Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., was appointed UDC’s Chief Academic Officer/Provost in February 2019. With over two decades in higher education, Dr. Potter has moved through the professorial ranks as an assistant, associate, and full tenured professor. On the higher education leadership front, he has served as a department chair, associate dean of the faculty, two-time chief diversity officer (CDO), Director/Principal Investigator of a McNair Scholars Program, and Dean of Arts and Sciences for eight years, at two Minority-Serving Institutions.

Before accepting the role as Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Potter served as Dean twice, at two minority-serving institutions (MSIs): the Dollye M. E. Robinson College of Liberal Arts at Jackson State University (a Historically Black College and University) in Jackson, MS;  and, the University of La Verne (a Hispanic-Serving Institution) in Southern California.  Throughout his career, Dr. Potter has encouraged innovation in scholarship and teaching, launched initiatives to build interdisciplinary strength around global challenges, created environments that foster inclusive excellence, launched new health sciences programs, grown the research portfolio and extramural funding, and expanded opportunities for experiential learning. As a former collective-bargaining agreement administrator and faculty senate vice president, Dr. Potter has advanced shared governance initiatives, which have resulted in win-win outcomes for faculty and previous universities where he has worked previously. He was awarded the Lewis Walker Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award at WMU and the William B. Malevich Faculty Leadership Award at UST for his outstanding teaching and mentoring of students and faculty.

In 2003, he was named a Fulbright-Hayes Lecturer at Hong Kong Shue Yan University.  In 2009-2010, Dr. Potter was selected as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. In 2008, the St. Paul Foundation awarded him the Facing Race Ambassador Award for his anti-racism work in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. A leading scholar of race and literary studies, he has published peer-reviewed and scholarly articles on the intersections of race, class, and sexuality. He is completing a monograph on famed Harlem Renaissance author and critic Wallace Henry Thurman—Harlem’s Forgotten Genius: The Life and Literary World of Wallace Henry Thurman—and co-editing a collection of essays on race and equity in 21st-century higher education. Dr. Potter has presented more than 100 academic papers at national and international conferences.


Dr. Potter developed the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success, the Diversity Scholar-in-Residence, and the Council on Diversity and Equity at Allegheny College. Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized his leading work as part of a three-part series highlighting his transformative leadership on diversity, inclusion, equity, and the impact of race in higher education. He was selected as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (January 2018 and 2019). His work on developing diversity models has been used by many colleges and universities, nationally and internationally. He has traveled and lectured extensively in Africa, Asia, and Europe. He is a former Board Member of the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD). Dr. Potter currently serves on the Board of Directors for ACE Council of Fellows (COF), Research Advisory Council for EAB, Provost Council for the Consortium of Universities of the Metro Washington area (CUWMA), and Vice President of the National Alumni Association of Stillman College (NAASC).

Dr. Lawrence Potter

Chief Academic Officer/Provost
University of the District of Columbia
Dr. Potter graduated magna cum laude with a triple major in English, philosophy, and religion from Stillman College and earned his master’s and Ph.D. in English—with distinction—from the University of Missouri-Columbia.