Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 148-year history of Paul Quinn College. During his almost 13 years of leadership, Paul Quinn has become a national movement for its efforts to remake higher education in order to serve the needs of under-resourced students and communities.
Included among Paul Quinn’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s tenure are the following: 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); creating the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program, 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 Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award and the City of Dallas’ Father of the Year Award. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois.
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.
Among the entities that President Sorrell serves as a trustee or director for are Duke University’s School of Law, the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, JP Morgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways, Amegy Bank, the Hockaday School, the Dallas Foundation, and EarthX.
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 A. and Sage.