Tomikia P. LeGrande is the sole finalist to become the ninth president of Prairie View A&M University. Credit: Courtesy Prairie View A&M University

Tomikia P. LeGrande has been selected to be the next president of Prairie View A&M University, one of the state’s two historically Black public universities.

LeGrande, who was announced as the sole finalist for the position by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, currently serves as the vice president for strategy, enrollment management and student success at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she has worked since 2018.

The announcement kicks off a required 21-day period before the board will take a final vote on the finalist. If officially approved, LeGrande will take over at the end of the current academic year.

“Dr. LeGrande will provide great leadership for the Panthers for many years to come,” said Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp in a news release. “Her experience and leadership in enrollment management and student success is exactly what PVAMU needs at this juncture to build on the great work Ruth Simmons has provided these past five years. I’m excited by where PVAMU is headed.”

Simmons, the current president, announced in March that she would step down. She came to Prairie View in 2017, not long after leaving Brown University, where she had served for a decade. Simmons said she will become president emerita and a professor at PVAMU while also helping with fundraising and creating a new university leadership training program. Simmons, a Houston native, is widely known as an innovator in the higher education world.

LeGrande has worked in Texas higher education before. Between 2012 and 2018 she served as a student affairs and enrollment management administrator at the University of Houston-Downtown. She also earned a doctorate in higher education administration from Texas Tech University, a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Savannah State University and a master’s degree in chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University.

Prairie View A&M’s enrollment currently hovers around 9,200 students, according to preliminary enrollment numbers for the fall semester. That number has remained largely flat even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“PVAMU has a strong legacy of transforming the lives of its students and contributing to the surrounding region and state of Texas, both educationally and economically,” LeGrande said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and community as we honor and build upon the university’s powerful legacy and upward trajectory.”