Black aging researcher Detroit to head UNLV

July 24, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A university administrator and African American families researcher from Detroit has been hired as the new president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, university officials announced Thursday.

Keith Whitfield, a psychology professor and provost at Wayne State University in Michigan, was signed by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board to a four-year contract.

Regents noted Whitfield is the first Black president in UNLV’s 63-year history.

He’s begins Aug. 24, replacing Marta Meana, acting university president since June 2018.

Whitfield, son of a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, received degrees at the College of Santa Fe and Texas Tech and did postgraduate work at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He was a psychology and neuroscience professor and geriatric medicine researcher at Duke University.


Nevada university Chancellor Thom Reilly said Whitfield boosted student success at Wayne State, where student diversity is similar to UNLV.

Whitfield’s research focuses on the relationship between stress and longevity in Black families. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications and earned funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation.

Meana declined to seek the permanent position. She’s a former psychology professor and UNLV campus administrator who headed UNLV’s Honors College.