KEY INSIGHTS

  • Howard University has a new assistant vice president of external affairs and a new assistant vice president of corporate relations.
  • The change in leadership comes at a time when HBCUs are more visible than ever. 
  • The new leaders have decades of experience in leadership and higher education roles, including in the Obama administration.

Howard University has recently announced new appointments to important roles for the university’s outward-facing missions. 

On May 31, Joe Leonard was announced as Howard’s new assistant vice president of external affairs. The next day, June 1, Allison Morgan Bryant was announced as the school’s new chief of staff and assistant vice president of corporate relations.

Leonard and Morgan Bryant, both of whom have been working with Howard in other capacities for years, are entering two of the university’s most important roles for drumming up support from government and corporate partners at a time when HBCUs are more visible than ever.

Both Leonard and Morgan Bryant are filling roles that were most recently held by Paul Monteiro, Howard’s previous chief of staff since 2017 and additionally the school’s assistant vice president of external affairs since 2019.

In December 2021, Monteiro was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the Director of the Community Relations Service at the Department of Justice and in late April he was confirmed by the Senate to that role.

As assistant vice president of corporate relations, Morgan Bryant is also filling a role previously held by Debbi Jarvis, who is now Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at AtlasGas, a Howard spokesperson told The Plug.

Leonard and Morgan Bryant have decades of experience in leadership and higher education roles. Before joining Howard, Leonard previously served in the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and was the director of the Howard University Community Association. 

He also has a wealth of federal government experience. In 2009, he joined the Obama Administration as assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Agriculture. Before his tenure at the USDA, he was the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Leonard is also a triple-HBCU graduate, with a bachelor’s degree from Huston-Tillotson University, a master’s degree from Southern University and a Ph.D. from Howard.

Morgan Bryant, a graduate of Howard, has worked at her alma mater since 2009. She has held many roles in the School of Business, most recently as assistant dean of innovation and administration, and associate professor of information systems and supply chain management.