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Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., Makes Key Additions to Cabinet

Several other leadership roles are announced as President Vinson prepares for his November 4 inauguration.

Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., Makes Key Additions to Cabinet

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As he prepares to hold his formal inauguration next week, Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., has announced key additions to his cabinet as well as leadership updates within the Office of Corporate Relations, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Chief Strategy Officer, all areas focused on supporting strategic priorities for the University.

Vinson, who started his role as the University’s 18th president on September 1, has named two new members to his cabinet: Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, senior advisor for strategic initiatives, and Odalys M. Diaz Piñeiro, Ed.D., chief of staff.

Zeleza started in his new role on October 10, while Diaz Piñeiro’s start date will be November 20. Allison Morgan Bryant, Ph.D., who had served as chief of staff to President Emeritus Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., M.B.A. before he retired last August, will stay on as a member of the Cabinet as the vice president of the Office of Corporate Relations where she will report directly to President Vinson.

In addition to the cabinet roles, there are several leadership changes within two offices at the University. Calvin J. Hadley, Ph.D., who served as senior advisor to the president for strategic initiatives during the Frederick administration, is now assistant provost for academic partnerships and student engagement. Latrice Byam, who was executive director of admissions with the Office of Enrollment Management, is now the executive director of academic planning and curriculum for the Office of the Provost. Both Hadley and Byam will report to Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph. Christina Harper, who previously worked as director of strategy and communications in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, is now the assistant vice president of strategy and will continue to report to Rashad Young, senior vice president and chief strategy officer.

President Vinson expressed great enthusiasm about the level of expertise these new appointments will bring to the University.

“I’m extremely pleased to see such a talented and proven group of individuals taking on key roles within our University,” President Vinson said. “At Howard University, we are charged with shaping some of our world’s brightest minds while carrying out exemplary service to our community locally and abroad. To do so as effectively as possible, we absolutely need the innovation and insight that each of these individuals possess. I am not only confident that they will succeed in their respective roles; I am also incredibly grateful to have them on board to help me continue to get acclimated and prepared to execute my plan for the future of Howard University.”

New Staff Appointments:

Odalys M. Diaz Piñeiro, Ed.D., Chief of Staff

Diaz Piñeiro comes to the University from Ithaca College, where she served as chief of staff to President La Jerne Terry Cornish. In this role, Diaz Piñeiro was responsible for working with the vice presidents to help organize, focus, and implement the college’s broad strategic work. Prior to Ithaca College, she served as a senior administrator and advisor to two college presidents in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. At Queens College, she served as the president’s deputy chief of staff and director of strategic initiatives, leading the strategic planning process, and at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, she served as the president’s director of special projects, supporting several innovative college-wide programs and partnerships. Diaz Piñeiro was a dual major in political science and communications systems at the University of Pennsylvania. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in education administration from New York University. In her new role, Diaz Piñeiro will oversee a wide range of policy issues and management of the staff assigned to the Office of the President, including the management and organization of priority projects and initiatives.

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives

Zeleza comes to Howard University from Case Western Reserve University where he most recently served as associate provost and the North Star Distinguished Professor. Zeleza has held a variety of positions focusing on administrative and academic leadership both domestically and abroad, including vice chancellor (president) and professor of  social sciences and humanities at the United States International University in Kenya, college principal at Trent University in Canada, director of the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and vice president for academic affairs at Quinnipiac University.

In 2013, Zeleza’s research with the Carnegie Corporation of New York led to the establishment of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, which to date has sponsored more than 600 African-born academics in the United States and Canada to work with more than 170 universities in nine African countries. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Malawi, a master’s degree from the University of London in Britain, and Ph.D. at Dalhousie University in Canada. At Howard, Zeleza will focus on the provision of high-level advice and comprehensive research to inform strategic decision-making by the president, playing a lead role in researching and benchmarking to inform key strategic initiatives and projects.

Allison Bryant, Vice President, Office of Corporate Relations

With the appointment of Diaz Piñeiro, Bryant will now transition to the Office of Corporate Relations, effective November 20. During her time as chief of staff to now President Emeritus Frederick, Bryant was central to many of the operations, initiatives, and events hosted by the office of the President.

Prior to joining President Frederick’s cabinet, Bryant, a tenured associate professor, held several key positions with the Howard University School of Business, including assistant dean of Innovation and Administration, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, and director of special programs. A graduate of Howard University, Bryant also holds a Ph.D. in information sciences and technology from Pennsylvania State University. As vice president of corporate relations, Bryant will be responsible for the oversight of corporate engagements with a focus on university-wide partnerships that promote and support institutional giving. In addition, she will work to increase strategic partnerships and opportunities with corporations and community-based organizations. Bryant will also guide organizations who wish to develop transformational and interdisciplinary partnerships on campus and further develop opportunities for community service, initiatives, and collaboration.

Calvin J. Hadley, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Academic Partnerships and Student Engagement

In this role, Hadley will be responsible for spearheading the ideation, development and establishment of numerous strategic academic partnerships with leaders in industry. He will also engage students directly through special projects supporting the priorities of the provost and chief academic officer and focusing on institutional goals and initiatives. Hadley previously served as senior advisor to the president for strategic initiatives, where he was responsible for designing and implementing a shared-investment framework for crafting strategic initiatives including pipeline-development plans to enhance student preparedness and organizational readiness. Hadley earned his bachelor’s in political science and doctorate in philosophy from Howard University. He also holds a master’s in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Latrice Byam, Executive Director of Academic Planning and Curriculum

In this new role, Byam will lead the implementation of approved academic program proposals, update approval processes in coordination with key liaisons in the individual schools and colleges and support the University's curriculum processes. She will also manage the development and production of university catalogs in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Before this role, Byam served in several capacities within enrollment management, including executive director of admissions and University registrar. She earned a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a master’s in business administration from Howard University.

Christina Harper, Assistant Vice President of Strategy

In this role, Harper will work in partnership with Howard’s 14 schools and colleges around work under the University’s strategic plan, Howard Forward. She will also be responsible for taking on additional strategic priorities supporting the schools and colleges, ensuring they are in alignment with the University’s overall vision. Prior to this role, Harper served as director of strategy and communications. She earned her bachelor’s in communications and English from Trinity College and a master’s in mass communications and media studies from Howard University.

Media Contact: Monica Lewis,




About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit  www.howard.edu.