This special 90-minute addition to the Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education series focused on the threat to HBCUs and Black spaces at the University of Utah and universities across the country. Together with the Council of 1890 Universities, the University of Utah gathered together presidents from HBCU institutions to discuss:
- How institutions are faring in the wake of the threats
- What supports institutions are providing students, faculty, and staff
- What can be done on a national level to support and protect these spaces
The purpose of this forum was to amplify national awareness of this growing threat and showcased that while these scare tactics are designed to distract, threaten, and intimidate, these presidents and University of Utah leadership have resolved to effectively create safe spaces where Black people can thrive.
Main Panel Speakers
Wayne A.I. Frederick, MD, MBA
President, Howard University
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery, Howard University College of Medicine
Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick is the 17th president of Howard University and the distinguished Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine. He is also a practicing cancer surgeon at Howard University Hospital, where he continues to see patients and perform surgeries.
He is a true son of Howard, having earned three degrees from the University – a B.S. in 1990, an M.D. in 1994, and an MBA in 2011.
As president of Howard, Dr. Frederick has worked to strengthen internal operations in order to enhance the student experience and position the University to more effectively serve the community. He has overseen a period of immense growth and transformation at Howard, including record-breaking enrollment numbers and philanthropic donations.
Dr. Frederick is an expert on health care disparities and devotes his time to speaking about and advocating for social justice as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Frederick also serves on the boards of numerous institutions and organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and Humana Inc. Dr. Frederick is also a member of surgical and medical associations, including the American Surgical Association, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons.
Paul Jones, Ph.D.
President, Fort Valley State University
Paul A. Jones is the 10th president of Fort Valley State University. Recognized for being a visionary leader and strategic thinker with nearly 35 years of higher education experience, President Paul Jones was appointed to take Fort Valley State’s helm in December 2015 following a career that included leadership positions in Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, and Utah.
Dr. Jones, an astute and affable administrator, is committed to the transformative power of higher education. He has spent the last several years advancing FVSU’s standing as one of the nation’s most respected institutions of higher learning, including its consistent ranking as the top public historically black college and university (HBCU) in Georgia by U.S. News and World Reports.
In 2019, President Jones established a university-wide steering committee to begin an inclusive and collaborative comprehensive strategic planning process to chart the University’s next five years. This 2020-2025 plan, Unleashing 21st Century Innovation, Transformation and Excellence, is currently in the implementation phase and will focus on four priorities: Exceptional Student Experience, Operational Excellence, Organizational Identity, and Engagement and Collaboration.
Dr. Jones and his wife Sylvia were named 2012 Alumni of the Year at Utah State University, where President Jones earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Los Angeles, California-native also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. In 2007-08, President Jones served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at the University of West Florida.
Taylor Randall, Ph.D., MBA
University of Utah
Taylor R. Randall was selected by the Utah Board of Higher Education to serve as the 17th president of the University of Utah on August 5, 2021. He comes to the position after serving as both dean of and an accounting professor in the David Eccles School of Business. In the first week of his presidency, Randall established a campus-wide transition team to set about the task of developing a strategic plan to help the university thrive under his leadership. Randall charged the transition team to be bold, quoting Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
The president and the transition team determined that four cross-cutting objectives would serve as the bedrock of his administration: equity, diversity, and inclusion; campus safety; sustainability; and academic freedom.
He graduated from the University of Utah in 1990 with honors in accounting and earned an MBA and a doctorate in operations and information management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He follows in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather as a third-generation U alumnus and professor. His father, Reed Randall BA’63, was also a professor of accounting, and his grandfather Clyde Randall BA’32 JD’53 served as dean of the DESB from 1958-68.
Carmen J. Walters, Ph.D.
On July 1, 2019, the Tougaloo College Board of Trustees named Dr. Carmen Jean Hawkins Walters the fourteenth president to lead the institution. A respected, passionate, and strategic thinker with broad knowledge, Dr. Walters brings a blended set of skills and over 24 years of leadership in curriculum and policy development, fundraising, student enrollment and retention management, team building, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and organizational management.
She has a reputation for leveraging collaborative partnerships with private and public organizations, enabling students, faculty, and staff to cross institutional boundaries and engage in innovative instruction to ensure student success. A native of Harvey, Louisiana, Dr. Walters earned her Ph.D. from Mississippi State University, her Master of Arts in Postsecondary Counseling from Xavier University of Louisiana, and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans.
Intelligence Analyst/Task Force Analyst Salt Lake City JTTF
Utah Statewide Information and Analysis Center
Jerrilynn Applegate is an Intelligence Analyst with the Statewide Information and Analysis Center (SIAC), where she focuses on Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) and is currently assigned as a Task Force Analyst on the FBI’s Salt Lake City Joint Terrorism Task Force. Overall, she has been with the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) for almost 13 years. She loves working with the team at SIAC and is happy to do what she can to assist DPS in the general mission of Keeping Utah Safe.
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Salt Lake City Field Office
IA Garcia is a 2005 graduate of the University of Utah, and has served with the FBI since 2005. IA Garcia is currently assigned to the FBI Salt Lake City Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), focused on Domestic Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Kodie S. Ruzicka
Federal Bureau of Investigation
IA Kodie S. Ruzicka has been an intelligence analyst with the FBI for over ten years working both criminal and national security matters in Salt Lake City, UT, Washington, DC, and Nairobi, Kenya. Ms. Ruzicka currently works civil rights violations (including hate crimes), violent crimes, human trafficking, and crimes against children. Ms. Ruzicka graduated from Hillsdale College with a BA in History (20th Century War) and from Pepperdine University with a MA in Public Policy.