By Gabrielle Riles, Fisk University, Tribune Intern
Nashville TN — Fisk University will inaugurate Kevin D. Rome, Sr., Ph.D. as the 16th president of the university on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at the Fisk Memorial Chapel.
Rome began his term at Fisk University on July 1, 2017. After nearly eight months of his term, he is now officially initiated as the president of the university. During a recent interview with the Tribune, Dr. Rome explained why he accepted the offer of becoming the university’s new president. “The rich history of Fisk was very appealing to me,” said Dr. Rome. “But even more so, the potential that Fisk has to continue to have an impact on the education of African Americans and other populations. It’s an incredible feeling to lead such a prestigious institution with such a rich history. It’s something that I could only have imagined, and never really thought it would happen. It’s really a blessing that has come true.”
Dr. Rome is a firm believer in educating the next leaders of the future and believes Fisk is the place where that is executed. Throughout his presidency, Dr. Rome is devoted to making sure that Fisk is ranked as one of the top leading institutions in the world. “When I leave this seat, I want Fisk to be the #1 HBCU in the country, which will make us one of the best universities in the world,” Dr. Rome noted. “I believe that we have the capability of doing that and I won’t rest until we achieve that.”
During his term, the Fisk University sports teams have had successful seasons. Dr. Rome adds, “Our goal is to focus on winning and we want to provide the resources and support that they need to be more successful.”
In order to fulfill the financial need of the institution, Dr. Rome has met with many individuals, groups, and foundations that invest in higher education. He also visits with alumni in order to build relationships with those who care deeply about the progression of the school. One of the president’s main priorities is to fundraise towards the infrastructure of the historic buildings at Fisk. He plans to renovate and update all of the buildings during his term, as well as add a few new state-of-the-art facilities.
“One of our first priorities is to build a new residence hall for our students. A new science building is critical for us,” Rome shares.
Fisk is a private institution that’s not financially backed by the State of Tennessee. President Rome plans to strengthen the relationship between government officials in order to gain more support. He says, “Our faculty writes grants and proposals from national and federal agencies and we are successful in that. We hope more awards are granted to Fisk.”
Fisk University has built many relationships within institutions in the Metro Nashville area. They have established joint programs with other institutions in surrounding areas such as Vanderbilt University, Watkins College, and Belmont University. These programs involve music, science programs, and art programs. President Rome plans to maintain these relationships with the surrounding colleges in order to expand and bridge the gap. “I interact and talk to many of the presidents of the other institutions. We share resources, we talk constantly about issues, and we really support each other,” President Rome said.
The inauguration of President Rome will host a week of events from April 2 – April 8, 2018. The events will help the community to become more involved and engaged with the prestigious institution. “We welcome the community to attend all of the festivities of Inauguration Week,” President Rome proclaimed. “We want everyone in Nashville and in the surrounding community to see Fisk as their institution because we serve the greater good of the community.”
On Friday, April 6, 2018, Fisk University will host the President’s Scholarship Gala at 7:00 pm in the Karl F. Dean Grand Ballroom at Music City Center. Dr. Kevin Rome invites the community of Nashville to attend and help fundraise for Fisk University. To learn more about the president and inauguration week visit: www.fisk.edu/inauguration