Pictured (left to right): Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, President of Olive-Harvey College; Z Scott, President of Chicago State University; U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; Dr. Katonja Walker, President of Kennedy-King College; and Dr. Michael Anthony, President of President of Prairie State College.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with the presidents of four Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) in Illinois last week to discuss federal support for PBI colleges and students. During their meeting, the Senators spoke with the college presidents about ensuring that PBIs receive adequate federal funding, which would help PBIs address capacity buildings, enrollment declines, and student success outcomes.

“Illinois is home to many colleges and universities, including eight Predominantly Black Institutions, that offer a high-quality education and financial support to students,” said Durbin. “I enjoyed meeting with college presidents to discuss how the federal government can continue to work alongside PBIs to provide the best education possible to Illinoisans by removing obstacles to learning for students.”

U.S. Tammy Duckworth speaking with two out four president from Illinois’ Predominantly Black Institutions.

“Predominantly Black Institutions are places to educate America’s students and so much more,” said Duckworth. “They’re reminders of the resilience of African Americans through years of discrimination in education, and they’re places of community, culture and history. Today’s meeting with leaders from Illinois’s coalition of Predominantly Black Institutions was a great opportunity to discuss my support for eliminating barriers and discrimination in higher education and the federal resources these institutions need in the future.”

PBIs are a distinct designation of Minority-Serving Institutions, and they serve high proportions of Black students, first-generation college students, and students from low-income backgrounds. PBIs account for three percent of postsecondary institutions, but enroll nine percent of Black college students. Illinois has eight PBIs that enroll nearly 200,000 students.

Participating presidents in the meeting include:
1. Z Scott, President of Chicago State University
2. Dr. Michael Anthony, President of Prairie State College
3. Dr. Katonja Walker, President of Kennedy-King College
4. Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, President of Olive-Harvey College


CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited Chicago State University (CSU) Wednesday to discuss the $450,000 in federal funding he secured through Congressionally Directed Spending – more commonly known as an earmark – in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill to purchase science laboratory equipment for their Health Sciences Simulation Lab. This funding will be used to help students learn best practices in pediatric and home health care, as well as support a workforce pipeline of nurses, occupational therapists, and pharmacists.

“As the only four-year Predominately Black Institution in Illinois, CSU is committed to closing the diversity gaps in health care professions,” said Durbin. “That’s why I secured $450,000 to support their efforts to provide a high-quality education for students in the College of Health Sciences. This funding will ensure that the next generation of nurses, occupational therapists, and pharmacists get the very best training. I will continue to advocate for federal funds to diversify our health care profession.”

“Senator Durbin effort to secure this $450,000 federal investment to purchase necessary science laboratory equipment for our University’s state-of-art Health Science Simulation Lab will assist CSU in providing top-level training to our students and supply the diverse leadership needed in the health procession,” said Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “Located in the heart of Chicago’s south side, CSU is uniquely positioned to be the center of training for Health Sciences professionals that represent the patients they serve.”

“Senator Durbin has been a champion for Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution and HBCUs for quite some time; supporting Black communities throughout Illinois has always been his top priority, and I admire his leadership. HCF applauds Senator Durbin for securing this $450,000 federal investment that will enhance and diversify the healthcare profession for the next generation of healthcare professionals,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., Founder, President & CEO of the HBCU Campaign Fund. “Institutions such as Chicago State are persistently committed to providing the necessaries to health care professionals that is so importantly needed. I always praise President Scott for her extraordinary leadership and all she does to enhance the students’ needs at CSU.”

There is a shortage of diverse professionals in health care. Despite comprising 14 percent of the population, only five percent of physicians are Black, and there are fewer Black men entering medical school today than the 1970s. When health care professionals reflect the diversity of the populations they serve, there is increased patient trust, improved communication, and reduced health disparities. As the only four-year Predominately Black Institution (PBI) in Illinois, CSU is well positioned to train a diverse pipeline of medical professionals to pursue nursing, medical school, or other medical professions. CSU has a high proportion of students who came from medically underserved communities and return to their communities after graduation.

About Chicago State University
Chicago State University (CSU) founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. CSU is committed ti equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. For more information, visit www.csu.edu.


Chicago State University’s entrance sign.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced $587,729 in federal funding to Chicago State University. The funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions Program will assist the university in implementing their Resiliency and Capacity Expansion for Student Success in the Health Professions (RECESS-HP) Program. Chicago State, located on Chicago’s South Side, is Illinois’ only four-year U.S. Department of Education-designated Predominately Black Institution.

“Those of us who weren’t always sure we’d be able to go to college or faced barriers upon entry understand the power of a diploma,” said Duckworth. “I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to ensure federal support for higher education, especially for Illinois schools like Chicago State University and for working class communities and communities of color, so that every American has the opportunity to enroll in college and complete a degree.”

“Higher education should be accessible to every American, no matter who they are or where they live. Today’s federal funding will help recruit and enroll students at Chicago State University to study health and science at an affordable cost. I will continue to work with Senator Duckworth to secure these kind of investments in communities of color and Predominately Black Institutions,” said Durbin.

“This funding, part of a 5-year, $2.9 million commitment, will help ensure Chicago State University’s continued excellence in the health sciences, where our graduate experience 100 percent job placement. Health sciences in an area of growth in the Illinois workforce, and we know that increasing access into the healthcare workforce for communities of color is key to addressing health inequities, so we will continue our innovative student success strategies with this federal funding,” said Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq.

Through RECESS-HP, Chicago State plans to prioritize outreach to Black men, develop programs in health education and sciences and improve and expand hybrid and remote learning for students at the university. The U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions Program awards grant to eligible colleges to make higher education more accessible for low-and middle income Black students.