Lincoln University, which has had an interim president for almost two years after the resignation of its previous leader under fire for comments he made about sexual assault, has selected an alumna and provost from a historically black university in North Carolina as its next president.
Brenda Allen, who is also the vice chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State University and a 1981 graduate of Lincoln, will take the helm at the historically black university in Chester County on July 1.
"I'm just excited about coming home," Allen, 57, a native of Newark, N.J., said. "There's no better way to move your academic career forward than to come back to a place that was so transformative in my life and be able to lead it in its next chapter."
Allen, whose area of academic expertise is psychology and who has worked at two Ivy League universities, replaces Richard Green, who became interim president in July 2015. Green took over for Robert R. Jennings, who resigned in November 2014 after making statements that some critics interpreted as blaming women for sexual assault.
Allen was unanimously selected from among five finalists, said Maureen Stokes, a university spokeswoman.
"The board is confident in its selection of Dr. Allen to lead the institution at this most pivotal time in its history," Kimberly Lloyd, board chair, said in a statement. "Dr. Allen's demonstrated leadership experiences coupled with her breadth and depth of achievements were the fundamental attributes we desired in Lincoln's next president."
Allen said she would concentrate on fund-raising, getting the university more resources, and fostering better relations with university partners to create a vision that everyone can support.
"The first thing we have to do is engage all of our constituents [on] where it is that we need to go and how we might get there," she said.
Allen has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lincoln and a master's in experimental psychology and a doctorate in developmental psychology, both from Howard University.
Allen started her career at Yale University, where she held several positions, including lecturer in the departments of psychology and African American studies. She then went to Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she was a professor and served as chair of the African American studies department, assistant to the president, director of institutional diversity, and special assistant to the provost.
For the six years before joining Winston-Salem, she was associate provost and director of institutional diversity at Brown University in Providence, R.I.