Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.

UNLV President

Keith E. Whitfield is an experienced university administrator and prolific scholar in the fields of psychology, health, and aging. President Whitfield joined UNLV in August 2020 after serving as provost, senior vice president of academic affairs, and professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Michigan. He previously served as vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University, where he was also a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience and co-director of the university’s Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.

A student success-focused leader, Whitfield is proud to oversee one of the nation’s most diverse universities for undergraduates and one that holds the highest recognition for both research and community engagement. In 2021 he introduced Top Tier 2.0, a strategic plan update that moves UNLV forward on its path to becoming a top public urban research university through focused growth in undergraduate and graduate student success, economic diversification, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. He has brought energy and innovation to a vibrant university, leading initiatives such as an interdisciplinary approach to faculty hiring and research, and the introduction of the first-ever “digital president” to connect with and meet the needs of students.

An active administrator and researcher, Whitfield has authored or co-authored over 200 publications and has earned over $20 million in funding from agencies including the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, and the National Science Foundation. A psychologist and expert on the social, psychological, and cultural factors of cognition and healthy aging, Whitfield’s current research focuses on the relationship between stress and longevity in African American families.

He’s a member of the National Institute on Aging's National Advisory Council on Aging, he sits on the board of directors for the American Foundation for Aging Research and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and has served on committees for the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.  

Whitfield earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Santa Fe, a Master's in psychology and Ph.D. in lifespan developmental psychology from Texas Tech University, and he completed postdoctoral training in quantitative genetics from the University of Colorado Boulder.