Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 146-year history of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership Paul Quinn has become nationally renowned for its innovative approach of using higher education to address the most persistent and pressing problems of society.
Among the school’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s eleven-year tenure have been the following: winning the HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; achieving recognition as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; creating the New Urban College Model; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to transform the football field into the “WE over Me Farm”; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); creating the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program; and rewriting all institutional fundraising records.
Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (where his dissertation defense was awarded “with Distinction”). While in law school, he was one of the founding members of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy and served as the Vice President of the Duke Bar Association. 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. Michael also has an honorary degree from Austin College.
President Sorrell was recently named to Fortune Magazine’s list of the World’s Greatest Leaders (as #34) and is the only two-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year Award in history (2016 and 2012) and has been nominated a record six times.
The Washington Monthly named President Sorrell one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents. Michael was the 2016 recipient of both the Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award and the Father of the Year Award for the city of Dallas. In addition to being a member of the “Root 100” (a list of the top 100 emerging leaders in America) by the Root Online Magazine, Michael has received: the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education; the A. Kenneth Pye Award for Excellence in Education from Duke University’s School of Law Alumni Association; a Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois; the Social Innovator Award from Babson College; Luminary Award from SMU; and the TRACS Leadership Award. The Dallas Historical Society honored Michael for Excellence in Educational Administration and the NAACP, Heart House, the Dallas Furniture Bank, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dallas have also recognized him for his civic leadership. He is a past recipient of the Dallas Urban League’s Torch for Community Leadership and both the President’s and C.B. Bunkley Awards from J.L. Turner for his outstanding contributions to the Dallas legal community. Additionally, in 2002 the Dallas Business Journal named him one of Dallas’ Forty Under 40 and in 2011, the same periodical awarded him a Minority Business Leaders Award.
Among the entities on which President Sorrell serves as a trustee or director are the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, Amegy Bank, Dallas Advisory Board of Teach for America, the Dallas Foundation, the Holdsworth Center for Educational Leadership, SMU’s Tate Lecture Series, and Earth Day Texas.
Michael is a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
President Sorrell is married to the former Natalie Jenkins. Natalie is an alumna of Spelman College and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They have two wonderful children, Michael Augustus and Sage Louise-SinclairDr. Michael Sorrell