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Endowed Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise include the history of American higher education, Minority Serving Institutions (with an emphasis on Historically Black Colleges and Universities), racism and diversity, fundraising and philanthropy, and higher education leadership. She is the author or editor of 33 books, including Educating a Diverse Nation (Harvard University Press, 2015 with Clif Conrad), Envisioning Black Colleges (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), Making Black Scientists (Harvard University Press, 2019 with Thai-Huy Nguyen), and her latest book Doing the Right Thing: How to End Systemic Racism in Faculty Hiring (Princeton University, 2022). Marybeth has written over 250 peer-reviewed articles, scholarly essays, and book chapters. She has penned over 450 opinion articles for the nation’s newspapers and magazines and is ranked by Education Week as one of the most influential education scholars in the nation. Marybeth has raised over $23 million in grant funding to support her research and that of her students, mentees, and MSI partners. She has served on the board of trustees of The College Board as well as historically Black colleges – Paul Quinn College, Morris Brown College, and St. Augustine College. She considers her proudest accomplishment to be receiving the University of Pennsylvania’s Provost Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring, serving as the dissertation chair for over 83 doctoral students since 2000.

About Levon T. Esters

Levon T. Esters is the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School at The Pennsylvania State University. Levon also holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University as well as a Senior Research Associate at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. Levon is a nationally recognized scholar on mentoring, equity, and diversity in STEM-based agricultural and life sciences disciplines. His research focuses on issues of equity and access of marginalized and minoritized students with a concentration on the mentoring needs of Black graduate students, the STEM career development of students attending Historically Black Land Grant Universities, and educational and professional mobility and development of Black graduate students and faculty. Levon is among a few Black scholars in the United States conducting research in these areas and has been able to serve as a role model for Black graduate students who are committed to broadening the participation of marginalized and minoritized students in the Ag+STEM disciplines.

Levon earned his B.S. in Agricultural Business from Florida A&M University, his M.S. in Agricultural Education from North Carolina A&T State University, and his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Extension Education from The Pennsylvania State University.

About Walter Kimbrough

A native of Atlanta, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough was his high school salutatorian and student body president in 1985 and went on to earn degrees from the University of Georgia, Miami University in Ohio, and a doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in student affairs, serving at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, and Albany State University. In October of 2004, at the age of 37, he was named the 12th president of Philander Smith College. In 2012 he became the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and served for ten years.

Kimbrough served as the interim executive director of the Black Men’s Research Institute at Morehouse College during the 2022-23 academic year. He was also named executive in residence for the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. In early 2022 he was appointed by President Joseph Biden to the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs. 

Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college. Recently he has emerged as one of the leaders discussing free speech on college campuses. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media. He was cited by Education Dive as one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right (@HipHopPrez), and in 2015 he was named by The Best as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents. In 2023 College Cliffs named him as one of the 55 Top U.S. College And University Presidents, and in 2021 he was named a Georgia State University Alumni of the Year award winner.