Mary Evans Sias, PhD

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  • NAC Member
    Mary Evans Sias

Past President

Kentucky State University

Richardson, TX

Mary Evans Sias is the 13th president of Kentucky State University. 


Under Dr. Sias’ leadership since April 2004, Kentucky State University has expanded its use of emerging technologies to enhance the living and learning experience of students and streamline business processes; increased enrollment; and embraced sustainability.  The university also has added new undergraduate and graduate programs and refocused its study abroad and community-service programs, acknowledging that thriving in the 21st century means being able to work with and understand a diversity of people.


Dr. Sias is currently leading KSU’s $12.5 million capital campaign – “Uniting Generations  . . . Securing Futures.”  The five-year campaign goals will fund scholarships, endowments and improvements to the campus’ athletic infrastructure.


Prior to Kentucky State University, Dr. Sias was the associate provost and senior vice president for student affairs and external relations at the University of Texas at Dallas, from 1994 to 2004. She was also the chief executive officer of the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas for 13 years before joining the UTD administration.


An engaged member of the Frankfort community, Dr. Sias sits on the Frankfort YMCA Board of Directors, the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council.  She is a member of the Woman’s Club of Frankfort and the Frankfort-Lexington Chapter of the Links Inc. 


Dr. Sias serves on national boards dedicated to resolving issues surrounding and advocating for higher education. She is the immediate past chair of the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, where she also sits on the Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence executive committee.  She serves as a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities executive steering committee for the Millennium Leadership Institute and is chair of AASCU’s Professional Development Committee, which plans professional development programs for new and experienced college presidents. 


She sits on the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, chairs the Council of Presidents of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, serves on the executive committee of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and is a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 1890 Task Force.


Her involvement at the state level includes serving as a legislatively appointed member of the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board. She recently retired from the board of directors of Leadership Kentucky.

Dr. Sias grew up in Jackson, Miss. She went on to attend Tougaloo College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and received the college’s highest academic distinction.  She received her master’s and doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She also received a master’s in business administration from Abilene Christian College and a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship.  


Her honors include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Educational Leadership Award and the Minority Access Role Model of the Year recognition. She was selected as the 2010 recipient of the Martha Lane Collins Women’s Leadership Award by Women Leading Kentucky, and she is a recipient of the Education First Foundation’s HBCU Showcase honor.



Dr. Sias is married to Mr. Shadrach Sias, and they have one daughter, Adrienne.