Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Council of Presidents elects new leadership

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Dr. Carmen J. Walters of Tougaloo to lead GCAC group for the next two years, while Dr. Vann Newkirk of Fisk elected as Vice-Chair

NEW ORLEANS – Following their annual conference in Jackson, Mississippi, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Council of Presidents elected new leadership as Tougaloo College president Dr. Carmen J. Walters was named Chair and will serve a two-year term.

Walters takes over from Philander Smith College’s Dr. Roderick Smothers, Sr., who served three consecutive terms as chair of the council. In this role, Walters will represent the conference on the NAIA National Council of Presidents.

Along with Walters, Dr. Vann Newkirk of Fisk University was selected as Vice-Chair of the GCAC Council of Presidents, and will also serve a two-year term in the position.

Walters was selected as the 14th president of Tougaloo College on July 1, 2019, bringing 24 years of experience in leadership in curriculum and policy development, fundraising, student enrollment and retention management, team building, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and organizational management.

A native of Harvey, Louisiana, 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.

Newkirk currently serves as the 17th president of Fisk and has been with the university since 2018. With over 20 years of higher education experience, Newkirk has held numerous senior administrative and academic positions throughout his outstanding career. His expertise in accreditation matters and programmatic development is nationally recognized, and he has established himself as a leader in the education technology space.

Newkirk attended North Carolina A&T State University and holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Barber-Scotia College; a Master of Arts degree in History from Winthrop University; a Master of Science degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University; and the Doctor of Philosophy in History from Howard University.

About the GCAC
The GCAC is celebrating its 40th year as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The GCAC is one of only five conferences comprised of members representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. The GCAC membership includes Dillard University (LA), Fisk University (TN), Oakwood University (AL), Philander Smith College (AR), Rust College (MS), Southern University at New Orleans (LA), Tougaloo College (MS), and Wiley College (TX).

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