Partnership Gives Students Access to Graduate Degree Scholarship, Flexible Path to Career Growth

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.Drake State Community & Technical College announced a partnership with nonprofit, online Western Governors University (WGU), allowing Drake State students and employees to pursue four-year and graduate degrees in high-demand sectors critical to the Huntsville area and Alabama employers. A signing ceremony was held on Monday, May 16th on the campus of Drake State.

“Drake State and WGU provided me with an excellent education that has helped me enter my chosen profession and excel,” said Max Tunstall, Chief Nursing Officer at Athens-Limestone Hospital. “Drake State offered a structured program where the instructors provided in-person instruction and one-on-one assistance. This was helpful when learning information and skills to prepare me to enter the workforce. WGU also provided a personalized education that was flexible and allowed me to balance my career, family, and educational obligations.”

WGU will provide Drake State graduates and employees with flexible, personalized learning pathways to undergraduate and graduate programs in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, nursing, education and business. Drake students will also be eligible to apply for a new Drake State Graduate Scholarship to aid in their WGU studies. WGU’s online programs are mentor-supported and designed to fit into busy work and home schedules, assisting in the goal of building a future-ready workforce.

Both Drake State and WGU strive to provide an affordable and accessible education,” said Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, WGU’s Southeast Regional Vice President. “We are delighted to partner with an institution that aims to better their students and graduates with opportunities to broaden their education and careers alongside WGU.”

“Partnering with WGU will create an exciting new pathway to four-year and graduate degrees for Drake State students and alumni in high-demand careers in the Huntsville area,” said Dr. Patricia G. Sims, Drake State President. “This collaboration will provide more Drake State students and alumni, like Drake-WGU alumnus Max Tunstall, with a new educational pathway to further advance their careers and increase earnings, security, and opportunity for their families. We are grateful for this new opportunity for Drake’s students and Huntsville area employees and employers.”

Drake is WGU’s first community college partner in the State of Alabama. At present, there are 1,300 WGU students in Alabama and over 1,700 graduates in the state.

For more information about the schools, visit wgu.edu and drakestate.edu.

About Western Governors University (WGU)
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, Western Governors University (WGU) is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university with career-aligned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in—IT, teaching, business, and healthcare—designed to help working professionals fit an online university education into their busy lives. WGU now serves more than 136,000 students nationwide and has more than 272,000 graduates in all 50 states. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, WGU is recognized as a highly effective postsecondary education model. Tuition is around $8,000 per year for most undergraduate degree programs.

WGU was recognized as a 2021 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. In 2021, WGU was recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). WGU’s School of Information Technology was awarded a CAE designation by the National Security Agency (NSA) for its B.S. in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program. WGU is also an Amazon Career Choice. Learn more at wgu.edu.

About Drake State Community and Technical College
Established in 1961, Drake State Community and Technical College is a historically black community college located in Huntsville, home to the fast growing, highly technical aerospace and defense industry, including the NASA Marshall Flight Center, US Army Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park, and the soon-to-be relocated Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters. Drake State offers flexible, affordable university-transfer 2-year and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized technical skills training for the skilled force needs for Alabama and Huntsville area employers.

In 2021, Drake State was awarded a multi-year $1.2 million grant from NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). MUREP provides financial assistance via competitive awards to minority-serving institutions to increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities and women in science and engineering fields. In 2022, Drake partnered with North Alabama’s largest healthcare employer to create the Huntsville Hospital LPN Launch Program Powered by Drake State. The popular initiative will welcome its first Licensed Practical Nurse students this fall.

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The original campus of the historic Mississippi Industrial College that closed in 1982, located in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS – Rust College has announced the receipt of a large grant that will aid in the restoration of Mississippi Industrial College (MIC), an HBCU which closed in 1980s. The National Park Service recently awarded $16.2M in grants to help preserve African American civil rights history. Of the $16.2 million, Rust College has been awarded $500,000 for the restoration of the historic Carnegie Hall which sits on the campus of MIC. MIC, which is located adjacent to the campus of Rust College, closed in the 1980s and the building have since stood unoccupied and deteriorating. In 1979, a short time before the doors to MIC closed, four of the buildings – including Carnegie Hall, – were entered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008, Rust College assumed control of the buildings in an attempt to save them from further deterioration. Since President Taylor’s arrival in 2020, it has been her vision to restore the MIC campus back to life and make it part of the Rust College campus community.

Carnegie Hall has major architectural and social significance in the state of Mississippi. Originally funded by a donation from Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall was built in 1923 and contained the largest auditorium and performance venue in Mississippi that was open to blacks and it was known as the Carnegie Auditorium. Even in its current condition, Carnegie Auditorium remains one of the best examples of Colonial Revival architecture in Holly Springs, Mississippi. An earlier stabilization project at Carnegie Hall was funded in part by a Mississippi Department of Archives and Heritage Community Heritage Grant.

Ivy R. Taylor, Rust College President

“The intertwined histories of Rust College and MIC are worthy of preservation. These recent awards, including $155,000 for a campus masterplan focused on preserving Rust College’s historic assets are welcome investments in the past and the future of these HBCUs. Our students and the entire Holly Springs community will benefit from a restored Carnegie Auditorium to showcase the area’s artistic and cultural heritage,” said President Ivy R. Taylor.

Earlier this spring, Rust College received its first congressional special project appropriation recommended by Senator Roger Wicker. This $1 million allocation was awarded to facilitate creation of the Ida B. Wells Social Justice and Interpretive Center on the MIC campus in the Booker T. Washington Hall building, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. These efforts are both apart of President Taylor’s larger vision to restore the MIC campus which will be a $35+ million-dollar renovation with the potential to offer new and innovative academic programming to Rust College students, and to serve as a place to restore the arts and meet the needs of the Holly Springs community and surrounding area.

“The African American Civil Rights grants are critical to helping preserve and interpret a more comprehensive narrative of the people, places, and events associated with African American Civil Rights movement,” said NPS Director Chunk Sams. This years’ National Park Service grant awards will benefit 44 projects in 15 states and support the continued preservation of sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality.

President Taylor and the Rust College Board of Trustees will continue to engage stakeholders in the efforts of revitalize MIC and integrate it into the Rust College campus community. Preservation of MIC campus will provide space for students and community organizations and this $500,000 award is a critical step toward realizing this plan. Rust College is continuing to build momentum around preserving the MIC campus and is planning and outdoor celebration on the campus later this summer. This event will be open to community stakeholder, investors and historians to celebrate the momentum happening with restoring one of our historic HBCUs.

“This project is support through an African American Civil Rights grant, provided by the Historic Preservation Fund, as administrated by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.”

About Rust College
Rust College is the oldest most prestigious historically black college in Mississippi founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Offering degree programs in business, education, humanities, science and mathematics, and social science, Rust College equips and inspires students for excellence and service in their communities and throughout the world. Located in Holly Springs, MS, just 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, Rust College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

For more information about Rust College, call (662) 252-8000, ext. 4915 or visit www.rustcollege.edu.

About Mississippi Industrial College
Mississippi Industrial College was founded in 1905 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell wanted to found a college for Negro youth which would inculcate Christian ideals, provide a practical education, and make better citizens. The first classes were held that fall. For the next 77 years the school fulfilled that mission, expanding to teacher education, the ministry, and the liberal arts. The 1960 MIC Key, shows that the overwhelming number of graduates majored in elementary education; physical education and mathematics also had high graduation numbers. In addition, MIC offered programs in auto mechanics, home economics and commercial subjects. As with many historically black colleges, MIC lost students when they were allowed to attend formerly all-white schools. Changing expectations of a new generation of black students led to greater enrollment losses at MIC. After federal funding was cut in 1981, MIC was forced to close in 1982.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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BLUEFIELD, W.VA – Bluefield State College has been approved for university status. The college is the last four-year public college in West Virginia to earn the title, joining its fellow HBCU, West Virginia State University in Institute. Bluefield State has completed all of the requirements to become a university.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s board, which oversees the four-year school, voted unanimously to approve the BSC’s request on Thursday. The next step is for the BSC Board of Governors to meet to approve the change, which will take place sometime next week.

Robin Capehart, Bluefield State College President

In December, the commission allowed Bluefield State to start offering master’s in business administration or MBA degrees, BSC’s first graduate degree program in the college’s history.

Colleges must meet several criteria to reach university status, and that includes offering at least one master’s-level degree program; having an approved mission statement that provides for the offering of graduate programs; obtaining the approval of the Higher Learning Commission to offer any master’s degree program; and, having at least two-thirds of its faculty holding a terminal degree.

According to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, becoming a university was one of the goals of Capehart when he took over the reins in January 2019, as well as bringing back on-campus housing, with both goals accomplished and more housing coming.

Capehart said the university status means an “opportunity to step up our game” and become more of a regional school and a competitive school.

About Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College, a historically black institution, is to prepare students for diverse professions, informed citizenship, community involvement, and public service in an ever-changing global society by providing an affordable, accessible opportunity for public higher education through certificate, associate, bachelor, and master degree programs. For more information, visit www.bluefieldstate.edu.

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Dr. Helene Gayle, MD, Globally Recognized Public Health Leader

ATLANTA, GA – Last month, the Spelman College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Helene Gayle, MD as its 11th president. Spelman College has a long, proud history of excellence and global leadership in the education of women of African descent and is committed to addressing racial inequities in education ensuring equitable opportunities for students of all economic backgrounds. Dr. Gayle’s presidency will begin on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Gayle currently serves as president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. Under her leadership, the Trust grew it assets from roughly $2.8B to $4.7B and adopted a strategic plan aimed at closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. A public health leader and humanitarian, Dr. Gayle spent nearly a decade as president and CEO of Atlanta-based CARE, one of the largest international humanitarian organizations, with approximately 11,000 staff and poverty fighting programs that reached 82 million people in 2010 in 87 countries. Under Dr. Gayle’s leadership, CARA reinforced its commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to communities living in poverty.

“Our success for more than a century and a half has been built by an engaged student body and alumnae, committed faculty and staff, and a history of exemplary presidents,” said Rosalind G. Brewer, Board Chair of Spelman College. “I’m excited about Dr. Gayle’s appointment and confident that her demonstrated ability to address complex issues in communities of color many of which involve the strength of Black females and her success factors, coupled with her commitment to equity, will further build on Spelman’s legacy and propel the College into the future.”

In months-long search, the Presidential Search Committee sought a leader who embodies the Spelman mission of academic excellence and global leadership, and whose experience and expertise would build on the College’s momentum in key areas, including affordability, entrepreneurship and innovation, and the Arts. In considering the Search Committee’s recommendation, the Board of Trustees considered key priorities for Spelman’s 11th president, some of which included increasing or improving the student experience, such as safety and housing, building on Spelman’s fiscal strength and maintaining the college’s attraction to diverse and talented students, faculty and staff.

“I am honored and look forward to being a part of a long, proud legacy committed to the education of women of African descent. This is a moment where HBCU are once again being recognized for the importance that they bring to every sector of this country,” said Dr. Gayle. “Spelman has a strong history of changing lives for people who will change lives. The idea of giving back to generations of students through cutting-edge academic programs and facilities, increasing college affordability, raising financial aid support and increasing the endowment, and developing new career pathways and opportunities is what invigorates and excites me about the new role.”

As Spelman’s 11th president, Dr. Gayle will assume the presidency at a time when the college is thriving. Spelman was named U.S. News and World Report’s #1 Historically Black College or University for 15 years in a row in 2022, the Nation Science Foundation’s #1 baccalaureate institution of Black or African American science and engineering doctorate recipients and is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars.

I am so proud to learn of the appointment of Dr. Helene Gayle as the 11th president of Spelman College. The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) welcomes you to leadership with open arms, and we are confident with the wealth of experience you have that you will lead Spelman with great courage,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., HCF’s Founder, President & CEO.

Dr. Gayle holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Psychology from Barnard College-Columbia University, a M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. She serves on several public and nonprofit boards, including The Coco-Cola Company; Organon & Co, a women’s health care company; Palo Alto Network, a cybersecurity company; and the Brookings Institution. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, GA, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with, Johns Hopkins through the Vivian Thomas Scholars, IBM HBCU Center for Quantum Computing, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. To learn more, please visit spelman.edu and @spelmancollege on social media.

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Budget outlines important investment in students and public institutions

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and members of the General Assembly visited the campus of Chicago State University on April 19, 2022 for the signing of a $46 billion FY 2023 budget.

CHICAGO, IL – Last month, the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) commended Illinois lawmakers on the passage of the 2023 fiscal budget, which focuses on relief, education, and public safety. The budget also included an increase in funding for K-12 public schools, MAP and supports higher education institutions.

“This is an exciting time for the state of Illinois and the future of education for many Illinoisans. HCF commends the work of House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch, House Democrats, and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker for their continuous support of making the welfare of Illinois residents a priority. The passage of the 2023 fiscal budget makes a massive impact on K-12 public schools and influences higher education within the state,said Demetrius Johnson Jr., HCF’s Founder, President & CEO. “The budget includes more funding for K-12 public schools and allocates towards MAP, which will allow additional students with financial needs funds for tuition and fees to pursue an undergraduate degree. And as always, I truly appreciate their support of Illinois’ only four-year, Predominantly Black Institution, Chicago State University. The 2023 budget will give Illinois higher education institutions a 5% increase in funding, including CSU. Additionally, it adds $1.8 million to CSU’s appropriation for the current fiscal year of 2022. Governor Pritzker and House Speaker Welch’s support outs an exceptional value on higher education within the state and the economy. Thank you for your investment into a brighter future.”

The budget provides a significant investment in Illinois’ higher education institutions and students. Illinois four-year universities, which includes Chicago State University (CSU), Illinois’ only designated Predominantly Black Institution, would receive a 5% increase in funding for fiscal year 2023 relative to this year’s current budget. The passed budget also adds an additional $1.8 million to CSU’s appropriation for the current fiscal year of 2022.

Additionally, adding more funding to K-12 publics schools, the budget also strengthen financial aid for students throughout the state. The increase funding of $122 million for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant is allow more low-income students to receive funds to assist with college tuition and fees.

“Governor Pritzker’s budget recognizes the unparalleled value of higher education to the Illinois’ economy,” said Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “Our data shows that each year CSU adds $1.6 billion to the Illinois economy and a strong return-on-investment for our students. As the University remains laser focused on equitable education and workforce development, this investment will allow CSU to further strengthen its economic impact as well as our student success.

Last year, CSU released its inaugural Economic Impact Study, conducted by economists, demonstrating that the institution is a driving force in the Illinois economy by adding $1.6 billion in income to the Illinois economy, support 17,525 jobs, and providing a strong return on investment for students and Illinois taxpayers.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Drake State Community and Technical College is offering a free professional development training course for middle school and high school science teachers. For one week, teachers will earn a $500 stipend for participating in a fun-filled, educationally packed immersion into NASA inspired curriculum. Plus, the training meets professional development CEU requirements. The program will equip teachers with tools that will enable them to design and implement lesson plans that are connected to NASA’s goals and mission.

When: June 13-17
Where: Drake State, 3421 Meridan St.
Time: 8:30 am – 2 pm

“This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to learn about industry best practices and trends in the science and engineering world,” said Dr. Marina Kinsbury, Director of Sponsored Programs. “The program will expand their knowledge in STEM education and help prepare students for careers in engineering.”

Those interested in participating can sign up online at https://form.jotform.com/221216920976155.

About Drake State Community & Technical College
Drake State Community & Technical College offers flexible, affordable university-transfer and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized skills training to fulfill the diverse workforce needs of employers. Visit www.drakestate.edu for more information.

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Photo: Grambling State University’s World Famed Marching Band performing halftime during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Football Classic, September 2021 in Canton, Ohio. Credit: HCF Media Team.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF), a non-profit advocacy and educational organizations, announces the return of its Annual HBCU Football and Recruitment Tour for its sixth year in 2022. Organization representatives will hit the road this fall once again in support of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) football classics. The tour will be joined by the Division of College Relations and Scholarships on specific dates to assist with recruiting students to HBCUs. The Annual HBCU Football and Recruitment Tour is the organization’s most significant initiative program.

L to R: Keisha J. Kelley, CEO of BlackCollegeExperience and Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund pictured at 80th Magic City Classic in Birmingham, AL.

In 2021, the tour made stops at the BCFHOF Football Classic in Canton, OH; Circle City Classic and College Fair in Indianapolis, IN; Alabama State University’s homecoming game; Magic City Classic in Birmingham, AL; Bayou Classic in New Orleans, LA; and the SWAC Football Championship game. The organization looks to return to its previously annual appearances at the Southern Heritage Classic and College and Career Fair, and the Chicago Football Classic. It also looks to add to the roster the John Merritt Classic, Fountain City Classic, St. Louis HBCU Classic, and Turkey Day Classic. The Division of College Relations and Scholarships joins the tour for the CFC, SHC, and CCC college fairs to provide to students with imperative information about attending college and the HBCU experience/campus life.

“This will be year two since the pandemic had to put us on shutdown, and football year were canceled in 2020. As always, Our media team is so excited to return to the field sidelines to cover and highlight HBCU football as well as our college fair representatives, but what’s more enjoying is meeting people of our HBCU family,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund. “It is such a reminiscing moment to look forward to planning season and put our outreach efforts in motion to tell the story of our nation’s HBCUs and MSIs. I believe this initiative is our happy space, and we look forward to it every year.”

The Division of College Relations and Scholarships was established to partner with and recruit prospective students to HBCUs and MSIs. Representatives are assigned to mentor and encourage students to choose the right institution that best fits their educational needs. The division has also established its signature “College Bound Guide Folders,” which provides students with college tips, scholarship information, FAFSA information, HBCU marketing materials – brochures and flyers, and career planning information.

“We always look to getting back out and meeting with students and their parents in encouraging them to choose HBCU; that is our goal at HCF. We also hope to encourage others to enroll at an HBCU or even support one. We also hope to continue to inspire and meet members of the HBCU community and supporters who follow the work of our organization,” Demetrius continued. “We hope this tour brings empowerment and awareness to HBCUs while making sure the names of HBCU institutions are known to the unknown.”

The 2022 confirmed dates are as follows.

  • Sunday, September 4th: Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic; Canton, Ohio
  • Friday, September 9th: SHC College and Career Fair; Saturday, September 10th: SHC football game; Memphis, TN
  • Saturday, October 1st: John Merritt Classic; Nashville, TN *
  • Sunday, October 16th: St. Louis HBCU Classic; St. Louis, MO
  • Saturday, October 29th: Magic City Classic; Birmingham, AL
  • Saturday, November 5th: Fountain City Classic; Columbus, GA *
  • Thursday, November 24th: Turkey Day Classic; Birmingham, AL *
  • Saturday, November 26th: Bayou Classic; New Orleans, LA
  • Circle City Classic, TBA
  • Chicago Football Classic, TBA
  • = pending confirmation. All dates are subject to cancellation and may not be rescheduled.

Those who would like to donate to support HCF’s continued advocacy work and the Annual HBCU Football and Recruitment Tour can give online by clicking here or text CAMPAIGNFORHBCUS to 1-844-701-5181.

Photo: 2021 Circle City Classic battle of the bands halftime show, Indianapolis, Indiana. Credit: HCF Media Team.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2012 and is a nonprofit educational organization that remains a strong advocate for students and higher education. The mission of HCF is to support the significance and raise funds for scholarships, programming, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

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A website is essential to our work and the organization needs at the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF). It allows the public to learn more about our work, access resources, and read exciting news happening within the HBCU space. Nevertheless, we are calling on our supporters to help us raise funds to restore and keep our website functioning.

HCF’s funding goal is to reach $50,000 for the year to continue the work we do in supporting and advocating for students and higher education. You can give the gift of support and help make an impact to the committed work that we do.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION

Thank you for your unwavering support of HCF!

Demetrius Johnson Jr.
Founder, President & CEO

Dr. Dennis Shields

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named Dr. Dennis Shields has the next president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University and A&M College during it’s meeting on February 18. Shields, the current chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville, will succeed President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton, who announced his retirement in 2021. Belton’s contract ends on June 30.

“I think the selection of Dennis Shields represents our belief that he’s the best fit to lead the University following Dr. Belton,” said Edwin Shorty, chairman of the Southern University System Board. “We felt that Mr. Shields comes with the right mix of qualities to further advance the University.”

Shields, who has been the chancellor for the University of Wisconsin Platteville since 2010, has spent most of his career advocating for better access to higher education – especially those who have been historically underrepresented. Under Shields’ leadership, the campus has had tremendous growth. Enrollment grew nearly 11 percent from 2010 to fall 2016. Most recently, he led successful efforts to gain legislative and gubernatorial approval to build a new $55 million state-of-the-art engineering facility on campus as well as a $23.7 million renovation project for one of the liberal arts buildings on campus. Those two projects, plus a $15.3 million Williams Fieldhouse expansion, will give the university more than $93 million in upcoming growth and improvements. Additionally, he led the construction of two residence halls, one with a dinning facility.

“I am humbled and honored by your confidence in me to take on this role at this wonderful institution of higher education,” said Shields to the Southern University Board via live stream video during the meeting. “I had a remarkable and inspiring visit (to campus) and was able to spend some time with the students. I take it as a great responsibility to help continue to rise of the Southern University System.”

Prior to his current position in Wisconsin, Shields held administrative positions in admissions at the University of Iowa College of Law, University of Michigan Law School and Duke University School of Law. He has also held a deanship and a teaching position at Phoenix School of Law and act as the vice president for student affairs at The City College of New York.

A champion of diversity and access, Shields served as the first chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the National Collegiate Athletics Association for Division lll. With Shields at the helm, the University of Wisconsin Platteville, has focused more on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Initiatives have successfully doubled the number of students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds over the course of the past decade.

Shields, an Iowa native, earned a bachelors degree in business administration from Graceland College in 1977, and a juris doctoral from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1982.

Shields will officially begin his term once a final contract is approved by the Southern University Board.

About Southern University and A&M College
Southern University and A&M College, an Historically Black, 1890 land-grant institution, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is to provide a student-focused teaching and learning environment that creates global leadership opportunities for a diverse student population where teaching, research, service, scholarly and creative expectations for students and faculty are achieved through the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs offered at the institution via different instructional modalities and via public service. For more information, visit www.subr.edu.

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Budget Outlines Important Investment in Students and Public Institutions

The proposed budget will support college affordability and focus on closing equity gaps in Illinois education.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) applaud Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal that outlines significant investment in Illinois’ higher education institutions and students. Illinois four-year universities, which includes Chicago State University (CSU), Illinois’ only designated Predominantly Black Institution, would receive a 5% increase in funding for fiscal year 2023 relative to this year’s current budget. The proposal would also add an additional $1.8 million to CSU’s appropriation for the current fiscal year 2022. If approved by the General Assembly, the budget would provide critically needed resources for the University and CSU students.

Governor Pritzker’s budget also strengthens financial aid for students by, among other things, increasing funding for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for low-income students by $122 million.

Governor Pritzker’s pushed the proposal for the fiscal 2022-23 budget investment early last year to provide stability for higher education institutions in Illinois, including CSU.

“Governor Pritzker’s budget recognizes the unparalleled value of higher education to the Illinois’ economy,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “Our data shows that each year CSU adds $1.6 billion to the Illinois economy and a strong return-on-investment for our students. As the University remains laser focused on equitable education and workforce development, this investment will allow CSU to further strengthen its economic impact as well as our student success.”

“I would like to express sincere gratitude to Governor Pritzker for his continuous attentiveness of how much a crucial impact and value that higher education has on the state of Illinois and its economy,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., Founder, President & CEO of HBCU Campaign Fund. “Chicago State University is a necessary jewel to the Black community of Chicago, and we must not neglect how much economic support and return of investment CSU nourished for its students and the state of Illinois. CSU continues to focus on providing equitable education and workforce development that allows CSU to supply to underserving and low-income students. I dearly commend President Zaldwaynaka Scott on her outstanding leadership, and we thank the Governor for his continued investment in a brighter future for the students in Illinois.”

Last year, CSU released its inaugural Economic Impact Study, conducted by economists, that demonstrated the institution is driving force in the Illinois economy by adding $1.6 billion in income to the Illinois economy, supporting 17,525 jobs, and providing a strong return on investment for students and Illinois taxpayers.

HCF President Johnson stated that the organization is elated to continue to play the role as a strong advocate and supporter of Chicago State University.

Click here to view Governor Pritzker’s Budget Fiscal Year 2023.

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