Innovators of Color

Dr. Michael Sorrell


Paul Quinn College

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 149 - year history of Paul Quinn College. During his 14 years of leadership, PQC has become a nationally – renowned for its efforts to remake higher education to serve the needs of all students and communities.

Included among Paul Quinn’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s tenure are the following: raising graduation rates by more than 20%; winning the HBCU of the Year and the HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; creating the New Urban College Model; transforming the football field into the WE over Me Farm; achieving full accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); and rewriting all institutional fundraising records.

President Sorrell is one of the most decorated college presidents in America.  He has been named Higher Education’s President of the Year by Education Dive, one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, is the only three-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year Award (2018, 2016 and 2012), and Time Magazine listed him as one of the “31 People Changing the South.” Washington Monthly Magazine identified him as one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents.  Michael is also the recipient of the City of Dallas’ Father of the Year Award.

Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  Michael was a recipient of a Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which funded his studies at both Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (as a graduate fellow) and Duke University.  He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government, served as Secretary-Treasurer of his senior class, was a two-time captain of the men’s varsity basketball team, and graduated as the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer.

President Sorrell serves as the chair of the Board of Governors for the Dallas Foundation and is a member of the Executive Committees of the Board of Trustees for both the Hockaday School and College Track.