On July 1, 2019, the Tougaloo College Board of Trustees named Dr. Carmen J. Walters the fourteenth president to lead the institution in its 151-year history. A respected, passionate, and strategic thinker with broad knowledge, Dr. Walters brings a blended set of skills and over 24 years of leadership in curriculum and policy development, fundraising, student enrollment and retention management, team building, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and organizational management. She has a reputation for leveraging collaborative partnerships with public and private organizations, enabling students, faculty and staff to cross institutional boundaries and engage in innovative instruction to ensure student success.
Dr. Walters, a champion of the liberal arts, embraces Tougaloo College's storied past and looks ambitiously toward preserving and advancing its legacy of academic excellence and social responsibility and moving this remarkable historic institution into a new decade of leading and learning. A native of Harvey, Louisiana, she earned her PhD from Mississippi State University, her Master of Arts in Postsecondary Counseling from Xavier University, and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Southern University.
Before assuming the presidency at Tougaloo College, Dr. Walters held various executive level positions at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for six years, including executive vice president of enrollment management, student success, and institutional relations for ten locations, and campus vice president of the Jackson County campus. She oversaw major fundraising initiatives and key renovations. She authored the institution’s strategic enrollment management plan, which increased the number of dual enrolled and traditional high school students that positively affected retention and graduation rates.
Prior to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Dr. Walters held executive level positions at Delgado Community College in New Orleans for 18 years, including assistant vice chancellor of Human Resources, ombudsman to the chancellor, and ombudsman to the vice chancellor/provost for Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Walters was a key fundraiser and played a major role in increasing external funding to the institution, strengthening its financial position, and fostered new approaches to recruit students to the campus and programs to help them excel. She became known for her passion on educational excellence, commitment to students, strategic leadership, and tackling difficult issues. Before transitioning to a career in higher education, she worked as an instructor for Jefferson Parish Department of Employment and Training in Louisiana and as a high school teacher in New Orleans, LA.
Since Dr. Walters’s arrival to Tougaloo College in July 2019, her leadership is marked by a deep understanding of the current higher education climate and undergraduate experience, a demonstrated commitment to student engagement and success, and the creativity and courage to pursue innovative solutions and financial acumen. She supports participatory governance and accountability, with a personal obligation to support students’ achieving their personal, academic, and career goals. Following a successful first year, she has led the College through a historic fundraising year and has made a notable impact and formed many connections, relationships and comprehensive partnerships within the community and across the state.