TALLADEGA COLLEGE – Talladega College announced that its president and chief executive officer, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, will retire effective June 30, 2022. When Dr. Hawkins took the helm at Talladega in 2008, the institution was struggling to survive and had under 300 students.
He implemented rigorous plans for renovation and growth that resulted in a total transformation of the college. He had one of Talladega’s most prized possessions, Hall Woodruff’s acclaimed Amistad Murals, removed from the walls of Savery Library, where they had hung for almost 70 years, and appraised. They were valued at $40 millions, but in danger of disintegrating. With the assistance of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the murals were restored and sent on a three-year, eight city tour. The value of this historic collection soared to $50 million.
As a result of Dr. Hawkin’s vision, enrollment doubled to 601 students in one semester. He stabilized finances; increased fundraising; restarted athletics; reopened historic Swayne Hall; expanded academic offerings; restarted athletic programs; beautified the campus; initiated a robust building campaign; and successfully guided the institution through SACSCOC accreditation in 2009 and 2019.
The college ha enjoyed record high enrollment increases every academic year since 2018, and all previous enrollment records were shattered during the 2020-2021 academic year, when enrollment soared at an all-time high of over 1300 students.
Between January 2019 and January 2020, the college held ribbon-cutting ceremonies for three new facilities – a new residence hall; the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the Amistad Murals; and the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center. To construct the museum for Woodruff’s murals, Dr. Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest-ever financial gift, a one million dollar donation from alumnus Dr. Williams R. Harvey. Dr. Hawkins also secured a 1.5 million dollar contribution from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the state of Alabama. The Talladega College Board of Trustees voted to name the new student center in honor of Dr. Hawkins in recognition of his many outstanding contributions to the institution.
Under Dr. Hawkins’s leadership, Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS); built an acclaimed 400 member marching band; took 23 students on all-expenses-paid tour of Japan via Kakehashi Project Study Tour; won at least 17 athletic championships; and celebrated the return of Hale Woodruff’s critically acclaimed Amistad Murals to the campus.
Talladega’s 2019 SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) accreditation was reaffirmed through 2029 with no recommendations for change in any of the standard reviewed and, for the first time ever, the college gained accreditation to teach at the master’s degree level.
As a result of the transformation he brought to Talladega, Dr. Hawkins has become widely known as “the turnaround expert.” He serves as chair of the 37 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 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 was the first African American to chair the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is the author of two books, and a member of the Talladega Rotary Club, the Delta Upsilon Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was ranked first place among the Top Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 by HBCU Campaign Fund.
About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabamaa’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the bet southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.