The Claflin University Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack as the ninth president of the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in South Carolina, effective August 1, 2019. He succeeds Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, who is retiring after 25 years of transformational leadership at the Orangeburg, S.C., institution founded in 1869.
“Dr. Warmack was unanimously chosen to lead Claflin University from a pool of highly qualified applicants,” said James K. Lehman, Chair of the Board. “We believe he will continue Claflin’s upward trajectory, keeping the university among the nation’s leading institutions of higher education. He brings a brand of leadership that is inclusive, transparent and inspires teamwork.”
He inherits the leadership of an institution experiencing unprecedented growth and achievements in enrollment, fundraising, annual alumni giving rate and ranked as one of the top ten (#7) Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
“I am honored to lead one of the nation’s premier Historically Black College and Universities that has a tradition of producing visionary leaders and a proven track record devoted to student success,” Warmack said. “My aspiration is to honor President Tisdale’s amazing legacy, by continuing the Claflin standard as a beacon of excellence in higher education for future generations to come. I am humbled by the opportunity afforded me to carry the torch and to continue the growth and development of Claflin University as a dynamic and powerful center of scholarship, research and education.”
Dr. Warmack will assume the mantle of leadership at Claflin after serving the last five years as President of Harris-Stowe State University in Missouri. He brings more than 20 years of progressive administrative experience in higher education at five distinct higher education institutions.
Under Dr. Warmack’s exemplary leadership, Harris-Stowe witnessed an institutional transformation, which is unparalleled in its 162-year history. He has shepherded more than $24 million in external funding to the institution, including a $5 million STEM grant, the largest in the school’s history. He cultivated more than 16 partnerships and collaborations with Fortune 500 companies, regional organizations and other higher education institutions to strengthen Harris-Stowe’s infrastructure.
Equally impressive, in the past five years under Dr. Warmack’s leadership, Harris-Stowe State University became the fastest growing public university in the state of Missouri and has been recognized as a leader in graduating African Americans and other underrepresented groups with baccalaureate degrees. In addition, Harris-Stowe has witnessed a 34% increase in headcount; applications to attend HSSU soared to more than 7,000 in 2019 compared to 667 in 2013. The Harris-Stowe student profile has grown stronger-representing 37 states and 17 countries. Additionally, as part of the institution’s strategic plan that he spearheaded, the University embarked on an ambitious goal of expanding its academic offerings. As a result, degrees, minors, and certificate programs have increased from 14 to more than 50 offered. These include expanding the liberal arts, business degrees and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines (STEM).
As a result of Dr. Warmack’s leadership in transforming the curricular and co-curricular enterprises at Harris-Stowe, the institution has been ranked regionally and nationally in various publications and online journals with U.S. News and World Report ranking Harris-Stowe as one of the best HBCUs and Midwest universities in the United States. His success at Harris-Stowe captured national acclaim cumulating with a front-page article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, features in the New York Times, the Detroit Free Press and appearances on CNN, Al Jazeera America, C-SPAN and NPR.
Prior to his appointment as President of Harris-Stowe, he served as the Senior Vice President, Administration and Student Services at Bethune-Cookman University. Prior to that appointment, he was the Associate Dean of Students at Rhodes College in Memphis, where he had oversight over Student Affairs and Administration including Judicial Affairs, Student Activities, Greek life, New Student and Parent Orientation and Multicultural Affairs. Dr. Warmack also has held positions at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., and Delta State University.
He provides a brand of leadership that is characterized by an unqualified insistence on data driven decision-making and a commitment to higher education’s current best practices. Considered to be a servant leader and visionary with a unique understanding and appreciation for today’s Millennial and Generation Y students, he is committed to the academic integration and holistic development of students.
Dr. Warmack is committed to developing programs that promote diversity, pluralism and cultural competency. Throughout his career, he has championed inclusion, academic excellence and the retention of underrepresented students. Over the years, he has presented more than 120 diversity and leadership presentations and workshops to an array of individuals and groups. He was recently selected as an Eisenhower Fellow, a highly selective and worldwide competitive fellowship.
Dr. Warmack earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Master’s degree in Sociology from Delta State University. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He completed post-doctoral work in Educational Leadership at Harvard University School of Education. Dr. Warmack is married to LaKisha Warmack and they have one daughter, Morgan.