By: Fisk University
Appointment Signals New Era of Growth and Transformation for Legendary HBCU
(Nashville, TN—Sept. 12) The Board of Trustees of Fisk University announced today the appointment of Dr. Agenia Walker Clark as its next president, effective November 6, 2023. She will be the University’s third female head and the 18th president of the 158-year-old university, one of the nation’s highest-ranking Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
She replaces interim president Frank Sims, a member of the Board of Trustees, who has served in that position since 2021.
Dr. Clark most recently served as CEO for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee – where, during her 19-year tenure, she increased the agency’s operational efficiencies, increased its reserves, built new facilities, and transformed the agency into one of the highest-performing of the 111 councils in the Girl Scout network.
“Dr. Clark’s lifelong dedication to improving the lives of young people, along with her unique combination of fundraising and brand-building skills, is exactly what Fisk needs today,” said Juliette Pryor, chair of the Fisk Board of Trustees.
“I know that Dr. Clark’s bold ideas will positively impact our campus community today while assuring a fast-growing trajectory for the future.”
Prior to the Girl Scouts, Dr. Clark was the Vice President of Human Resources for the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, Senior Director of Human Resources at Vanderbilt University, and directed human resources for Canadian telecommunications provider Nortel Networks, where she also served as a manager of government relations.
“To serve a new generation of brilliant, socially minded students—not unlike their counterparts of decades past, like W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, John Lewis, and Dr. Diane Nash—is surely the honor of my lifetime,” said Clark. “No institution of higher-ed has a richer legacy—or a richer promise for the future—than Fisk.”
Dr. Clark was named “Nashvillian of the Year” in 2021 and one of “Nashville’s 100 Most Powerful People,” 2015–2020, by the Nashville Business Journal. An inductee into the Academy for Women of Achievement, she is also a Nashville Post Person-In-Charge (2014–2021). She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), a member of the 2016 Class of Leadership Tennessee, and 1996 Class of Leadership Nashville.
She currently serves on the corporate board of directors for FirstBank Financial Corporation (NYSE: FBK) as well as the boards of trustees for Belmont and Simmons Universities – and is a trustee emerita on the board of the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Dr. Clark earned a B.S. and MBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Doctorate in Leadership from Vanderbilt University.
The year-long search for Fisk’s 18th president was led by Board Trustee JoLinda Herring ’85, in conjunction with executive search and leadership advisory firm, Russell Reynolds Associates.
“The Board was searching for a uniquely bold and visionary leader, and we found her in Dr. Clark,” said Pryor.