Michael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, Paul Quinn has become nationally renowned for its innovative approach to using higher education to address societal problems.
Among the school’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s nine-year tenure are: winning the HBCU of the Year (while being nominated three times), 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 that transformed PQC into the country’s only urban Work College and reduced tuition and fees to $14,300; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to repurpose 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 (including the most seven-figure gifts in school history).
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 the 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 on which President Sorrell serves as a trustee or director are Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, the College Board, the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, Amegy Bank, Dallas Advisory Board of Teach for America, the Dallas Foundation, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Earth Day Texas.
The Washington Monthly Magazine recently identified Michael one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents, and he is the only two-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year Award in history. He 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; the Excellence in Education Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois; the 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.
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 received her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They have two amazing children, Michael Augustus and Sage Louise-Sinclair.