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University of Nevada Las Vegas Hires First Black President

Dr. Keith Whitfield, President of the University of Nevada

Dr. Keith Whitfield has been appointed as the new President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He is the first Black president in the university’s 63-year history. Dr. Whitfield, currently the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and a professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Prior to his time at Wayne State University, Whitfield was vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University and held appointments as professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, research professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He also was the co-director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.

An active administrator and researcher, Whitfield has authored or co-authored over 200 publications and has earned funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Science Foundation. His current research focuses on the relationship between stress and longevity in African American families. He’s a member of the NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging.

“This is truly, truly an honor. UNLV is a university that I have great respect for, and to be able to be a part of that is something I can’t express in words,” said Dr. Whitfield in his remarks to the Board of Regents following his appointment. “I’m going to make sure you see the kind of stewardship and momentum-building that you’ve seen from Marta Meana, and I’ll continue to lead this university to greatness.”

The son of a U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel, Whitfield received a bachelor’s in psychology from the College of Santa Fe and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in life span Developmental Psychology from Texas Tech University and did post-doctoral work in quantitative genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.