For Immediate Release
October 30, 2012
Contact Information

Donna Brock

Larry Calhoun


- Noted economist and former university president returns to serve alma mater -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – ATLANTA (Oct. 29, 2012) – Clark Atlanta University (CAU) President Carlton E. Brown announced this week that James A. Hefner, Ph.D., an alumnus of the university, will serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. He serves in this capacity following the departure of CAU’s previous provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Joseph H. Silver Sr., Ph.D., who began his service as president of Alabama State University Sept. 17. 

Hefner, who in May of 2005 retired from a stellar career in higher education, brings 21 years of experience as a university president to the office. He served as president of Tennessee State University (TSU) for 14 years. Prior to leading TSU, he was president of Jackson State University, where he served for seven years. He also served as provost of Tuskegee University.

CAU President Carlton E. Brown said, “We are honored that Dr. Hefner joins CAU’s leadership team as a national search begins. As well, we are immensely proud that yet another alumnus has returned to bring this depth and breadth of leadership experience to our institution. A true visionary, Dr. Hefner is prepared to guide Clark Atlanta University as we work to complete our 2010-2013 strategic plan, as well as with our new focus on preparing students for global leadership and entrepreneurship. We are grateful he has chosen to suspend his retirement at this critical juncture of our advancement. This also underscores the level of expertise and leadership found among our alumni ranks.”

Hefner said, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. My career as president of two institutions, as provost at one institution, and as an endowed professor and faculty member gives me a tremendous perspective. Clark Atlanta University is a great institution of historic and contemporary significance, and we have to work hard each day to meet the changing needs of our students. I am excited to accept this challenge, particularly since I am a son of CAU.”

A prolific scholar, Hefner received his undergraduate degree in business administration from North Carolina A&T State University, his master’s degree in economics from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), and his doctorate in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1999, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Marlboro College and in 2005 an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from The University of the South.

Highly published, Hefner has written extensively in the areas of employment practice and labor-force participation rates of minorities. He is co-author and editor of the book, “Public Policy for the Black Community: Strategies and Perspectives,” and has written more than 50 articles.

His career path has left a distinguished mark in academia. Hefner has taught at Morehouse College, where he chaired the Department of Economics and Business Administration and was an endowed professor of economics from 1974 to 1982. He also has taught at Prairie View A&M University, Benedict College, Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) and Florida A&M University. He also served as a research associate at Princeton University and Harvard.

Hefner has received numerous honors and awards. These include a life membership in Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) Achievement Award in Research, NAFEO President’s Award and Omega Psi Phi Man of the Year. He is the first college president invited to be a fellow in the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard.

Hefner has served on various boards, including: the American College Testing (ACT) Program, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, board secretary of the American Council on Education (ACE) and member of the editorial board of the Boule Journal of Sigma Pi Phi. Also, he was elected to the Board of Regents of The University of the South in 2006 and the Morehouse Board of Trustees in 2007.