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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Dr. Jenkins is second longest tenured leader in Livingstone College’s history

Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., second longest tenured president of Livingstone College.

SALIRBURY, NC – Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., announced to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9 that he will retire from his role on July 1, 2022, after 16 years of service.

Jenkins was appointed to lead the historically black college in February 2006. He is the second longest tenured president in the history of the school.

Prior to Livingstone, Jenkins served as president of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., where a gymnasium there bears his name. Before that, he made history by becoming the first alumnus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) to serve as chancellor, after earning both his master’s and doctorate degrees in biology from Purdue University. A science building at ECSU is named in his honor.

The Livingstone Board of Trustees reluctantly accepted Jenkins letter and recognized his constructive feats as president. New board chairman Bishop Kenneth Monroe said that Jenkins will remain in role as president until a successor is appointed, and trustees and the college prepare for a series of events commemorating his tenure.

“Having labored 38 years as a college and university president has been exhilarating and exhausting,” said Jenkins. “I am grateful for the great support from the Livingstone College Board of Trustees, our alumni, the people and leaders of the City of Salisbury and Rowan County, donors and friends of the college. There is a strong sense of melancholy in the realization that a long career is ending, yet to quote Kenny Rogers, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them – and I believe that time has come. The city has been good to me and my family as evidenced by the kind of collaborative support that has been demonstrated over these past 16 years.

Rev. Dr. Nilous M. Avery, II talks with Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins as they process to the Founder’s Day program at Varick Auditorium. Thursday, February 11, 2016, in Salisbury, N.C. / JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST

During his tenure, Livingstone has undergone significant progress. At his hiring, Jenkins challenged the Board of Trustees to use his experiences to change the college approach to educating students often troubled by socio-economic difficulties, thus creating the Holistic College model.

Under Jenkins’ leadership, the campus saw its first major construction in more than 40 years in that of Honor Hall, apartment-style united for new students with high grade-point averages.

He is credited with saving the college from closure from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission Colleges (SACSCOC). Today, the college boasts reaffirmation of accreditation for the next 10 years without a single recommendation.

jenkins also raised the net asset value of the college by $15 million; acquired a former Holiday Inn to established the hospitality management and culinary arts program; and reactivated the college’s 40 acres of land to grow food and supply culinary arts.

College enrollment grew 35 percent to 1,400 students, the largest in school history (pre-COVID), resulting in Livingstone purchasing College Park Apartments, a four-building complex that houses 100 students.

“Livingstone College was its lowest ebb when we began our search for a new president in 2006,” said Bishop George W.C. Walker, former chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Jenkins became the best candidate in the search process and ultimately the president. He provided the greatest tenure of a president in the history of the college. Dr. Jenkins phenomenally lifted the college to extraordinary heights. Without question, Livingstone College is in a much better place because of his presidency.”

Jenkins was named one of ‘The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021′ by the HBCU Campaign Fund, citing the past accomplishments as president of Edward Water College, vice chancellor and chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, and currently at Livingstone College.

Jenkins’ retirement announcement comes the same week Livingstone held a ribbon cutting on a new state-of-the-art science annex, and on the heels of several major developments at the college including new upgrades to Alumni Memorial Stadium, construction of an esports arena; and application for Livingstone to apply for Level lll status to award graduate degrees and be renamed Livingstone University.

Additionally, under Jenkins’ leadership, Livingstone started a Study Abroad Student Exchange Program with students studying and living in five foreign countries; became a gated campus with decorate wrought iron fencing; relocated the Blue Bear mascot to the front lawn and painted it blue, and established a campus radio station, WLJZ 107.1M.

“Emphasis is always placed on leadership – the pilot – but we cannot forget the ground crew,” Jenkins recently told faculty and staff at opening session. “The pilot is important, but the work is executed by the ground crew. Your work is critical to our success.”

The goal, he said, was to create an environment where young men and women would not only obtain a degree, but have the capacity to command their rightful place in the global society, Jenkins said.

“I still feel this is why God has had his hand on this institution,” he said. “We serve the underserved, but that does not mean they are not deserving. They may be disadvantaged, but certainly not disregard. I’m glad my life work has been at an HBCU.”

About Livingstone College
Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon has appointed Drake State President Dr. Patricia Sims to the Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) Board of Directors. Sims, as President of an Alabama public two-year college, will represent all 24 schools within the Alabama Community College System.

Dr. Patricia Sims, president of Drake State Community & Technical College.

“Dr. Sims has such a broad and deep career in education,” said APC Executive Director Gail Piggott. “She is recognized as a community leader, exemplary administrative head, and someone who promoted building the workforce so that families can thrive.”

Dr. Sims has dedicated her career to education at multiple levels including primary to 12th grade, community college, and university.

“Education is my life’s work and I am honored to serve an organization that is committed to serving Alabama’s families,” said Sims. “The Alabama Community College System provides a unified system of institutions dedicated to delivering academic education, adult education, and workforce development. By providing an impact at an earlier stage, students in pre-kindgarten to high school will be able to gain the support and training needed to enter the workforce.”

The Alabama Partnership for Children relies on community colleges for the early childhood programs that help develop highly skilled teachers for the early childhood sector. Institutions like Drake State also help build skills and competencies for families to improve their livelihoods and incomes.

“Dr. Sims involvement with young people and her interest in their success dovetails perfectly with the vision statement of the Alabama Partnership for Children that ‘every Alabama child will have the opportunity to succeed in life,” said APC Board Chairperson Trippy McGuire. “We welcome Dr. Sims as a new member of our board and look forward to her lending her expertise and enthusiasm to our organization.”

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CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) has released its annual The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class. The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class is a national recognition ranking that was created by the HBCU Campaign Fund, a non-profit that advocates for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The dynamics of higher education in America today are driving the demand for a new set of skills and capabilities for tomorrow leaders. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) provide a high-quality education to low-income, first-generation, and academically underprepared students. Also, these institutions as such serve a diverse population while maintaining the role as the backbone of higher education and well underrepresented for more than a 150-year history.

According to HCF’s Founder, President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson Jr., the fifth selected group of leaders have “proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher education space, and the daily needs of what an HBCU or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes.”

The organization has identified ten chancellors and presidents currently serving an HBCU or MSI, who exemplify a prominent and influential role in leadership and model the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward.

In addition, the organization announced the inaugural Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazers of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders. A new honor that will recognize a current or retiring/retired president or chancellor that serve(s) a HBCU or MSI and upholds decade-long value and contributions to the field of higher education.

Receiving the inaugural award are retiring presidents Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., of Alabama A&M University, and Dr. William R. Harvey of Hampton University. Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. is also among Hugine and Harvey to receive the honor.

HCF Honors AAMU’s 11th President Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr. as One of Its First Trailblazers of Higher Education Honorees Among Its Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award Recipients and Fifth Class

“This is a delightful time for us at HCF as we approach revealing the fifth class of honorees for the annual award recognition. As a student under Dr. Davis’ leadership, I appreciate all of his contributions to our beloved Dear Mother and am honored to acknowledge him in such a prestigious way,” said HC President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson Jr. “I commend Dr. Hugine and Dr. Harvey on a magnificent job well done for the roles that they’ve played at their institutions, and this could not be more than special to salute them for their leadership. We congratulate them both on their retirements and send our very best wishes.”

Click here to view the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 award recipients and fifth-class honorees.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund

The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2012 and is a non-profit 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, programs, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

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CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) announced the creation of the inaugural Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazers of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders, a new honor that will recognize a current or retiring/retired president or chancellor that serves a historically black college or university (HBCU) or minority-serving institution (MSI) that uphold decade-long value and contributions to the field of higher education.

Receiving the inaugural award are retiring presidents Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr. of Alabama A&M University, and Dr. William R. Harvey of Hampton University. Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. will also be among Hugine and Harvey to receive the honor.

The award will be named after the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. The recipients will have advanced the mission to drive change and inspire others. The individual has proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of people life’s in the higher education space.

Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“This is a delightful time for us at HCF as we approach revealing the fifth class of honorees for the annual award recognition. As a student under Dr. Davis’ leadership, I appreciate all of his contributions to our beloved Dear Mother and am honored to acknowledge him in such a prestigious way,” said HCF President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson, Jr. “I commend Dr. Hugine and Dr. Harvey on a magnificent job well done for the roles that they’ve played at their institutions, and this could not be more than special to salute them for their leadership. We congratulate them both on their retirements and send our very best wishes.”

A native of Pine Bluff, Dr. Davis received his formal education at the Arkansas AM&N Laboratory and Merrill schools. A true believer in education, Dr. Davis attended Arkansas AM&N (now UAPB), University of Arkansas, and completed his doctorate degree at Iowa State University. Originally a teacher of Mathematics and Physics, Dr. Davis worked across the United States, from the halls of Mississippi Valley State University to the halls of NASA, before returning to his hometown to become a professor at UAPB. In 1991, Davis was named Chancellor of the university by Dr. B. Alan Sugg, former President of the U of A System. A published researcher, receiver distinguished alum awards from UAPB, U of A-Fayetteville, and Iowa State, and an active community member, Dr. Davis made UAPB athletics one of his many platforms during his tenure with the institution, and made many strides in the advancement and promotion of the various athletic programs the university operates. During his tenure, the football stadium and adjoining field house were constructed and completed, as well as the baseball complex and the UAPB Soccer Field. He led the university through a period of academic growth and spearheaded the accreditation and reaccreditation of various academic programs throughout the university. He also led the construction of three new academic buildings in the center of campus, as well as the renovation and construction of on-campus housing. After 21 years of leading the university, Dr. Davis retired in 2012.

The Annual Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class is a national recognition ranking that was created by the HBCU Campaign Fund, a non-profit that advocates for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The recipients are honored for their prominent and influential role in leadership and displays the characteristics of the responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward.

The Class of 2022 is excepted to be announced early January.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2012 and is a non-profit 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, programs, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

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FAIRFIELD, Ala. – The Miles College Board of Trustees voted to extend the contract of President Bobbie Knight to run through May 2024.

Trustees conducted President Knight’s performance review prior to the October 2021 board meeting and in that meeting voted to extend her contact an additional two years, Knight began her tenure at Miles College in August of 2019 as Interim President before being voted permanent on March 5, 2020.

During Knight’s tenure as president, the College has experienced two consecutive years of enrollment increases. The most recent addition brought the College’s total enrollment above 1,500 for the first time since 2017. Also, under President Knight’s leadership, the College has had an increase of over 500% in private gifts and more than 1100% in public and foundation grants. The College also increased its endowment to an all time high and has been rated one of the top 10 most fiscally stable HBCUs in the nation.

“Miles is fortunate to have President Knight at this critical time. Her strategic approach to goal-setting, her extensive corporate experience, and her warm and engaging personality are assets that have already benefited the College,” said Trustee Board Chair, Bishop Teresa Jefferson Snorton. “We look forward to new initiatives that she will launch to assure Miles College students receive a quality education and college experience.”

“I am grateful that the Board of Trustees is allowing me to reimagine Miles College in the years to come,” Knight said. “I also appreciate the trust they have conferred upon me, and I look forward to maintaining my commitment to Miles College and her students.”

A formal inauguration is being planned for Spring 2022. The pandemic interrupted original plans in 2020. More details will be available at a later date.

About Miles College
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution (the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) saw education leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degrees, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham, Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

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Alabama A&M University’s 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., has been named one of the first HCF Trailblazers of Higher Education honorees among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 Award recipients and fifth class.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is gearing up to reveal its annual The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award recipients and fifth class. The organization has announced that among the recipients is Alabama A&M University’s 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., who will retire after twelve years of leadership at the end of December 2021. Dr. Hugine will be honored as one of the first HCF Trailblazers of Higher Education recipients among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 for his outstanding dedication to the space of higher education and his long record of accomplishments.

“A true trailblazer at heart and an outstanding leader beyond, we salute Dr. Hugine on a job well done for his dedication to the space of higher education. Holding twelve years of leadership at AAMU and more years in higher education, Dr. Hugine has proven to other leaders in the space that they can do it too,” said HBCU Campaign Fund’s Founder, President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson, Jr. “HCF is delighted to honor such a legendary individual as Dr. Hugine, and we commend him for his contributions. When consulting this year’s list of leaders, there was no other to consider honoring but Dr. Hugine, and we wish him the best on his retirement.”

Alabama A&M University 11th President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr. (Photo courtesy of AL.com)

Prior to Dr. Hugine’s appointment to AAMU, he served as President of South Carolina State University. Other positions held included Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; Director of Special Services Program; Director of University Year for Action Program-a service-learning program; Research Fellow; Assistant and Director of Institutional Self-Study; Professor of Mathematics; and high school mathematics teacher. He has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his leadership in education and adept administrative skills.

Since his appointment at AAMU, the University’s accreditation with SACSCOC has been reaffirmed; the financial status of the university has been strengthened; the university signed a $96 million dollar financing agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the largest in the Department history, which was used to refinance existing debt and construct a new 580-bed student residence hall; enrollment has increased by 25.83% since Fall 2012 with Fall 2018 enrollment being 6,108, the Fall 2018 freshman Class of 1,521 is the highest in the University’s history, ten(10) new academic degree programs have been added; private funding has increased by 68% percent and the university has successfully completed a $27.3 million capital campaign; and more than two dozen memoranda of understanding have been signed with companies, governmental agencies and universities including one with the prestigious Confucius Institute.

Dr. Hugine earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from South Carolina State University and a doctorate in Higher Education/Institutional Research from Michigan State University.

The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award & Class is a national recognition that honors the outstanding work and leadership of chancellors and presidents of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions. The individuals are selected for their leadership that plays a prominent and influential role in shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals’ lives in the higher education space and the daily needs of what an HBCU and MSI contributes.

The organization will reveal the remaining list of honorees of chancellors and presidents that currently serve an HBCU or MSI who play a prominent and influential role in leadership and displace the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward as well as its second Trailblazer of Higher Education honoree in early January 2022.

About HBCU Campaign Fund
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 20212 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, programs, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

About Alabama A&M University
Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical 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.

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Alumnus honored during ceremony, tree-planting on Veterans Day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As part of a commitment to innovation, cutting-edge programming, and academic opportunities, Stillman College’s Veterans Resources Center has launched the Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams Institute for Leadership, Education Equity, and Race Relations in America.

The Institute expounds upon the life and legacy of Stillman alumnus Willie J. Williams, one of the first three African-American Marines to wear the rank of three-star general. Williams retired in 2013 from his position as the director for Marine Corps Staff.

The William Institute is an effort to afford Stillman College and the community extensive access to scholarly research, interdisciplinary study, discourse and debate and advocacy on cutting-edge issues related to leadership, education equity, and race relations in America.

Stillman announced the Institute Thursday during its Veterans Day festivities, including a tree-planting on the quad in Williams’ honor.

“This world needs knowledgeable leader,” Williams said. “I’ve seen the best and worst of them, and those that are well-balanced in their knowledge and understanding of leadership, equity, and race – without even continuously categorizing them as such – have a much greater positive impact on their organizations.”

Stillman College alumnus Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams was honored Thursday for his service in the Marines and to his alma mater.

Williams said his path from “extremely humble beginnings” to Stillman College “statistically should not have happened.” He credits being an active student at Stillman for helping shape him into a leader and one of the most respected voices in the U.S. military.

“I have received many awards and honors in my lifetime,” Williams said. “However, being the namesake of this endeavor supersedes them all.”

DeMarcus Hopson, dean for enrollment management and executive director of Military Student Services, leads this initiative, with senior business major Ronnie Williams, Jr. serving as student director. Hopson said the WI’s mission reflect Lt. Gen. Williams’ legacy as a cornerstone in the foundations of innovation and opportunity.

“This institute will serve as a celebrated mainstay in our region and amongst our benchmark institutions,” Hopson said. “The research and programming that have been carefully tabbed, developed and prepared will dramatically challenge the status quo and mediocrity often associated with this work and will confidently awaken a generation of global leader; this institute is revolutionary for Stillman College.”

The WI’s lectures, symposiums, brown-bag lunches, working group sessions, leadership retreats, and special program initiatives will include students, administrators, practitioners, staff members, parents, business leaders, and community partners. The WI activity heralds three unique programs in full support of its purpose and objectives.

  • The Black Male Initiative, a student development initiative focused on increasing matriculation, retention, and graduation rates for males of color
  • The 1876 Project, community engagement initiative
  • The Alabama Troops to Teachers Program, an alternative teacher certification program for veterans

These special programs will stabilize the WI’s framework and stand as the pillars of its research, programming, and partnerships. The WI will seek and attract the support of key community institutions in its work. Not only will the WI’s efforts collaborate with diverse groups of people, but it will also seek to secure cross – cultural understanding through community building, anti-racism/diversity training, conflict resolution, and educational equity initiatives.

Stillman alumnus Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams, right, and Stillman Executive Vice President Derrick C. Gilmore shovel dirt onto a magnolia tree that was planted in Williams’ honor Thursday.

Hopson noted the approach to the WI’s work is boldly framed as a triad continuum of research, student development and civic engagement within a Ten-Point Mission:

  1. Demonstrate the counter – narrative of black males in education.
  2. Honor diverse experiences through narratives of excellence that support student success.
  3. Motivate community stakeholders to cultivate and promote positive change.
  4. Empower students to thrive academically, civically and socially.
  5. Dismantle negative stereotypes cross-culturally.
  6. Advance military and veteran student issues and contributions as well as innovative social science research and programming.
  7. Train emergent leaders prepared to excel in a global society.
  8. Foster community engagement locally and nationally.
  9. Promote student success by creating holistically supportive environments.
  10. Develop mentoring, peer connection, and student involvement opportunities through institutional and grant-funded research and student development programming.

“I am excited about the work Mr. Hopson and other will do,” Lt. Gen. Williams said. “I foresee this framework being adopted by campuses across the country and I look forward to participating and leveraging my influence to move the needle in the right direction.”

About Stillman College
Stillman College is a liberal arts institution with a historical and formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is committed to fostering academic excellence, to providing opportunities for diverse populations, and to maintaining a strong tradition of preparing students for leadership and service by fostering experiential learning and community engagement designed to equip and empower Stillman’s students and its constituents. For more information, visit www.stillman.edu.

Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon.

ELIZABETH CITY, NC Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

During AASCU’s Annual meeting in Clearwater, Florida this week, Chancellor Dixon was one of a number of university chancellors and presidents named to the board for this three-year appointment.

“This is a great honor to be named to the board of directors. I look forward to the work we will accomplish collectively advocating for higher education institutions in our country,” said Chancellor Dixon.

Prior to becoming ECSU’s 12th chief executive officer, Chancellor Dixon has served as a senior administrator at the UNC System Office since 2008. In 2014, she was named vice president for academic and student affairs, where she was responsible for overseeing the Division of Academic and Student Affairs for the System’s 17 institutions.

Chancellor Dixon is a recent recipient of one of North Carolina’s highest honors, The Old North State Award, for her dedication to higher education. In 2020, she was named “One of the 10 Most Dominant HBCU Leaders,” by the HBCU Campaign Fund, and appointed to the National Women in Aviation Advisory Board.

Since being named ECSU’s chancellor in 2018, she has led the push for campus-wide revitalization and renovation projects, consistent enrollment growth, numerous public and private partnerships, and successfully navigated the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AASCU is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning-and-teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 SWAC Lifetime Achievement Award. Thomas is an alumnus of Alcorn State.

During his collegiate playing career, Thomas was a standout offensive lineman at Alcorn State where he was a two-time Pittsburgh Courier All-American (1972 and 1973), and was named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1973 – the first and only offensive lineman to win the award. Thomas was a member of the Braves’ 1970 SWAC championship team, and his team, and his teams went a combined 27-8-1.

He is currently in his 20th year as Commissioner of the MEAC, following a period of nearly two decades that has seen the conference remain financially stable, strengthen institutional compliance and improve student-athlete graduation rates. In the process, he has gained the distinction as one of leading collegiate athletics administrators in America.

The steady leadership of Thomas has reassured the league’s student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans alike that their health and safety take precedence over athletics competitions, in keeping with the MEAC’s motto of “Educating Student-Athletes for the Game of Life.”

The MEAC celebrated its Golden Anniversary in 2020-21, celebrating 50 years since its founding in 1970. Under Thomas’ guidance, the conference continues to be a pacesetter even during a global pandemic.

Thomas is scheduled to be formally recognized at the 2021 SWAC Hall of Fame presented by Pepsi on Friday, December 17th at 6 p.m. CST/7 p.m. EST at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

About the SWAC
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is considered one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country and currently ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams

Current championship competition offered by the league includes competition for men in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field and Tennis

Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.