Academic Search Adds Three Former HBCU Presidents to Roster

September 17, 2018 – Education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search has expanded its ability to attract top leadership talent to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with the addition of the founders of TM2 Education Search to the firm. TM2 was established in 2016 to identify and place candidates in top administrative posts at HBCUs.

John Garland, Dorothy Yancy and Sidney Ribeau, all long-time HBCU presidents, bring a wealth of knowledge of the sector, which faces some specific challenges and opportunities in the evolving higher education landscape, said Academic Search president L. Jay Lemons.

“This partnership is a win-win,” said Mr. Lemons, who spent 25 years as a college president in Pennsylvania and Virginia before joining Academic Search last year. “John, Dorothy and Sidney understand what is required to lead an HBCU. We have a demonstrated track record in recruiting executive talent to our higher education partners. Our collective strengths will make us uniquely qualified to attract those with the experience and skills HBCUs most need as well as strengthen our commitment to increasing the diversity of the leadership in the academy across all institutions,” he said.

TM2 was begun as an initiative of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Given the opportunity for TM2’s principals to partner with Academic Search, a decision was made to disband TM2. Academic Search regarded the partnership as an opportunity to bolster its own recruitment of top talent to HBCUs and other institutions. “The founding insights and values of the two organizations align perfectly,” said Harry Williams, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Higher Education Veterans

Mr. Garland, the executive chair of TM2, began his career in higher education in 1988 as general counsel for the University of the District of Columbia. In 1991, he was named associate general counsel for the University of Virginia, where he became assistant to the president in 1993. Four years later, he returned to his undergraduate alma mater, Central State University, as its seventh president. Mr. Garland, who earned his law degree from Ohio State University, retired from Central State in 2012.  In 2013, he was named president-in-residence at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The fund’s appointment of Mr. Garland was seen as a move to bring new expertise and strategic guidance to historically black public universities.

Related: Recruitment for Higher Education Leaders Heats Up and Shifts

Ms. Yancy served as president of the Johnson C. Smith University from 1994 to 2008. She then spent a year as president at Shaw University prior to her retirement. She emerged from retirement in 2011 after the Shaw campus had been dismantled by a tornado. Under Ms. Yancy’s leadership, the campus reopened and resumed normal operations within a year. Prior to being named president at Johnson C. Smith, she served the university for 20 years in a number of academic and administrative positions.


Academic Search Places General Counsel at Brown University
Academic Search recently placed Eileen Goldgeier as VP and general counsel of Brown University, effective Oct. 1. Earlier this year, her successor, Beverly Ledbetter, announced her plans to retire. William Howard, vice president and senior consultant for Academic Search, led the assignment.


Mr. Ribeau spent more than five years as president of Howard University. Prior to his that, he was president of Bowling Green State University for 13 years.  He began his career in higher education as a professor of communication studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where he was recognized as an outstanding teacher and student advisor.  He later moved into administration, serving as a dean of undergraduate studies at California State University, San Bernardino. Later, Mr. Ribeau was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and then vice president for academic affairs at Cal Polytechnic, Pomona, before assuming the presidency of Bowling Green.

“We are very enthusiastic about the breadth of experience these new colleagues bring to Academic Search,” said Mr. Lemons.  “Their wealth of knowledge will be a tremendous asset to higher education, especially our HBCUs.”  He added that the demand for the services of Academic Search reached an all-time high in the past year and that the firm is on track to break that record this year.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Scott Miller, chair of the Academic Search board of directors, said that since its founding more than 40 years ago, Academic Search has been the gold standard for helping colleges and universities find leaders. “The addition of these experienced leaders raises the bar for us and we are proud to have these new colleagues join our team,” he said.

Recruiting University Leadership

Academic Search has long been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed more than 380 executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles that have ranged from presidents to provosts to deans.

Academic Search is currently conducting, or has completed, senior assignments for Westminster College, Xavier University of Louisiana, Washington & Jefferson College, University of Maine, College of Saint Rose, Southern Methodist University, Midwestern State University Texas and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, among others.

Related: Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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