Portraits of Michael Sorrell


Michael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, the school has become one of the most innovative small colleges in America and is rapidly becoming a model for urban higher education by focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship.

Among the school’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s eight year tenure have been: winning the 2011 HBCU of the Year, the 2012 HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the 2013 HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; being recognized as a member of the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; creating the New Urban College Model; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to transform the football field into the “WE over Me Farm”; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); rewriting all institutional fundraising records (including the most seven-figure gifts in school history); and restructuring the curriculum.

PQC Image for Prez Page

Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. at 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, Teach for America, the Dallas Regional Chamber, Earth Day Texas, the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series and the SMU Department of Education Policy and Leadership for the Simmons School of Education at SMU.

The Washington Monthly recently named President Sorrell one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents. Additionally, he has been awarded the 2012 HBCU Male President of the Year by HBCU Digest, the Excellence in Education Distinguished Alumni Award from his high school, St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois, the A. Kenneth Pye Award for Excellence in Education from the Alumni Association of Duke University’s School of Law, the Luminary Award from SMU, and the TRACS Leadership Award. The Dallas Historical Society has honored Sorrell 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.

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 also a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Michael is a sought after writer and speaker (among the places that regularly feature his editorials are the Dallas Morning News and the Huffington Post). Additionally, his TEDx talk on the New Urban College Model is critically acclaimed.

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 children, Michael Augustus and Sage Louise-Sinclair.

Dallas Regional Chamber, Board of Directors (2014 – present)

SMU Tate Lecture Series, Board of Directors (2014 – present)

Impact Dallas Capital, Advisory Board (2014 – present)

The College Board, Board of Trustees (2013 – present)

University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority Serving Inst., Advisory Board (2013 – present)

SMU Simmons School, Dept. of Education Policy & Leadership, Advisory Board (2013 – present)

Earth Day Texas, Board of Trustees (2013 – present)

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, Board of Visitors (2012 – present)

Teach for America, Dallas Advisory Board (2011 – present)

Civitas Capital Management, LLC, Advisory Board (2010 – present)

Amegy Bank, Board of Advisors (2008 – present)

Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow, (2014)

Public Service Matters Spotlight Award, NASPAA (2014)

Excellence in Educational Administration, Dallas Historical Society (2013)

Grand Polemarch’s Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (2013)

HBCU Male President of the Year, HBCU Digest (2012) (Nominee in 2010, 2011, & 2013

Kenneth Pye Award for Educational Excellence, Duke University School of Law (2012)

Minority Business Leader Award, Dallas Business Journal (2011)

Outstanding Leadership Award, Transnational Assoc. of Christian Colleges & Schools (2011)

C.B. Bunkley Community Service Award, JL Turner Legal Association (2011)

Heart for Homes Award, Dallas Furniture Bank (2011)

Heart of a Champion Award, Heart House (2011)

Outstanding Alumnus (Educational Excellence), St. Ignatius College Prep (2009)

The ROOT 100 (Top 100 Young Leaders in America) (2009)

Phoenix Award, Boys & Girls Club of Dallas (2008)

Education Award, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Dallas (2008)

Harvard University Seminar for New Presidents (2008)

Educator of the Year Award, Black Police Officers Association (2007)

Educator of the Year Award, Southfair Ujima Awards, (2007)

Let Freedom Ring Award, NAACP (2007)


Changing The Odds Conference

Location: Hilton Anatole

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Texas Tribune Festival Panel

Location: Austin, Texas

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Duke Business Breakfast

Location: Dallas, Texas

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rail Volution Conference

Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BigBang! Conference

Location: Paul Quinn College

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dallas Bar Association Luncheon

Location: Dallas, Texas

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CMSI & CIEE Workshop and Annual CIEE Conference

Location: Berlin, Germany

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dallas Cowboys Celebrity Chef Game Day Celebrity Chef Program

Location: AT&T Stadium

Thursday, November 26, 2015