Fisk University’s Statement on Recent Leadership Changes

Monday, Aug. 10, Fisk University learned that allegations unrelated to our school had been made against University President Kevin Rome, Ph.D. As this is a personal matter not connected to the school, we cannot comment on the specifics. Dr. Rome has been placed on leave until the matter is resolved and Provost Vann Newkirk, Ph.D., will assume his duties effective immediately.

Dr. Newkirk has a 25-year career in creating innovative educational programs. He joined Fisk in 2018 and in that time his leadership has been outstanding. Some of his most notable achievements at Fisk include:
• Led the successful June 2020 on-site special committee visit by SACSCOC
• Guided Fisk’s COVID-19 response and school re-opening plan for fall 2020 semester
• Launched the Fisk Learning and Development Program (FLDP), a training and development platform for faculty and staff
• Successfully transitioned to a hybrid virtual campus by facilitating remote access through specialized software.

“Dr. Newkirk has made tremendous contributions as provost and we look forward to his continued leadership,” said Board Chair Frank Sims. “Fisk has experienced several outstanding years and we are convinced the next few years will be the best in the University’s esteemed history.”

Fisk has seen many successes over the years. In just the past two years it has
• Increased enrollment by more than 32 percent
• ACT/SAT scores for incoming freshmen have improved from the 55th percentile to the 73rd percentile nationally.
• Produced two Rhodes Scholar finalists
• Launched multiple new academic programs
• Increased corporate internships by 41%
• Grown academic grants to over $8,500,000 for this past year
• Raised over $21,500,000 including an increase in endowment.

Fisk University has stood the test of time. For more than a hundred and fifty years, the school has enabled students to pursue their futures and realize their dreams. We are confident that all of our alumni, friends, and supporters will help us continue in our mission to positively change student lives and reach new heights.