TALLADEGA, ALU.S. News and World Report listed Talladega College among the nation’s “most innovative schools” for 2020. In addition, the Princeton Review has named Talladega College one of the best colleges in the Southeast, a distinction the College has earned for two consecutive years.

Although Talladega has been known for academic excellence for over 150 years, recent rankings have confirmed it is also a great choice for financial reasons. Talladega was named a 2019 Best Value College by Kiplinger, a national publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice. Kiplinger ranked Talladega second in the entire nation among the “10 Best Colleges Values with the Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2019.”

In addition to favorable rankings, Talladega is also undergoing campus-wide renovation. A new state-of-the-art residence hall opened in January 2018. The Dr. Williams R. Harvey Museum of Art, which will house the critically-acclaimed Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals and other works of art, is scheduled to open in January 2020. In addition, Talladega’s first-ever student center is under construction.

The College recently launched an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. The 100% online, fully-accredited program has a curriculum that aligns with industry standards and can be completed in as little as 18 months.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from The New York Time during a three-year, eight-city tour. For more information about Talladega College, visit www.talladega.edu.

Dr. Monique L. Akassi named Assistant to the President and Tenured Professor of English.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College is pleased to announce that Dr. Monique L. Akassi has joined the College as assistant to the president and a tenured professor of English. Dr. Akassi is an award-winning, transformative servant leader and manager in higher education with over a decade of experience in academic and student affairs.

She is an accomplished researcher, administrator, and author who previously served as associate provost for faculty at Edward Waters College. During her tenure at Edward Waters, there was a substantive increase in student and faculty publications, development workshops, research presentations and grant proposal submissions. Two inaugural in-house, peer-reviewed journals for students and faculty were produced; a grant of $100,000 for the institutions forthcoming Honors College was secured; the inaugural HBCU Undergraduate Research Conference was presented; and the inaugural Student and Faculty Research Lecture Series featuring cutting-edge student, faculty and staff research was launched.

Dr. Akassi’s vast array of talents and areas of expertise include curriculum design, editing, digital literacy and assessment. She is the author and editor of over 22 publications, including the groundbreaking book W.E.B. Du Bois and the Africana Rhetoric Dealienation (Cambridge Scholars, 2018), which is the first book of scholarship in collaboration with a W.E.B. Du Bois’ family member (his great-grandson, Arthur McFarlane II).

She earned her Ph.D. In English Composition and Rhetoric with minors in Literary Criticism Theory and African American Literature from Morgan State University; an M.A. in English Composition and Rhetoric from Wright State University, and a B.A. in English & Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati. She has post doctorate certificates in Management Development and Women in Education Leadership from Harvard University.

Dr. Akassi is the founding president of the Jacksonville, Florida Chapter Interest Group for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and is the founder and president of African Critical Composition and Rhetoric Association (ACCRA).


About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladege.edu.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College was named a 2019 Best Value College by Kiplinger, a national publisher of business forecast and personal finance advice. Kiplinger ranked Talladega second among the nation’s “10 Best College Values with the Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2019.”

“I was very pleased but not surprised that Talladega College was listed among Kiplinger’s 2019 best college values. However, I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled that Talladega earned second place in the entire nation for colleges with low average graduating debt,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President.

On its website, Kiplinger’s notes, “Part of this ranking stems from the initial price tag: Talladega’s sticker price before aid is among the 10 lowest for all of our schools. Beyond the sticker price, Talladega’s average need-based aid package is $13,752, which knocks off more than half the cost. About three-fourths of students borrow, with the school able to meet 67% of need.”

The college is also listed among the Princeton Review’s 2018-2019 best colleges in the Southeast and named one of U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 best regional colleges and best HBCUs. Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.

The College’s first-ever student center is scheduled to open in November 2019. The 47,000 square-foot facility will include a 2,000-seat gymnasium, dinning hall, full kitchen, concession stands, coffee lounge, convenience store, fitness area, and multipurpose rooms. There will also be a health care clinic and a large convocation center with breakout rooms.

The College is also constructing the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art. The museum, which will house Hall Woodruff’s critically-acclaimed Amistad Murals and other works of art, is scheduled to open this fall.

High rankings and robust construction across the campus have helped to increase the visibility of the College, which enjoyed a record-breaking enrollment increase for the 2018-2019 academic year.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrent. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three-year, eight-city tour. For more information, www.talladega.edu.

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Dr. Perry W. Ward, President of Lawson State Community College participated in a workforce development event at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 25, 2019. The event marked the one-year anniversary of the Pledge to America’s Workers, an initiative created by the White House to educate and train the American workforce, recognizing the pledge many companies took to support workforce development efforts.

Among the 330 companies that signed on to take the pledge is Apple, who has committed 10,000 opportunities over the next five years for American students and workers. Lawson State Community College was one of the first schools to offer Apple’s App Development with Swift to prepare its students for jobs in the fast growing digital economy. This coding curriculum features tools, techniques, and concepts to build the basic iOS app from scratch. Beyond offering these new coding opportunities for its own students, Lawson State has played a leadership role in partnering with other community schools and organizations to bring coding to Birmingham college, high school and middle school students.

Lawson State launched the Swift Apps Certification Training program in January 2018 with three courses designed to provide instruction to future app developers on job skills needed in software development and information technology. Birmingham Can Code, in its second year at the College, has completed another successful summer boot camp with Birmingham metro area students being educated in the Swift Programming Language.

Lawson State Community College continues to be noted for its various partnerships and training initiatives, including workforce development. In 2011, Lawson State was recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” because of the College’s impact and approach to promoting workforce and educational opportunities.


About Lawson State Community College

Lawson State Community College provides affordable and accessible quality educational opportunities, promotes economic growth, and enhances the quality of life for the diverse communities it serves. Through varied instructional modes and lifelong learning opportunities, the College prepares students for gainful employment, career development, college transfer, and workforce development. For more information, visit www.lawsonstate.edu.

Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin, Jr. appointed Vice President for Student Affairs at Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL. – Talladega College is pleased to announce that Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin, Jr., has joined the College as Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Burgin, who will serve as a member of the institution’s leadership team, will provide direction for the development and administration of a wide range of academic support programs. He will supervise student affairs professionals in residence life, student activities, and counseling and career planning and placement; serve as a liaison with student organization; and facilitate programs aimed toward the enrichment of residential and student life.

Dr. Burgin formerly served as vice provost for student engagement at Kentucky State University, where he partnered with campus stakeholders to create a seamless student experience from application to graduation and career. His responsibilities included overseeing staff in eight key areas, including Residential Life, Campus Police and Leadership Development & Assessment. Prior to joining Kentucky State University, he served as associate provost and dean of students at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio; a Master of Education from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is an active member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and he has served as a Member at Large of the University of Cincinnati Board of Governors. He is affiliated with the American Council of Education (ACE), the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP), the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American College Personal Association (ACPA).

Dr. Burgin has been award the American College Personnel Association Standing Committee on Multiculturalism’s Outstanding Contribution to Multicultural Education Award and the University of Cincinnati’s Mosaic Award for Contributions to diversity.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour.

Shelton State Community College Logo.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – At its meeting on June 13, 2019, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) took a number of actions regarding the accreditation status of applicant, candidate, and member institutions in its region.

Shelton State Community College was reaffirmed with no additional reports required.

“I am very proud of this accomplishment,” stated William J. Ashley, Shelton State President. “It is due to the diligent work of faculty and staff members at the College and speaks to the continued progress of the institution.”

The C.A. Fredd campus of Shelton State was recognized as one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The C.A. Fredd Campus maintains that identity and continues the specific HBCU mission of promoting educational access and opportunity for all students in a culturally diverse community.


About Shelton State Community College

Shelton State Community College is a comprehensive institution committed to providing the community innovative and accessible learning opportunity to advance academic excellence, cultural enrichment, workforce training, and economic development. For more information, visit www.sheltonstate.edu.

Pictured: Drake State Community and Technical College President, Dr. Patricia Sims (left); and Alabama A&M University President, Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr.

HUNTVILLE, Ala. – Separated by only a fence, two Alabama historically black colleges and universities have become even closer when it comes to innovative programs that lead toward the success of their students.

The presidents of Alabama A&M University and J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, both located in Huntsville, Alabama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) June 17 that will enable students awarded delayed admission to AAMU to begin their academic tenures at Drake State and earn a credential as they prepare to transfer to AAMU.

“The Pathways Program offers access to high quality and affordable education for resolute learners,” stated Dr. Gary B. Crosby, AAMU vice president for student affairs. “Students enrolled in specific programs under this agreement will concurrently enroll in courses at AAMU to strengthen their college preparedness.”

By following an approved course of study in the Pathway Program, the students will only enroll in courses required for graduation from Drake State and automatically transfer to AAMU, according to Dr. Pamela H. Little, director of admissions and registrar at Drake State.

In statement during the signing ceremony at AAMU, President Andrew Hugine, Jr., and Drake’s President Patricia Sims noted that the Pathways Programs aims to increase credential attainment, as well as to eliminate any hurdles that may exist in the transfer process.

According to Crosby and Little, Pathways Program students will attend small classes in a supportive learning environment while gaining access to resources available only at the university level.

“The students enrolled in the Pathways Program are both Blue Eagles and Bulldogs from Day one,” said Little.

Joining the presidents at the MOU signing were members of the administration of both schools, in addition to cabinet-level officials, deans and other administrators.

For more information about the Pathways Program, contact Dr. Gary B. Crosby at AAMU, (256) 372-5233, or Dr. Pamela H. Little, Drake State, at (256) 551-1711.


About Alabama A&M University

Alabama A&M University is a public, comprehensive 1890 Land-Grant institution, committed to access and opportunity, and dedicated to intellectual inquiry. The application of knowledge and excellence in teaching, research and service is responsive to the needs of a diverse student population and the social and economic needs of the state and region. The University offers contemporary baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral level degrees to prepare students for careers in the arts, sciences, business, engineering, education, agriculture and technology. As a center of excellence, the University is dedicated to providing a student-centered educational environment for the emergence of scholars, scientists, leaders and critical thinkers, who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global society. For more information, visit www.aamu.edu.

About J.F. Drake Community and Technical College

J.F. Drake Community and Technical College is the first and only institution of its kind in Alabama. It’s an institution where students can enhance their futures through comprehensive academic and technical training programs. For more information, visit www.drakestate.edu.

Every Monday, the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) will spotlight a Chancellor or President who currently serves a Historically Black College or University. This initiative recognizes and introduces those individuals who serve our nation HBCUs on a daily basis, changing and educating lives while producing the forthcoming visionary leaders of tomorrow.

This week’s Chancellor or President:  Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College

Billy C. Hawkins, PhD

Dr. Billy C. Hawkins has served as president of Talladega College since January 1, 2008. During his distinguished tenure of the institution’s 20th president, he has stabilized finances; increased fundraising; expanded academic offerings; successfully guided the institution through SACSCOC accreditation; and led the College in reaching record-breaking enrollment increases. Under his leadership, Talladega College has been completely transformed and revitalized.

During his first year at the College, Dr. Hawkins implemented rigorous plans for renovation and growth. As a result of his vision, enrollment doubled from just over 300 students to 601 students in one semester; athletic programs were reinstated for the first time in ten years; and major campus beautification projects were undertaken. Today Talladega College has 1,217 students and is listed among the Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southeast and U.S. News and World Report’s best regional colleges and best HBCUs. The college recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. In addition, the campus is undergoing a major physical transformation.

A 45,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art residence hall opened in January 2019. In fall 2019, the College will open its first-ever student center, a 47,000-square-foot facility replete with a 2,000-seat arena as well as a banquet hall, restaurant, convocation center, computer lab, health care clinic, VIP suite, concession stand, coffee lounge and convenience store. Ground has also been broken on the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which will house six critically-acclaimed Hall Woodruff murals, including the renowned Amistad Murals. To construct the museum for Woodruff’s murals, which are valued at 50 million dollars, Dr. Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest-ever financial gift, a one million dollar donation from alumnus Dr. William R. Harvey. Dr. Hawkins also secured a 1.5 million dollar contribution from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the State of Alabama.

Dr. Hawkins spearheaded a similar transformation at Texas College, where he also served as the 20th president. Prior to his arrival, the College had lost both its accreditation and its membership in the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). During his 7-year tenure, which began December 1, 2000, the institution flourished. There was an 82% increased in student enrollment within the first ten months of his arrival. Under his leadership, the institution regained accreditation in 2001, stabilized its finances, and also regained its membership in the UNCF. Dr. Hawkins implemented five new academic programs, constructed three new facilities, remodeled all academic and student service facilities, procured property assets, eliminated all long-term debt, and started new athletic programs which won three championship. As a result of the remarkable turnaround, the college received a new 10 year accreditation in 2006.

Prior to joining Texas College, Dr. Hawkins served as Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education at Mississippi Valley State University. During his tenure at Mississippi Valley State University, he developed and proposed 18 new academic programs; increased internet accessibility and computer access for students and faculty; spearheaded diverse innovative faculty development initiatives; and re-engineered the registration process. Dr. Hawkins began his career as an educator in the Lansing Michigan Public Schools System. His passion for teaching led him to the field of higher education where he has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs/Professor at Mississippi Valley State University; Vice President for Academic Affairs/Professor at Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia; Acting Dean, Associate Dean, and Assistant Dean/Professor in the College of Education at Ferris State University; and Director of Educational Opportunity Program, State University of New York at Morrisville College. 

A prominent leader in the field of education, Dr. Hawkins has appeared on numerous television programs, including the O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly on FOX News, the Don Lemon Show on CNN, the Armstrong Williams Show, the ABC Evening News with the late Peter Jennings, BBC News, and diverse programs on local ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates. In addition, he has been featured on the cover of Diverse Issues in Higher Education and highlighted in publications such as Alabama Business Magazine, U.S. News and World Report and the Chronicle of Higher Education

Dr. Hawkins serves as chair of the 36 presidents of member institutions for the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) board of directors, and also serves as UNCF chair of the executive committee of member institutions, vice chair of the corporate board, and vice chair of the corporate board executive committee. He was appointed by President Donald Trump to the White House Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in September, 2018. In addition, he was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. Dr. Hawkins is the first African American to chair the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the author of two books, and a member of the Talladega Rotary Club, the Delta Upsilon Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is a recipient of the Vanguard Award from the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, the Colonel Leo Thorsness Courage Award, the Ferris State Distinguished Alumni Award, the Kent Hall of Fame, the Presidential Service Award from the HBCU Title III Administrators, Inc, the Distinguished Service Award to the Nation’s HBCUs, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Anniston Army Depot, Alabama’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc’s Graduate Citizen of the Year Award, and the Theta Tau Chapter’s Citizenship Award. Quality of Life Health Services named Dr. Hawkins a “Hero in Healthcare for 2018.” In recognition of his leadership in the community and the College’s 17 million dollar economic impact in the region, the Talladega City Council presented Dr. Hawkins with the Key to the City and other awards at a special council meeting and reception held in his honor in 2019.  

The Kent, Ohio native holds a B.S. in Teacher Education from Ferris State University; an M.A. in Education Administration from Central Michigan University; and a Ph.D. in Education from Michigan State University. He has completed post doctorate study at Harvard University. Dr. Hawkins and his wife Lucy reside in Talladega, AL. 


About Talladega College

Talladega College is located in an historic district of the city of Talladega, Alabama. The campus is on a plateau about 700 feet above sea level in the heart of a fertile valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The campus is a quiet place – away from the distractions and fast pace of urban living. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund

HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a non-profit advocacy organization which is mission to supporting the significance and campaign in raising funds for scholarships and services at historically black colleges and universities and predominately black institutions. HCF advocates for students, alumni, HBCU and PB institutions. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.