In a unanimous vote by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Ivelaw Griffith was named as ninth president of Fort Valley State University. He previously served as the provost and senior vice president at York College, City University of New York. During his six-year tenure as provost, Griffith increased the number of full-time faculty by 30 percent and established an undergraduate student research program. Prior to this, he served as provost at Radford University. An author of seven books, he has published more than 50 articles on his area of expertise: Caribbean security, drugs and crime. Griffith has a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Guyana; a master’s degree in political science and public administration from Long Island University; and both a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctorate in political science from the City University of New York.
Wade Hinton was named city attorney/chief legal officer of the city of Chattanooga in Tennessee. Prior to this, he served as deputy general counsel for Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC. As general counsel at the law firm Miller & Martin PLLC, a position he held before joining VW, he practiced in the corporate/mergers and acquisitions division. In his new role, he will provide legal counsel to the mayor and the various city boards and commissions. A graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program, Hinton is the recipient of numerous professional awards including The Network Journal’s 2013 40 Under Forty Achievers Award and the NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Freedom of Justice Advocate of the Year Award. Hinton earned a B.A. in philosophy from Emory University and a J.D. from the University of Memphis School of Law.
Michael Houston was named CEO of Grey North America. He was appointed chief operating officer in 2012, shortly after being promoted to managing director in 2011. In his new role, he will oversee Grey’s offices in New York, San Francisco and Canada. He will also have a hand in overseeing Wing U.S., a multicultural marketing communications agency with offices in New York and Miami. Houston’s tenure with Grey dates back to 2007 when he was hired as executive vice president, director of marketing. Prior to Grey, Houston held a number of positions at other advertising agencies including Chiat/Day and Young & Rubicam. In 2012, Crain’s New York Business counted him among its list of top “40 Under Forty” achievers. Houston studied at the University of Kansas.
Deborah A. Elam, chief diversity officer for General Electric Co. since 2002, was appointed president of the GE Foundation. Before serving as chief diversity officer, she was the managing director of human resources at GE Capital Commercial Finance. For the GE brand, she has held human resources positions in several areas, including GE Consulting Services, GE Capital Insurance Services and GE Capital Mortgage Corp. Elam’s tenure with GE spans 26 years. She joined the company in 1987 as an intern. She is a graduate of GE’s Human Resources Leadership Program and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. In 2005, she was honored as a Network Journal Influential Black Woman in Business. Elam has a master’s degree in public administration from Southern University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Louisiana State University.
Valerie Montgomery Rice was appointed president of Morehouse School of Medicine. The position makes her the nation’s first African-American woman to lead a free-standing medical school. Prior to this, she served as dean and executive vice president at the school. An obstetrician and gynecologist, Rice is a renowned infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist. While serving as president, she will retain her position as dean. In her new role, she is charged with eliminating health disparities and creating more diversity in the medical workforce. During her tenure as a medical practitioner, she founded Meharry’s Center for Women’s Health Research, which has been credited as one of the nation’s first research facilities devoted exclusively to studying diseases that impact women of color. Rice received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School.
Michelle Thornhill was named strategy and integration manager for Wells Fargo Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion. Before this, she served as African-American segment manager. In her new role, she will work with Wells Fargo’s leaders and stakeholders to support them in their efforts to strengthen and sustain an inclusive culture at the company. A 2011 Network Journal 25 Influential Black Women in Business honoree and a 15-year practitioner of finance and public policy, Thornhill earned a bachelor’s degree in financial management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; a master’s degree in organizational behavior and culture from Central Michigan University; and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.