MMUF PhD Ben Vinson III, a historian of Latin America and the African diaspora who currently serves as provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University, has been chosen as the 18th president of Howard University. Ben was selected as an MMUF fellow at Dartmouth College and later earned a PhD in Latin American history from Columbia University. He has held faculty positions at Barnard College, Penn State University, and Johns Hopkins University, where he was also founding director of the Center for Africana Studies and vice dean for centers, interdisciplinary studies and graduate education. Before coming to Case Western, he served as the dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University. His 2019 book Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico was awarded the Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History.
Ben is one of several MMUF PhDs who have become college presidents, including Sean Decatur (who was president of Kenyon College from 2013 to 2022 before assuming the presidency of the American Museum of Natural History), Brian Johnson (who previously served as president of Tuskegee University and is currently president of Warner Pacific University), and Aisha Francis (the current president and chief executive officer of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology). He will begin his tenure at Howard on September 1, 2023.