Dr. Brian Lamont Johnson

Seventh President of Tuskegee University
Term in Office: 2014-2017


Brian JohnsonDr. Brian L. Johnson, the seventh president of Tuskegee University, was appointed on April 28, 2014. He remained president until June 30, 2017. Dr. Johnson's legacy is one of transforming Tuskegee University into a 21st Century, data-informed, outcomes-oriented and knowledge-based institution of first choice. The Tuskegee University Strategic Plan, "The Tuskegee Trajectory (2015-2020)" and its Working Visioning Document sets forth the baseline and desired outcomes the university has achieved that aptly describes the motto of the 7th Presidency of Tuskegee University: #TrustTheTuskegeeTradition #TrustTheTuskegeeTrajectory. Dr. Johnson and his family created a $100,000 endowed scholarship for Tuskegee University students in 2014.

He has held administrative and academic posts in the following capacities: Vice President for Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chief of Staff, Director, Coordinator and Associate and Assistant Professor of English. He received a Ph.D. in 17th-19th Century American literature at The University of South Carolina at Columbia (2003), a M.A. in English from The University of Wisconsin-Madison (1998) and a B.A. in English from Johnson C. Smith University (1995).

Among several administrative and academic fellowships, he has been named a (2012-2013) (A.C.E.) American Council of Education Fellow (Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis Chancellor’s Office/IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy), a (2012-2013) (A.A.S.C.U.) Association of American Schools and Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Initiative Fellow, a (2011-2012) Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellow (Tennessee Higher Education Commission), a (2011-2012) (C.C.C.U.) Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities rising senior administrative (MELDI) Fellowship, a (2006-2007) Woodrow Wilson/Career Enhancement Sabbatical Fellow, a (2006-2007) Civic Engagement Scholar within the J. McDonald Williams Institute-Dallas, Texas, a (2005-2007) Lilly Foundation/Center for Christian Studies Fellow (Gordon College, Wenham, MA), a (2004-2005) non-resident fellow within the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Studies (Harvard University) and a (2003-Present) Andrew W. Mellon-Benjamin Mays Postdoctoral Fellowship. 

Dr. Johnson is also the editor and author of (7) academic and scholarly books: (2) books on William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, W.E.B. Du Bois: Toward Agnosticism (2008) and Du Bois on Reform: Periodical-based Leadership for African Americans (2005); co-editor of (4) volumes on American History in the Conflicts in American History Series (2010)--Volume 3: Civil War, Volume 4: Reconstruction, Volume 7: The Long Civil Rights Movement and Volume 8: Towards the Next American Century; author of (1) institutional history of a historically black college and university—his alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University—titled, The Yancy Years: the Age of Infrastructure, Technology and Restoration (2008). 

In August 1995, Dr. Johnson published an article, the (Raleigh) News and Observer titled, "A Young Man Apart, A World Apart," which describes his experiences hailing from inner-city Durham, North Carolina. This article along with his other academic writings can be found on his personal website: http://intersectionoffaithandlearning.com. Dr. Johnson is married to Shemeka Barnes Johnson, and they have two sons, Brian Asa Johnson and Nathan Morgan Qodesh Johnson. He also serves as a member of the board of trustees for The Trinity Forum and he serves on the (UNCF) United Negro College Fund Institutional Board of Directors. 

Signal accomplishments reflecting Tuskegee University's tradition and trajectory under President Johnson include but are not limited to the following: online degree programs, enhanced infrastructure and technology including a new Analytics platform, a new electronic employee evaluation system, new outcomes, accreditation, budget, planning and student co-curricular modules, online transcripts, putting the "A" in STEM with a new Music and Visual Arts Program and Lyceum Speakers Series, new student engagement initiatives including common-reading first year experience, President's Men and Women Leaders Program, university-wide honors program and President's scholars cohort experience, world-renowned Commencement Speakers including First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama, Phylicia Rashad and Tyler Perry and, finally, a re-invigorated and diverse portfolio of fundraising with six-figure gifts from capable alumni, the first-ever online appeals for campus improvements and renewed foundation relations and grants received from organizations such as Thurgood Marshall Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Lilly Endowment, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Lumina Foundation. In 2016, Mercy College conferred President Johnson his first honorary degree, Simmons College awarded President Johnson with the George Washington Carver medal, Ebony Magazine (September 2016 Issue) named President Johnson 1 of 5 HBCU presidents as part of its "Leaders of the New School" and President Johnson organized a historic convening of foundations and corporations on behalf of Tuskegee University at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. and Mrs. Johnson also created a $100,000 endowed scholarship for Tuskegee University students in 2014.