Campus was festive and the mood ebullient as Howard University formally inaugurated its 18th president, Dr. Ben Vinson III, on Saturday, November 4.
The University community and collegiate heads from across the country filed into Cramton Auditorium to coronate Howard’s new chief executive. Vinson’s colleagues from across academia lauded his leadership and expressed unbridled excitement about his capacity to elevate Howard to its next – and highest – levels.
“From seeing him in action, I can say that he’s one of those rare human beings who thinks and works on always at least three levels at once,” said Joy Connolly, Ph.D., president of the American Council of Learned Societies, during her in-person greetings. “At a polarized and challenging time in higher education and across society, President Vinson is, and I know will continue to be, a swimmer and a bridgebuilder, creating the alliances that help students and faculty thrive.”
During Vinson’s inaugural address, he expressed his own ideals for his presidency. “Why me, why here, why now?” he posited. “I am here as a conduit and a guide for our collective spirit and vision. I am here to steward our legacy forward. And I see more amazing treasures for us just ahead.”
Following the inauguration exercises, Vinson hosted family and friends for an intimate reception atop the Wayne A. I. Frederick Undergraduate Library. Laughter reverberated across the room as Vinson greeted both longtime companions and new associates alike. Spirits would remain high throughout the remainder of the afternoon.
“President Vinson’s address truly captured the spirit of Howard and shared with us his commitment to carrying the great traditions of Howard even as he brings forth his own vision,” said Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Ph.D., senior advisor for strategic initiatives. “I am excited to see how he works with the entire community to imagine Howard for the future.”
All photos courtesy of Jonathan Spinks.