French, a native of Louisville, Ky., has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a law degree from Miles Law School and a doctoral degree in higher education from Jackson State University.
Miles College has 1,600 students and a six-year graduation rate of about 20%, federal statistics show. About 90% of its students receive Pell Grants, federal funding given to students based on financial need.
Clark Atlanta officials cited French’s fundraising background, noting he surpassed prior records at Miles College, among the reasons he was hired. They also said French increased student access to educational funding and doubled the size of the existing campus with several key land acquisitions.
Clark Atlanta, which has about 4,000 students, has the largest enrollment of any school in the Atlanta University Center and is the only school in the center with master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.
Dillard University president and Atlanta native Walter M. Kimbrough said he was invited to apply for the Clark Atlanta job, but withdrew his candidacy, according to news reports.