Joe Leonard is the assistant vice president of external affairs at Howard University. For more than two years, Leonard has served as director of the Howard University Community Association, focused on enhancing the university’s relationship with surrounding communities. Leonard previously served as the chief of staff to the senior adviser for the mayor of Washington, D.C. Leonard also served as assistant secretary for civil rights at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2009.
Before joining USDA, Leonard served as executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus . While at the CBC, Leonard managed the daily activities of the Caucus and helped guide the legislative policy for its 43 congressional members. Prior to his role at the CBC, Leonard served as executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, an umbrella organization of 32 member groups that together work to develop and implement public polices for African Americans in urban and rural America. He also served for five years as the Washington, D.C. bureau chief of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and director of the Arthur Fleming Institute of the Center for Policy Alternatives.
- Bachelor’s degree, American History, Huston-Tillotson University
- Master’s degree, American History, specialization in civil rights, Southern University
- Ph.D., American History, specialization in civil rights, Howard University