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Ben Vinson III, PhD


  • Office of the President


Dr. Ben Vinson III is the 18th president of Howard University and a tenured professor of history in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences. As president, he is tasked with inspiring, innovating, and strategically leading the Howard community which include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. 

President Vinson was most recently provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University. During his tenure, Dr. Vinson spearheaded the university’s “Think Big” strategic planning initiative, which received national attention for its innovative and inclusive planning process. He also worked to increase collaboration and entrepreneurship on campus by naming an associate provost to the post of interprofessional education, research and collaborative practice; and by appointing a founding director for the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship.  He was co-principal investigator of the Humanities in Leadership Learning Series (HILLS) program, funded by a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to promote leadership development and diversity in the humanities. 

Dr. Vinson is an accomplished historian of Latin America, and the recipient of the 2019 Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History for his book, “Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico.” 

He is the immediate past chairman of the board of the National Humanities Center and a member of the board of the National Humanities Alliance. His is a previous board member of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He is a member of the Academy of Arts and Science’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, and currently chairs its subcommittee on higher education. He was elected vice president of the research division of the American Historical Association (AHA) in 2020, and is the current president-elect of the American Historical Association (2023). He is the immediate past president of the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH). 

Additionally, Dr. Vinson served on the Association of American Universities’ (AAU) Advisory Board for Racial Equity in Higher Education, and is a former member of the AAU subcommittee on faculty advancement and tenure.

Prior to his appointments at Howard and CWRU, Dr. Vinson also served on the faculties of Barnard College and Penn State before joining Johns Hopkins as a professor of history and founding director of its Center for Africana Studies. At Johns Hopkins, he served as a vice dean for centers, interdisciplinary studies and graduate education before becoming dean of George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. 

Dr. Vinson earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a doctorate from Columbia University. He has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Commission; National Humanities Center; Social Science Research Council; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Ford, Rockefeller, and Mellon foundations. 

Education & Expertise


History and Classical Studies (double major; summa cum laude)

Dartmouth College

Latin American history

Columbia University