In 2021, the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) announced the creation of the Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders. An honor recognizing a current or retiring/retired president or chancellor serving an HBCU or MSI upholding decade-long value and contributions to higher education.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, 7th President of Stillman College.

Eight days after the death of Dr. Davis and the day (Oct. 22) that was proclaimed as Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Memorial Day in Pine Bluff. HCF President & CEO Demetrius Johnson, Jr. and the organization have unanimously announced retiring Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick as one of the 2023 honorees to receive the honor.

Dr. Warrick is the first woman to hold the position at the college and announced her retirement from the presidency in September 2022. She will step down from the role at the end of her current contract term on June 30, 2023.

Warrick was named the seventh president of Stillman College in April 2017 after four months as interim president. Upon her arrival to campus, she was tasked with stabilizing the institution’s finances and academic standing, as well as enhancing its donor relationships. The College saw a student enrollment increased from Fall 2016 to Fall 2019. In 2020, the SACSCOC accreditation was reaffirmed for another 10 years without any recommendations or further action.

In 2020, Dr. Warrick was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders by the HBCU Campaign Fund, recognizing her for tireless work executing fundraising strategies and the previous roles she served in higher education.

Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund.

“Dr. Warrick defines what a true trailblazer is, and identical to Chancellor Emeritus Davis, Dr. Warrick also upholds what a true giant exemplifies in the space of higher education. Dr. Warrick holds a significant part of the contributions that she has bestowed, and it is immeasurable,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund. “It is with great pleasure to recognize Dr. Warrick with such a great distinction as a Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Jr. Trailblazer of Higher Education honoree. I am so proud of her, and we congratulate and wish her all the very best in her future endeavors.”

In 2012, Dr. Warrick was selected as Interim President at South Carolina State University. In 2014, she was appointed as Interim President of Grambling State University, where she brought stability to the institution in its crisis. Prior to, she was a Senior Fellow at Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and also served as President of the Society for Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences, based in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Warrick earned her bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Howard University; and completed the masters of science in public policy from the George Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in environmental science & public policy from George Mason University.

The award was named after the late University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., who passed away on October 15, 2022. The recipients awarded are evaluated on their drive to advance the mission to change and inspire others. The individual has prove their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of people life’s in the higher education space.

“Dr. Davis legacy has been inspirational and has impacted many lives throughout his career. Both Davis Sr. and Jr. were well-respected leaders, and I truly appreciate their contributions to our Dear Mother. The gifts of Dr. Davis will forever be a long-standing treasure of UAPB, and we will always cherish his warmhearted spirit. We will continue to live through his legacy, and his namesake of the Trailblazer of Higher Education Award will continue to carry on.” Johnson continued.

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 2023 is expected 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.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman College’s first female president announce that she will retire from the presidency at the end of her contact term on June 30, 2023, during a news conference held on campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The first woman to hold the president position at Stillman College, Dr. Cynthia Warrick, will retire from the presidency at the end of her current contact term on June 30, 2023, according to the College.

Warrick announced her retirement at a news conference held on campus on Thursday, September 8. Warrick said her time at Stillman has been incredibly rewarding and she’s excited for the future of the college.

“Stillman is a space place and Tuscaloosa is a great college town. I will cherish the outpouring of support from the local community, the state, and the alumni that has contributed to the success that we have achieved during my tenure,” said Warrick. “Stillman is now at a place where a new president can build on the solid foundation of teaching, research, and community service that we have established in the past five years.”

Warrick was named the seventh president of Stillman College in April 2017 after four months as interim president. Her tenure at Stillman has seen the college grow, diversify its course offerings, and enhance its academic reputation nationally. Since 2017, Stillman has added multiple programs to reshape its liberal arts profile and reflect growing trends in the workforce in the State of Alabama, such as business concentrations in data analytics, supply chain management, and cybersecurity, as well as new offerings in film and music industry. Since 2019, Stillman has been recognized each year as a “College of Distinction.”

In 2020, Warrick was named amongst the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders by the HBCU Campaign Fund, recognizing her for her work in the space of higher education, contributions, and achievements at Stillman College.

“I am lost for words but in tears of joy right now. What a remarkable leader that Stillman College was blessed with, Dr. Cynthia Warrick is more than incredible. I admire and applaud her for an exceptional job well done,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., HCF Founder, President & CEO. “Our organization was honored to recognize her work in higher education as a dominant leader in 2020. I have been following Dr. Warrick since her tenure as interim president at Grambling State University when HCF was smaller in name. It will be rough initially to not tie Stillman to Dr. Warrick as current president; furthermore, I am so proud of her; we congratulate and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Warrick has been a steadying presence and relentless force in critical areas for the college. Upon her arrival to campus, she was tasked with stabilizing the institution’s finances and academic standing, as well as enhancing its donor relationships. Her impact would be felt immediately – student enrollment increased 27% from Fall 2016 to Fall 2019, and the college had its largest incoming freshman class (231) since 2014. In 2020, Stillman’s SACSCOC accreditation was reaffirmed for another 10 years without any recommendations or further action.

Additionally, Warrick worked tirelessly to address the college’s debt, rallying presidents at more than 40 institutions with HBCU Capital Finance loans to work with policymakers and Congressional leadership, first for deferment, and in 2020, loan forgiveness, an effort that would result in Stillman eliminating $40 million from its book, making the college debt free.

Stillman’s business, government, and academic partnerships have also grown under Warrick’s leadership. During the past five year, Stillman grew grant funding and sponsored programs to more than $12.8 million dollars through the recruitment of research faculty and the development of MOUs with major research universities and community colleges, including the expansion of graduate school pathways with the existing 50-year partnership with the University of Alabama. Warrick also established summer research opportunities in biomedical sciences with Drexel University, the Salk Institute, and LaJolla Research Institute in Immunology. And, for the first time in its history, Stillman receives an annual appropriation from the State of Alabama Education Trust Fund.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick, the first female president of Stillman College, who begun her tenure in 2017. Warrick announced that she will be retiring at the end of the academic year on June 30, 2023.

“Dr. Warrick has been a significant part of the existence of Stillman College – her contributions are immeasurable,” said Donald Comer, Sillman College Board of Trustees Chair. “The college has gone through some very rocky times, and she has been the anchor that has kept us on track. She has raised the brand of the institution and enhanced the college’s reputation.”

Stillman’s enchanced brand reputation is buoyed by a significant overhaul of its website, logs, watermarks, and digital footprint. Warrick has also strengthen Stillman’s historical connection to the Presbyterian Church USA and the West End Tuscaloosa community. She served on the board of UNCF, Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club & Foundation, the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Agency, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Girls Scouts of North Central Alabama, and the United Way of West Alabama, among others.

“I marvel at what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time with 70% of our students from Alabama,” said Warrick. “When I learned about Stillman graduates earned 36 doctorates between 2010 and 2020, making us number two for HBCU undergraduate institutions producing PhDs in the State of Alabama, it proves the value of the small HBCU contributing to the knowledge-based economy that is required today.”

Stillman’s Board of Trustees has initiated a national search for Warrick’s successor. The plans are to name a replacement for Warrick by the time she retires.

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Dr. Cynthia Warrick, president of Stillman College, signs a MOU with Southern Illinois University’s School of Law as Dr. Mark McCormick, Stillman College provost, looks on. (Photo credit: David Miller/Stillman College)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stillman College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale have signed a memorandum of understanding to help students from the historically Black liberal arts college enroll and earn a degree from the SIU School of Law, with the aim of diversifying the legal profession.

Increasing diversity among attorneys: SIU Carbondale and Stillman College officials sign an agreement to help Stillman students enroll and earn degrees from the SIU School of Law. Participating in the ceremony from SIU were (at table from left): Wendell Williams, associate chancellor of enrollment management; Camille Davidson, dean, SIU School of Law; Chancellor Austin Lane, and Meera Komarraji, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. On the screen are Stillman College President Cynthia Warrick, Stillman alumna and attorney Shalyn McKitt, and Lizette Chevalier, SIU associate provost for academic programs. (Photo credit: Russell Bailey/SIU)

Parties from both Stillman College and SIU School of Law formalized their agreement Wednesday. Stillman is the first HBCU to establish a student pipeline program with SIU School of Law.

“This program will allow selected students to participate in a summer pre-law program to expose them to the rigor and policies of law school admissions,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman College President.

“We are also looking to advance similar programs in pre-health professions for students in Stillman’s Biomedical Academy with SIU. Collaborative efforts like this will ensure Stillman students are competitive for entry and success in law school and other professional programs. We are grateful to SIU for creating this opportunity.”

Under the agreement, SIU and Stillman College, SIU and Stillman College, a 761-student institution in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will engage in collaborative academic activities with the SIU School of Law that promote a path for Stillman College students to enroll in the law school and earn their law degree. The MOU also includes other options for students considering how they can continue their education after earning their bachelor’s degrees.

Camille Davidson, dean of SIU’s School of Law, noted that about two-thirds of minority applicants who apply to the law school are not accepted primarily due to low Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. In October 2021, there were 246 students in the law school, of which 17, or 7%, were Black. The law school had 41 minority students, including women, last fall.

“We are committed to being an anti-racist and inclusive law school,” said Davidson. “The only way to have real access to justice is to train attorneys from various backgrounds. Students from underrepresented populations are often not exposed to the study of law, and many who are interested are not prepared for the application and admissions process. Building partnerships with HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, like Stillman, will help SIU School of Law become more diverse.”

SUMMER PROGRAM ALSO PLANNED

A summer program will bring 15 college students from across the country to SIU’s campus, May 25-29, to explore legal careers, understand the law school application process and begin to prepare for the LSAT while honing skills necessary for law school, such as understanding how to read and analyze a case, Davidson said.

“We will answer ‘Why law school?” We want to provide these students with the resources to be successful in applying to and graduating from law school,” Davidson said. “Like SIU, Stillman is located in a rural area and many of the students are first-generation college students.”

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.

About Southern Illinois University Carbondale
SIU embraces a unique tradition of access and opportunity, inclusive excellence, innovation in research and creativity, and outstanding teaching focused on nurturing student success. As a nationally ranked public research university and regional economic catalyst, we create and exchange knowledge to shape future leaders, improve our communities, and transform lives. For more information, visit www.siu.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.

Proposed facility would replace King, Williams dorms on Stillman Campus

Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick (right) and Elisha Rhodes, interim CEO and COO of YWCA USA, sign a MOU to collaborate on a health and wellness recreation center project on Stillman’s campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stillman College and YWCA USA have partnered to pursue development of a facility to provide childcare, health, and recreational services to one of Tuscaloosa’s critically underserved areas.

Representatives from both Stillman and the YWCA signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday on Stillman’s campus and will soon begin raising funds and support for the center, which will serve Stillman students and employees, as well as residents in Tuscaloosa’s West End.

Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick said there is a scarcity of accessible parks and activities for both children and seniors in the West End. The planned facility will provide education, fitness and health activities to a multi-generational West End populations.

Stillman College and the YWCA USA signed a partnership agreement Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, that will lead to the construction of a YMCA facility on campus. The new facility will be named in honor of Vivian Malone Jones, the first Black person to graduate the University of Alabama. William Hall, right, and King Hall, former residence halls contaminated with asbestos and lead paint, are the two buildings that will be torn down and replaced by the new facility. [ Yahoo News Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

“We need this space for both the campus and our community,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, president of Stillman College. “And the YWCA, which provides housing education and childcare services, is a perfect partner.”

The plan is for the center to replace both King Hall and Williams Hall, a part of dormitories no longer in use and are planned for asbestos abatement and later demolition. The Stillman Foundation recently received a Brownfields Assessment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a cleanup plan for the structures. The Stillman Foundation will soon pursue an additional grant to perform the cleanup itself.

“The YWCA is excited to partner with Stillman College as it works to create innovative approaches that forge new ways to bring about equity and access to resources in underserved communities across the country,” said Elisha Rhodes, interim CEO and COO of YWCA USA.

“YWCA works to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, and enable greater access to education and health care to make the communities we serve more equitable,” Rhodes said. “This partnership with Stillman College is essential to that work and will help us continues to deliver programming, services, and other resources that support our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Official plan to name the facility the “Vivian Malone Jones YWCA at Stillman College.” While Malone Jones is the first African-American to graduate the University of Alabama, her husband, Dr. Mack Arthur Jones, was a Stillman student who served as her personal driver during her time at UA. Malone Jones’ family credits the support from Stillman and Tuscaloosa’s West End for helping her graduate from UA, Warrick said.

The development of the Vivian Malone Jones YWCA at Stillman College will also enhance community-based programs that currently operate on Stillman’s campus, including Arts & Austism, which holds classes and activities at Stillman; and the Girls Scouts, which is headquartered at the Hay Center. Additionally, The House Tuscaloosa, a literacy initiative for children on the West End, is located in the historic president’s house on Stillman’s campus.

Warrick said Stillman students will benefit greatly from the numerous layers of engagement, which will provide opportunities to manage recreational programs, tutor and engage in STEM education activities, and connect with seniors, which ties into Stillman’s Quality Enhancement Plan to prepare students for a multi-generational workforce.

“Stillman is so central to this community – an anchor for over 100 years,” Warrick said. “We should be able to draw and enhance the services for our students, youth and seniors. We’re excited to begin this mission.”

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.


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hrdCHICAGO, IL – This past June, HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) held its 3rd annual HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition with the theme “Rulers of the Throne”. The competition highlights newly historically black colleges and universities campus Queens, Kings and SGA Presidents.

The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is an initiative that spotlights the newly elected and crowned campus leaders through a pre-submitted biography with a series of questions relating to their campus improvement, strengths, motivation and upcoming plans during their reign or term.

This year’s competition featured a mixture of 20 campus leaders who holds the title of Queen, King and SGA Presidents that were voted by the public to be featured in the dictionary. The leaders are represented from the following schools: Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Stillman College, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University, Saint Augustine’s University, Grambling State University, Virginia Union University, Savannah State University, Bennett College,  Benedict College, Fisk University, Claflin University,  University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Morris College, Savannah State University, Philander Smith College and Chicago State University.

After two (2) years of the competition, this year was the first publication of the HBCU Royalty Dictionary as a magazine. The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is usually published to the HCF’s website featuring the present year induction class.

The 2016 HBCU Royalty Dictionary is now available and can be viewed in PDF format on HCF’s website here. You can purchase the magazine copy for $7.99 + shipping in support of the featured student leaders here.

All proceeds from the magazine will benefit and assist supporting the next HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition, student scholarships, services at HBCU’s and operations of HBCU Campaign Fund.

For more information regarding the HBCU Royalty Dictionary, contact support@hbcucampaignfund.org or call HCF office at 773.988.2106.