June 8, 2023 – Following a national search, Macon, GA-based Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting has assisted in the recruitment of Koffi C. Akakpo as the 19th president of Kentucky State University (KSU), a historically black college and university. Kenny Daugherty, the search firm’s president, led the assignment. “Today is undoubtedly an exciting time in Kentucky State’s history, and we are confident that the foundation laid by this extensive presidential search process—involving input and deliberation from a wide range of constituents and stakeholders, including both internal and external campus community members—allowed us to choose the best leader for Kentucky State and its future,” said Tammi Dukes, Kentucky State University board of regents chair.
“Kentucky State University is poised for a great future,” Ms. Dukes said. “Thanks to the leadership and support of Governor Andy Beshear, the general assembly, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the Kentucky State University board of regents, the KSU campus community, alumni, donors, and supporters.”
“Under Dr. Akakpo’s leadership, the university can advance in many areas, and we are pleased to hand the baton to him at such a critical time in the institution’s journey,” said Ms. Dukes. “We are confident he will bring the vision and execution required to help Kentucky State University continue to advance and succeed in its critical mission of enhancing society and impacting individuals by preparing future generations of engaged citizens and effective leaders.”
University officials noted that Dr. Akakpo quickly rose to the top of an esteemed candidate application pool, and his life’s work, 16 years in leadership roles in higher education with a proven record of success in strong fiscal accountability, student-first philosophy, and strategic planning. He comes to Kentucky State University from Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), central Kentucky’s largest comprehensive public two-year college, serving over 15,000 college credit students annually across multiple campuses and via online classes.
During his four-year tenure, BCTC has expanded programs, adding computer engineering technology, integrated engineering technology (in partnership with the University of Kentucky), orthotic and prosthetic technology, health science technology, and emergency medical services – paramedic; has received a center of academic excellence for cybersecurity education designation from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security; and has increased the number of credentials by 26 percent and the number of individuals who earned credentials up by 22 percent despite the pandemic. In addition to increases in enrollment, the college had an overall increase in it graduation rate from 24 percent to 35 percent.
“My work focuses on championing postsecondary institutions, tackling the uncertainty they face, and securing their current and future prosperity, particularly through bold thinking, transformational problem-solving, and strategic partnership building,” said Dr. Akakpo. He said he believes that the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the entire KSU community must unite and do all in their shared power to convert problems into opportunities through intentional, data-informed decisions and bold, futuristic planning.
Founded in 1886, Kentucky State University has an enrollment of about 2,300 students and 160 full-time faculty members. Academic programs are divided into three programs: the College of Agriculture, Community and the Sciences; the College of Humanities, Business and Society; and the Whitney Young Honors Collegium. KSU offers associate degrees in three disciplines, bachelor’s degrees in 24 disciplines, and master’s degrees in five disciplines.
Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting serves colleges, universities, independent schools, and other not-for-profit institutions. Nearly all of its search professionals have a minimum of 20 years of experience in higher education. The majority of the firm’s searches have been for presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and other senior academic and administrative leaders. Myers McRae recently placed the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at East Georgia State College, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Savannah State University, and the vice president for business and financial services and chief business officer for the University of West Georgia, among others.
Emily Myers has led Myers McRae since 2008. As the firm’s executive officer, she has broadened the firm’s scope and modernized processes, emphasizing responsiveness, timeliness, effectiveness, and affordability. While utilizing new technology in the executive search process, Ms. Myers said she remains committed to the firm having person-to-person connections with candidates and that clients stay at the center of every search.
Known for her leadership expertise and commitment to excellence, Ms. Myers brings to the firm’s searches her extensive first-hand knowledge and experience in higher education administration. For most of her career, she served as senior vice president of university advancement and external affairs at Mercer University.
Mr. Daugherty has an extensive background in higher education administration, having served 28 years in public and independent institutions. Throughout his career in higher education, he had personnel responsibilities and served on numerous search committees for professional staff and administrators for the institution. Mr. Daugherty has conducted hundreds of searches for schools across the nation, including presidential searches for the University of Montana Western, Northwest Missouri State University, McDaniel College, Oakwood University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Pasco-Hernando State College, Pierpont Community and Technical College, Wichita Area Technical College, and the Georgia Independent College Association.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media