Former Brookhaven president leading AACC

Kirstin Smith , Contributing Writer

Walter G. Bumphus worked closely with former President Barack Obama’s administration to better all community colleges. As an adviser to the president, Bumphus did his best to influence federal policy decisions related to the success of higher education. 

Bumphus, former president of Brookhaven Campus, then Brookhaven College, is now the president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, which represents over a thousand community colleges across the U.S. including Dallas College.


Bumphus served as the president of Brookhaven, from 1991-1997. As college president, he had a lasting effect on staff and students. He was responsible for the completion of S Building, which houses all of the services and offices new students need to visit when enrolling.

Bumphus said the construction of S Building is his proudest achievement during his tenure as Brookhaven College president.

 After many years of seeing first-time students overwhelmed by nerves and a lack of confidence in the future, Bumphus said he wanted to build what he referred to as “the front door” for the campus. 

Bumphus wanted a place for students to feel welcome and to reduce their uncertainty. He said, “S Building was going to be a one-stop-shop.”

S Building was the first of its size in the U.S. for community colleges when it opened in 1994. Faculty from 30 different states came to see it, Bumphus said.

Inside S Building today, visitors will find the Health Center, bookstore, Testing Center, Financial Aid, Advising, Registration and Career Development Center, as well as a Subway. This building sets students up for success. 


Not everyone is given a leg up in life, and Bumphus is an example of that. Bumphus is the oldest of 10 siblings. Bumphus said he believes he is where he is today because of his mother, who pushed education and pushed him not to settle. He wanted more for himself, and his track record leading up to his position today shows that.

Bumphus graduated from Murray State University with a bachelor’s in speech communication and a master’s in guidance and counseling. He also holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin.

For most of his career, Bumphus has dedicated himself to helping students graduate and move to the next level. At the age of 24, after graduating from Murray State University, he became the dean of students at Howard Community College in Arkansas.


Bumphus is now the leader of an organization representing over 12 million students and fights every day to improve their experience. The American Association of Community Colleges is a nonprofit organization that strives to be a voice for the students and staff of over a thousand community colleges across the nation according to their website.

Bumphus is dedicated to ensuring every community college he advocates for has the necessary tools to create productive members of the economy and society.

Bumphus’ efforts have not stopped with the AACC and the Obama Administration. He worked with former President George W. Bush and is currently advising the Biden Administration.

Bumphus said one of the biggest challenges to keeping students in school is finances. He said he will continue to support efforts to see all community colleges are tuition-free.