Showing posts with label HBCU news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HBCU news. Show all posts

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Tuskegee University Names Dr. Mark Brown, Distinguished Alum, as 10th President

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The Tuskegee University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark Brown ‘86 as the university's 10th president and chief executive officer. Dr Brown's selection is the first time in Tuskegee's nearly 143-year history that an alum will lead the university. He will begin his tenure on July 1. 

The Board of Trustees approved the retired Air Force Major General’s nomination after several talented leaders stepped forward to succeed Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, the university’s ninth president.

The university announced the retirement of Dr. Morris last fall after almost 40 years of service. At that time, the search firm Storbeck developed a committee of university representatives at all levels – Trustees, faculty, staff, alums, and students – to develop the confidential process to review candidate applications and participate in interviews.

“The Board of Trustees conducted a thorough search process, considering candidates from across the nation, and was impressed by Dr. Brown’s vision, expertise, and passion for higher education,” said Norma Clayton, Chair of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees. “Working with the Board, we are confident that he will provide a clear vision, direction, strong leadership, and guidance  to evolve and grow the university.”

Dr. Brown's extensive executive experience includes the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business,  and the Robert and Edith Broad Academy for Urban School Superintendents, now hosted at the Yale School of Management.

An educational leader

Dr. Brown, who received his bachelor’s from Tuskegee in accounting, earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy University, a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the Air Command and Staff College, a Master’s in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and his doctorate in Education from Baylor University. His experience in education is varied and distinguished.

While a Major General in the Air Force, Dr. Brown served as Deputy Commander of Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. AETC recruits, trains, and educates Air Force personnel. His command included the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered Air Forces, and two fully accredited graduate and doctoral degree-granting universities: Air University and the Air Force Institute of Technology. AETC operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter, and mobility aircraft, 23 wings, 10 bases, and five geographically separated groups. The command trains more than 293,000 Airmen annually, with approximately 60,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian, and contractor personnel.

After retiring from the Air Force with 32 years of service, Dr. Brown expanded his educational service as the chief operating officer of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid, which had a lending portfolio of $1.7 trillion equivalent to that of the nation’s five largest consumer lending banks. As COO, he was responsible for all of the nation’s Title IV funding.

Most recently, he has served as president and chief executive officer of the Student Freedom Initiative based in Washington, D.C. The Student Freedom Initiative is the vision of billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith after his historic gift to eliminate the student loan debt of the Morehouse College class of 2019.

As the first President and Chief Executive Officer, he and his staff provide four components to 63 HBCUs, which also includes two Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. The capabilities include agreements to fund any educational attendance requirements beyond what is paid for through Federal programs, such as Pell Grants, Work-Study, and Federal Student Loans. SFI is also focused on elevating the communities around its school by providing critical resources such as access to highspeed broadband, cybersecurity upgrades, affordable living spaces and solar energy.

"I am grateful and humbled by the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Alumni, Students, Community Leaders, and all of Mother Tuskegee for the opportunity to return home to lead our University into the second quarter of the 21st Century,” said Dr. Brown. “Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Morris, I am convinced that Tuskegee is well positioned to continue its global impact by producing students ready for leadership in our rapidly changing world, yet grounded in the journey of our forefathers. Gwen and I can't wait to get started!”

Building a distinguished career

Dr. Brown was commissioned through the Tuskegee University Air Force ROTC program in 1986. He served in comptroller, command, and staff positions at all U.S. Department of Defense levels, including two assignments as congressional liaison to the United States House of Representatives.

His global experience includes serving in the Philippines, Spain, England, Turkey and Iraq. In addition, he has commanded four times at ascending levels, deploying in support of operation Provide Comfort, and served as the Assistant Executive Officer for the 17th Air Force Chief of Staff. He was also the Financial Management Senior Military Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer for Air Force Materiel Command, responsible for a portfolio greater than $60 billion, 38 percent of the Air Force budget.

Leadership for Tuskegee’s future

“The Board’s nomination reflects our confidence that Dr. Mark Brown is the right leader to sustain and enhance Tuskegee University’s momentum as one of our nation’s top universities,” said Trustee and alum Jonathan Porter, who chaired the search committee.  “Dr. Brown has the right combination of experience and innovative thinking that will propel TU to the next level nationally and globally.  I appreciate his commitment to serving his alma mater and his dedication to improving the lives of its students.”

A statement from the Board of Trustees said:  “On behalf of the entire Tuskegee family, we extend a warm welcome to Dr. Brown and his family. We look forward to working together toward the success of the university and the broader Tuskegee community.”

Dr. Brown is married to Gwendolyn Jackson Brown, his wife of 33 years. They have two adult children, Mark II and Michael.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

FAMU pauses $237M donation

The president of Florida A&M University announced Thursday that the school is putting a “pause” on a historic $237 million donation the Rattlers received over the weekend from Batterson Farms Corporation CEO Gregory Gerami and the Isaac Batterson Family 7th Trust.

The news comes after days of controversy over the gift.

FAMU announced the donation with a super-sized check during a jam-packed commencement ceremony on Saturday. But the school’s tone toward the funding swiftly changed this week after FAMU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Deveron Gibbons asked FAMU President Larry Robinson and Board Chair Kristin Harper to organize a public meeting in the interest of transparency.

“The recently announced donation would truly be transformative for Florida A&M University, an institution that is helping to shape the next generation of leaders,” FAMU Vice Chair Deveron Gibbons wrote in a statement shared Tuesday. “However, the reality is that little has been shared regarding the nature of the donation.”

A group of school leaders convened and discussed the donation Thursday afternoon during a FAMU Foundation Board Meeting, which was broadcast via Zoom. During the call, Robinson said that officials decided Wednesday to “put a pause” on the donation “pending additional information that’s come to my attention.”

“It’s in our best interest to put that on hold,” he said.

The group also passed a motion to form an “internal, multidisciplinary committee” that will audit the university’s process for evaluating major gifts.


Monday, April 22, 2024

Howard University College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences Dean Honored by National Academies of Practice

Gina S. Brown, dean of Howard University’s College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences, was recently elevated to the esteemed status of Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) in Nursing. This recognition underscores Brown’s exceptional contributions to the field and her dedication to advancing interprofessional care.

Membership as a Distinguished Fellow in NAP is an honor reserved for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and leadership within their profession. Dean Brown's exemplary career and commitment to excellence have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues in NAP.

"I am deeply honored to be recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice," said Brown, Ph.D., MSA, RN. "This distinction is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire Howard University College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences community. I look forward to contributing to the important work of NAP and collaborating with fellow healthcare professionals to drive positive change in our field."

Brown's induction into the 2024 fellowship class was celebrated at the annual conferences’ black-tie dinner of the National Academies of Practice held in Jacksonville, Fla., last month. At the ceremony, Dean Brown was given the distinctive NAP medallion for her outstanding contributions to nursing.

The College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences (CNAHS) at Howard University is dedicated to educating healthcare professionals as well as developing future leaders who will impact the delivery of quality healthcare globally. The college offers nationally recognized, accredited programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to a diverse and international student population.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Tracy Cook Appointed Twenty-First President of Alcorn State University

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Dr. Tracy M. Cook as 21st president of Alcorn State University. Cook has served as interim president of the university since July 8, 2023. He will assume the role as president on April 1, 2024.

“This decision was made in the long-term best interests of Alcorn State University and its students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” said Dr. Alfred McNair, president of the Board of Trustees. “There was an obvious desire and call from the Alcorn family for Dr. Cook to be named to this role, and we are putting our full faith and confidence behind this decision. He is the right person to lead Alcorn State University.”

A native of Fayette, Mississippi, Cook earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Alcorn, and then earned his doctorate at William Carey University. His time as an athlete at Alcorn has been recognized with his induction in the Alcorn Sports Hall of Fame, his selection as one of the university’s Top 50 Greatest Football Athletes, and the 2023 presentation of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

He has more than 25 years of administrative experience in education, having served in the Jefferson and Claiborne County School Districts as a teacher, athletic director, principal, and superintendent. He returned to his alma mater as chief of staff in 2015, and then stepped into the role of vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“I am honored to have the trust and support of the Board of Trustees, and excited to officially lead a university that has meant so much to me personally and professionally,” Cook said. “We have a bright future ahead of us and I am committed to leading us all toward new levels of success.”

The decision to remove the interim label from Cook’s title was applauded by Dr. Al Rankins Jr., commissioner of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

“At this juncture in Alcorn’s history, Dr. Cook is the right choice to lead the university to greater prominence,” said Rankins. “I understand and appreciate the work that lies ahead for him. Alcorn State University is fortunate to have him at the helm.”

The choice to name Cook as president was welcomed by members of the Alcorn family.

“In my dealings with Dr. Cook, I found him to be a sincere, caring, and dedicated individual whose word is his bond,” said Col. James C. Stubbs (U.S. Army Retired), past president of the Alcorn State National Alumni Association. “I believe Dr. Cook possesses the necessary skill sets, professionalism and character to serve as president of Alcorn State. He is a welcome addition to the list of great presidents who have served Alcorn and worked to ensure it continues as an institution dedicated to the development of young minds throughout the United States and the world.”

Carla Cleveland Kirkland is a 1986 graduate of Alcorn State and serves as vice-chair of the Alcorn State University Foundation Board.

“As a member of the Alcorn Foundation Board and a fellow educator, I am elated to hear that Dr. Cook has been named president of Alcorn,” Kirkland said. “He has a wealth of experience that has prepared him for this role. I believe he will work to bring innovation to the university so our students will encounter the excellence needed for them to be successful in their future endeavors.”

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Morgan President Provides Update on Homecoming Activities and Campus Safety

Morgan State Community:

It is with great consternation that I deliver this message to our University community following the most unfortunate of events that occurred on our campus last evening. On behalf of our entire Morgan community including our Board of Regents, my administrative team, faculty and staff, we extend our thoughts and prayers to those students injured in this heinous act of violence. Their care and recovery are a top priority.

Today, we unfortunately find ourselves navigating this tragic event during a time at which we should be celebrating our National Treasure during Homecoming. Please understand that the safety of our campus is of the utmost importance and our resolve in ensuring that we have a secure campus is paramount. In response to last evening’s events, we are aggressively increasing security measures on campus, further amplifying additional security measures that have been implemented in recent years.

Regarding Homecoming, regrettably for the very first time in Morgan’s history all activities planned around Homecoming will be either cancelled or postponed until the perpetrator(s) of this atrocity have been found and brought to justice.

  • Cancelled activities include: The Homecoming Concert, Silent Headphones Party, Homecoming Pep Rally, Homecoming Parade and all other on campus events including our Lady Bear Volleyball match.
  • Activities associated with Homecoming that have been postponed include: the Homecoming Football Game, the MSU 39th Annual Homecoming Gala.

In the abundance of sensitivity for the emotional wellbeing of the campus community, we have also decided to cancel all classes and activities for the remainder of the week and will implement campus-wide programming geared towards the health and welfare of our University community. We strongly believe that this moment calls for reflection, thus allowing our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to focus on their mental wellness.

We arrived at this decision after very careful—and at times emotional—deliberation with key stakeholders within our University community including members of my administration, student leaders from SGA and our University Council.

In closing, I want to reiterate our unwavering commitment to delivering a safe campus for our entire Morgan family. We greatly appreciate the support of our larger community who have expressed their concern and support during this most trying time. As more details become available, please know that you will hear from me in the coming days.


Thank you. 

wilson signature

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Fisk University Names Nashvillian Dr. Agenia Walker Clark as Next President

The Board of Trustees of Fisk University announced the appointment of Dr. Agenia Walker Clark as its next president, effective November 6, 2023. She will be the University’s third female head and the 18th president of the 158-year-old-university, one of the nation’s highest-ranking Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

She replaces interim president Frank Sims, a member of the Board of Trustees, who has served in that position since 2021.

Dr. Clark most recently served as CEO for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee – where, during her 19-year tenure, she increased the agency’s operational efficiencies, increased its reserves, built new facilities, and transformed the agency into one of the highest performing of the 111 councils in the Girl Scout network.

“Dr. Clark’s lifelong dedication to improving the lives of young people, along with her unique combination of fundraising and brand-building skills, are exactly what Fisk needs today,” said Juliette Pryor, chair of the Fisk Board of Trustees.

“I know that Dr. Clark’s bold ideas will positively impact our campus community today while assuring a fast-growing trajectory for the future.”

Prior to the Girl Scouts, Dr. Clark was the Vice President of Human Resources for the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, Senior Director of Human Resources at Vanderbilt University and directed human resources for Canadian telecommunications provider Nortel Networks, where she also served as a manager of government relations.

“To serve a new generation of brilliant, socially minded students—not unlike their counterparts of decades past, like W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, John Lewis and Dr. Diane Nash—is surely the honor of my lifetime,” said Clark. “No institution of higher-ed has a richer legacy—or a richer promise for the future—than Fisk.”

Dr. Clark was named “Nashvillian of the Year” in 2021 and as one of “Nashville’s 100 Most Powerful People,” 2015–2020, by the Nashville Business Journal. An inductee into the Academy for Women of Achievement, she is also a Nashville Post Person-In-Charge (2014–2021). She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), a member of the 2016 Class of Leadership Tennessee, and 1996 Class of Leadership Nashville.

She currently serves on the corporate board of directors for FirstBank Financial Corporation (NYSE: FBK) as well as the boards of trustees for Belmont and Simmons Universities – and is a trustee emerita on the board of the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Dr. Clark earned a B.S. and MBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Doctorate in Leadership from Vanderbilt University.

The year-long search for Fisk’s 18th president was led by Board Trustee JoLinda Herring ’85, in conjunction with executive search and leadership advisory firm, Russell Reynolds Associates.

“The Board was searching for a uniquely bold and visionary leader, and we found her in Dr. Clark,” said Pryor.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Howard University: The only HBCU to make U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best National University Rankings

Howard University is the only HBCU to make U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best National University Rankings. Howard University's ranking in the 2022-2023 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #89.

Howard University is a private institution that was founded in 1867. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,964 (fall 2021), its setting is urban, and the campus size is 257 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar.

At Howard University, a historically Black college in the heart of the District of Columbia, all undergraduate students complete a universitywide core curriculum. Required courses include those in English composition and Afro-American studies. Students then have dozens of majors to choose from, including Afro-American studies, French and music therapy. Outside of class, Howard students may choose to get involved in one of the school's many student organizations, including fraternities and sororities and academic clubs.

The university has its own stop on the city's public transportation system, the Metro, and students are also permitted to bring cars to school. Freshmen, however, are not eligible for campus parking. The school offers a range of male, female and coed housing, both on and off campus.

Howard University has many graduate programs as well, including those in the School of Business, School of Law, College of Medicine and College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences.

Notable alumni of Howard University include Vice President Kamala Harris – the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American to be elected vice president; former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; and Emmy Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad.

Friday, September 09, 2022


Prairie View A&M University announced the appointment of the highly-regarded poet, journalist, TV personality and author Kevin Powell to serve as its second writer-in-residence of the Toni Morrison Writing Program.

Powell has penned articles, essays and blogs for a wide range of newspapers, magazines and major websites. His writings have appeared in The New York Times,, The Nation, NPR, ESPN, Essence, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Complex, British GQ, The Guardian, and Powell worked at Vibe Magazine as a senior writer for many years, interviewing such diverse public figures as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.

Powell's forthcoming books include The Kevin Powell Reader, a collection of his writings, interviews and speeches covering 30 years of his work and a long-awaited biography of Tupac Shakur.

A native of Jersey City, Powell was raised by a single mother in a community stricken with extreme poverty and violence. His life transformed after studying at Rutgers University in New Brunswick thanks to the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund, a program created during the Civil Rights Movement to benefit poor youth. Today, he has lectured, worked and traveled in all 50 American states and five of the world's seven continents.

Now in its second year, PVAMU's Toni Morrison Writing Program continues to flourish under the direction of Provost Emerita Emma Joahanne Thomas-Smith. One of the most celebrated African American poets, Nikki Giovanni, wrapped up her appointment as the program's inaugural writer-in-residence this spring.

"The Toni Morrison Writing Program's selection of Kevin Powell as writer-in-residence meets the objective: Powell studies; Powell thinks deeply. He takes a stance on a cornucopia of issues, including, but not limited to, social justice, interpersonal relationships, hip hop culture, and environmentalism, you name it. He challenges a multi-generational audience and issues to them a call to action. Given today's socio-political climate, nothing could be more timely, especially for HBCU college students for whom the college years are an apprenticeship for thoughtful, meaningful, intentional participation in the change they wish to see," Thomas-Smith said.

Powell began his appointment on September 1, with his first public lecture scheduled later this month.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Texas Southern University Teams Up With NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Historically Black Texas Southern University and the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston signed an agreement that will expand opportunities for education, workforce development, and research for students at the university.

Under the agreement, the university and NASA will work collaboratively to facilitate joint research, technology transfer, technology development, and educational and outreach initiatives. The goal is to create a sustained pipeline of diverse talent for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers at the Johnson Space Center and the surrounding companies that provide support for its operations.

As part of the agreement, the universty will host the NASA Technology Infusion Road Tour in September 2022. During this event, faculty and students will have the opportunity to showcase their research capabilities and speak directly with federal agency representatives from around the country. Faculty will also have the opportunity to engage with NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program directors and participate in prime contractor briefings. Also, the Space Center will host a one-day Minority University Research and Education Project Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition for university students.

“This agreement is an embodiment of Texas Southern University’s commitment to its guiding principles of innovation, transformation, and disruption,” said Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, president of Texas Southern University. “This partnership will make a difference in the lives of our students and faculty. As the university continues to work tirelessly to provide opportunities for students and achieve unprecedented success at an accelerated pace, it is our belief that this partnership can be a model for other HBCUs throughout the country in changing the landscape of engineering and other STEM disciplines. “

Monday, August 08, 2022

Clark Atlanta University awarded $10 Million National Science Foundation grant

August 3, 2022 - Clark Atlanta University (CAU) makes history as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive a $10 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES program to establish the National Data Science Alliance (NDSA).

The NDSA will increase the number of Black people earning data science credentials by at least 20,000 by 2027 and expand data science research that advocates for social justice and strive to eliminate bias. To accomplish this visionary goal, the NDSA will facilitate engagement across all HBCUs with industry and academic collaboration to broaden participation and advance social justice in data science.

“This is a monumental accomplishment for the HBCU community as a whole, and we at Clark Atlanta University are deeply honored to perpetuate institutional mission through data science,” said President George T. French Jr., Ph.D. “Clark Atlanta University has deep roots in conducting data science research that promotes equity, including the seminal works of scholar and former faculty member W.E.B. Du Bois on these hallowed grounds. This historic award exemplifies our commitment to ensuring competitive advantage for students to succeed and excel in our data-driven society.”

Talitha Washington, the lead and principal investigator of the grant, is the mastermind behind the NDSA. As the Director of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Data Science Initiative and professor of mathematics at Clark Atlanta University, she is passionate about engaging more HBCUs and building a community to accelerate the preparation of students in data science and discover solutions for data-oriented problems that impact the lives of Blacks.

“We are excited that many HBCUs will collaborate with us to develop new equity-based discoveries in data science and expand student pathways that will change the face of data science,” said Washington.

The NDSA is supported by the AUC Consortium, led by Michael Hodge, with industry-university collaboration led by Moses Garuba (Howard University) and collective impact efforts led by H. Justin Ballenger (Morehouse College). The NDSA’s three regional hubs are led by LaTanya Brown-Robertson (Howard University), Sajid Hussain (Fisk University), and Eric Mintz (Clark Atlanta University). The evaluation will be conducted by Kavita Mittapalli (MN Associates).

The NDSA will catalyze systemic change at scale by engaging over 1,000 HBCU faculty and will create equity-based data science ecosystems where all students can learn and thrive.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Transitions to University Status

On July 1, historically Black Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, transitioned to university status. For the first time, the university is offering a graduate degree program – a master’s degree in business administration.

In 1866, the African Methodist Episcopal Church founded the Brown Theological Institute to educate former slaves for the ministry. Ground was broken for the first buildings for the new school in 1872 on a 10-acre lot in Live Oak, Florida. In 1892 the institute changed its name to Edward Waters College to honor the third bishop of the AME Church. It moved to Jacksonville in 1893. In 1901, the campus was destroyed by a fire and a new campus, where the college is located today, was opened in 1904.

After restructuring its finances, in 2020 the college achieved its first institutional operating net cash surplus in more than a decade. In addition, the state legislative budget allocated an additional $3.5 million to Edward Waters College. This influx in funding has emboldened the institution to make the jump to university status.

University president A. Zachary Faison, Jr. stated that “Edward Waters University will continue to emerge as the state of Florida’s premier destination institution of higher education through the growth of its academic programs and strengthening of its fiscal viability that will sustain the institution for yet another 155 years and beyond."


Monday, February 22, 2021

Former Student Gives Morgan State University $20 Million, Ensuring Access to College for Generations of Students

Morgan State University today announced receipt of a $20 million commitment from alumnus and philanthropist Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, increasing an endowed scholarship fund previously established in the Tylers’ name. The monumental gift is the largest private donation from an alumnus in University history and is believed to be the largest contribution of its kind to any Historically Black College or University (HBCU) nationwide from an alum.

In 2016, the Tylers made a commitment of $5 million to the University— at the time the largest in Morgan’s history—bolstering the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2002 to provide full tuition scholarships for select need-based students residing in the Tylers’ hometown of Baltimore. In light of the financial hardships and challenges a number of students and their families are facing as a result of the current pandemic, the Tylers were compelled to expand their giving. Once exclusive to students from Baltimore, the endowed scholarship is now national in scope and will benefit generations of future Morgan students seeking a college education. To date, the endowed fund has supported 222 Morgan students by way of 46 full-tuition and 176 partial scholarships, with the promise of benefiting more ‘Tyler Scholars’ with the increased multimillion-dollar pledge and expanded scope.

“Morgan is so proud to call this son and daughter of the great City of Baltimore our own, and through their historic giving, the doors of higher education will most certainly be kept open for generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “For public institutions, like Morgan, our charitable alumni are testaments to the legacy we collectively uphold, and the Tylers’ generosity over the years, culminating with this transformative commitment, is a remarkable example of altruism with great purpose. We are forever indebted to the Tylers.”

Calvin Tyler enrolled at Morgan State College in 1961 to study business administration. The first of his family to attend college, he later interrupted his matriculation in 1963 due to lack of funding and eventually took on a job as one of the first 10 UPS drivers in Baltimore in 1964. At UPS, he would then work his way up, climbing the corporate ladder, ultimately ending up as senior vice president of operations before his retirement in 1998, and joining the company’s board of directors. Through his 34-year career at the multinational package delivery company, Tyler never lost sight of his own humble beginnings, committing with his wife Tina to support those who, like him, encountered hardships and financial insecurities while pursuing their college degree.

“My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education [and] we have the resources to help a lot of young people,” Tyler shared. “This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan; we want to have more full tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt free.”

Students attending Morgan come from diverse backgrounds, often with unique circumstances, and a myriad of financial needs with 90% of students receiving financial aid. Students applying for the Tyler Scholarship must meet certain financial criteria and maintain a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.

“Endowed scholarships and other gifts have far-reaching implications for any institution, but for a public, urban university like Morgan, with students from a broad spectrum of academic, social and economic backgrounds, the need is especially great,” said Donna Howard, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We are forever grateful to the Tylers for their unrelenting charity to alma mater. The impact of their generosity will have a prevailing effect fostering Morgan-made leaders for generations.”

Fulfillment of the Tylers’ $20 million pledge will be executed for years to come, ensuring an enduring support for Morgan students facing extenuating financial circumstances. Through this commitment and the recently constructed student services building bearing their name—Tyler Hall—their connection to Morgan and their legacy of philanthropic giving will be forever cemented.

“We’re trying to help young people succeed and this goal is aligned with Morgan’s mission; it’s such a perfect fit. We believe that Morgan State happens to be the best institution to use these resources,” added Mr. Tyler.

The $20-million commitment from the Tylers comes to Morgan amid a span of unprecedented and transformative giving to the University that will serve Morgan students—in the immediate and distant future—including an historic gift of $40 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the largest in the University history. The Tylers’ gift now marks the second largest to be received.

Expressing the importance of giving and supporting institutions of higher education, Tyler contends that “reliance on government loans is just not the answer. Debt can be extremely crippling to someone trying to get ahead in life [and] we just want to help as many young people as we can [to] get an education.”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

North Carolina Central University Awarded $16.3 Million by National Institute of Health

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been awarded $16.3 million by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for a new Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) focusing on elevating the university’s health disparities research program. Led by Deepak Kumar, Ph.D., director of the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute and principal investigator for the grant, the funding will support health disparities research activities across campus at NCCU.

NCCU is one of the seven minority-serving institutions that were recipients of this award. The research funding is the largest annual grant amount received for a non-Title III grant by NCCU and the largest funding for a single principal investigator on the campus.

The new RCMI Center for Health Disparities Research (RCHDR) will conduct three innovative basic biomedical and behavioral research projects, along with health disparities research pilot projects, involving robust mentoring, development of core facilities and leveraging of resources and partnerships with community-based organizations and neighboring institutions in the Research Triangle area. The center will also promote a collaborative research environment conducive to career enhancement for postdoctoral trainees and NCCU faculty at all levels.

“This major research grant will allow North Carolina Central University to engage in transformative research that examines health disparities and identifies real-world solutions that strengthen health care for minority populations throughout our state,” said University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings. “Moreover, the establishment of the new Research Center in Minority Institutions supports our shared goal of enhancing research opportunities, which will ultimately improve the quality of life of our citizens and generate economic growth.

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., chancellor of NCCU, said, “The significant research funding provided by the National Institutes of Health elevates North Carolina Central University’s noteworthy work investigating solutions to some of the nation’s toughest health disparities that persist as challenges to communities of color. Through this grant, I am thrilled that Dr. Kumar and his team are already fulfilling three of the six strategic priorities represented in ‘The Eagle Promise’initiative, which focus on expanding research, facilitating innovative strategic partnerships with the Research Triangle Park and building new infrastructure for the university.”

The mission of NCCU’s Research Center in Minority Institutions is to develop and strengthen the research infrastructure at NCCU for conducting cutting-edge health disparities research and to foster the next generation of minority biomedical researchers. It has three main objectives: 1) enhance the research capacity at NCCU within the areas of basic, behavioral and translational biomedical research; 2) diversify the biomedical research workforce and to prepare researchers who are successful extramurally funded health disparities investigators and 3) promote a collaborative environment for interdisciplinary research and establish sustainable relationships with neighboring research and community-based organizations to advance cutting-edge health disparities research at NCCU. The core of the research center will focus on: African-American men, stress, kidney and cardiometabolic disease; breast cancer disparities and metabolic stress; diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome; community engagement and pilot projects and mentoring.

“NCCU demonstrated its commitment to biomedical research by creating two biotechnology research institutes, BBRI and BRITE,” stated Kumar. “We are grateful to NIH/NIMHD for providing NCCU with this unprecedented opportunity to further enhance biomedical research by developing infrastructure, preparing the next generation of minority researchers and bringing faculty together in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research projects to advance our mission of addressing health disparities. The grant will foster collaborations and leverage resources from research and community-based organizations from the Research Triangle area and in North Carolina. This is a team effort across campus that will impact five NCCU colleges and schools, along with BBRI and BRITE. I am excited about Chancellor Akinleye’s ‘The Eagle Promise’ initiative and am grateful for his support and vision.”

In a press release announcing the award, NIMHD Director, Dr. Eliseo PĂ©rez-Stable said: “Institutions with historical commitment to diversity are essential to supporting scientific research and providing healthcare to underserved communities. These institutions are uniquely positioned to engage minority populations in research, and in the translation of research advances into culturally competent, measurable and sustained improvements in health outcomes.”