Dr. Horace A. Judson
Councilman Chris Woodhull and Rev. R. Christopher Cairns Added to Trustee Board
The Knoxville College Board of Trustees has unanimously selected Dr. Horace A. Judson, former president of Grambling State University and Plattsburgh State University of New York, as interim president, giving the only historically black college in East Tennessee its first full-time leader in five years.
“The Trustees are elated that Dr. Judson has agreed to serve as interim president of Knoxville College,” said Board Chair George E. Curry. “He has established an outstanding record as a visionary, as an innovator and as a proficient fundraiser while serving as president of two very different universities.”
“I realize this is a challenging assignment,” Dr. Judson said. “But I am convinced that if all segments of the Knoxville Community pull together, we can continue to provide educational opportunities for thousands of students who might not otherwise attend college.”
Dr. Johnnie Cannon, chief operating officer of Knoxville College, has agreed to continue assisting Knoxville College.
Curry said, “Dr. Cannon has provided exceptional service and leadership as COO and we will forever be grateful to him. We are delighted that he has unselfishly agreed to continue helping the college.”
Also agreeing to help the college are two local leaders who were elected to the Board of Trustees this weekend: City Councilman Chris Woodhull and Rev. R. Christopher Cairns. Woodhull is also executive director of the TRIBE ONE, an inner city Christian youth ministry that helps youth avoid a life of gangs and drugs. Rev. Cairns is Vicar of the Apostles Anglican Church. Both had done volunteer work at the college prior to their election to the Board.
Dr. Barbara Hatton, the last full-time Knoxville College president, served for eight years.
Dr. Robert H. Harvey followed her as acting president.
Knoxville College has developed a strategic plan that places a greater emphasis on science and math to take advantage of such community jewels as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and TVA. It is the nation’s only African-American work college.
Dr. Judson served as president of Plattsburgh State University of New York from 1994 to 2003 and as president of Grambling State University, a historically black college in Louisiana, from 2004 until last fall.
After graduating from Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, Dr. Judson earned his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. His science background is expected to be particularly helpful as the college continues to reposition itself.
Board Chair Curry said that Dr. Judson’s diverse educational background, both as a student and as an administrator – as well as his sterling accomplishments – made him a particularly attractive candidate.
At Grambling, Dr. Judson spearheaded a $135 million capital improvement program that included a new Assembly Center, Food Court and major renovations of the Student Union Annex, Dining Hall and Book Store. Under his leadership, the number of international students grew from 48 to 505. He balanced the budget every year and made major technology infrastructure improvements.
As president of Plattsburgh State University of New York, Dr. Judson saw enrollment grow from 5,500 students to 6,250. The endowment doubled from $6 million to $12 million over a 9-year period and annual giving tripled. Under Dr. Judson’s leadership, the university initiated five new academic programs and six new sports.
In addition to serving as president of two universities, Dr. Judson held numerous high-level administrative positions, including working as vice president for academic affairs at Morgan State University and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of California (Stanislaus).
“Most people know that by 2042, minorities will make up more than half of the U. S. population,” Dr. Judson observed. “The population shift will be even more dramatic among children. By 2023 – just 13 years from now – minorities will be more than half of all children. By 2050, that figure will rise to 62 percent.
“Our very future as a nation depends on how well we educate and care for our youth. Knoxville College has established an excellent record since its founding in 1875 and is poised to make an even greater contribution in the future.”