Dr. Tony Atwater

Tony Atwater
Fifth President of Norfolk State University

Tony Atwater began his tenure as Norfolk State University’s fifth president on July 1, 2011. Atwater, former president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Senior Fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, was chosen as president on April 22, 2011 by the NSU Board of Visitors. Atwater brings approximately 20 years experience as a senior administrator.

In his prior assignments, he significantly increased graduation and retention rates, as well as SAT scores. Atwater’s prior comprehensive experience in fund raising, enrollment growth, academic affairs, major capital projects and student services is an enormously positive portent for the present and future of Norfolk State.

Atwater has held previous administrative positions, such as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Youngstown State University; dean of the College of Professional Studies and Education at Northern Kentucky University; associate vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Toledo and chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). Prior to his teaching and administrative career in higher education, he worked as a broadcast journalist on television and at radio stations in Roanoke and Lynchburg, Va.

Among his other professional achievements and honors, Atwater served as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and he is a Ford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow. He also completed post-doctoral study in higher education administration at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management. He has published more than 30 articles in scholarly journals in his expertise, news selection behavior of the mass media. Atwater is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and is the recipient of the United States Army Commander's Award for Public Service, the highest civilian service award given by the U.S. Army. He was the recipient of a nationally competitive doctoral fellowship at Michigan State University and was awarded a nationally competitive higher education administrative internship at the University of Connecticut. He is a member of the board of directors of the International Student Exchange Program, the world's largest student study abroad organization. In 2008 and 2009, Atwater was formally recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Leaders in Pennsylvania awarded by Pennsylvania Business Central.

A native of Nashville, Tenn., Atwater holds a Ph.D. in communication from Michigan State University. He subsequently completed post-doctoral studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Michigan. He also holds a bachelor's degree in mass media arts from Hampton University and completed coursework toward a master of arts degree in education at Virginia Tech.