Showing posts with label college. Show all posts
Showing posts with label college. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2022

USM Board of Regents Appoints Dr. Valerie Sheares Ashby as Next President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has appointed Dr. Valerie Sheares Ashby as the next president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Ashby, currently Dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, will begin her tenure as UMBC president on Aug. 1.

Ashby has been dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences since 2015, and was reappointed for a second, five-year term in 2019. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and completed her postdoctoral research at the Universitat Mainz, Germany.

Ashby came to Duke from UNC, where she chaired the chemistry department from 2012-15 and was a faculty member since 2003. She has served on UNC’s Arts & Sciences Foundation Board of Directors and Research Advisory Council, and chaired the College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Diversity Task Force. Dean Ashby also directed the UNC National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students completing doctoral degrees and continuing into the professoriate in science, technology, engineering and math and social, behavioral and economics fields.

Ashby will succeed Freeman Hrabowski, who has led UMBC to national and international acclaim since his appointment as president 30 years ago in 1992.

“Dr. Ashby is clearly the impressive scholar and dynamic leader we need to build on the strong foundation of inclusive excellence at UMBC,” said Board Chair Linda R. Gooden. “UMBC is a jewel—nationally and internationally recognized for its innovative teaching and pathbreaking research.  All of this success is due to the dedication and hard work of President Hrabowski and his outstanding team.  The Board of Regents knows this legacy will be in good hands with Dr. Ashby.  I am grateful to the UMBC presidential search committee, chaired by Regent Michelle Gourdine, for finding such a distinguished leader among so many great candidates.”

“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead a university that has excelled in so many ways that are essential both nationally and to me personally – particularly in regards to foregrounding inclusive excellence,” Ashby said. “I have tremendous respect for all the members of the UMBC community and am looking forward to working in partnership with the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who are the heart of this institution.”

“I’m excited to see how Dr. Ashby’s vision will shape the next chapter for UMBC,” said USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “Without question, she has the experience and the attributes needed to grow UMBC’s academic and research prominence, and she’s steeped in the culture of inclusive excellence that has made the university a national exemplar of access, equity, and achievement. It’s hard to imagine finding a better fit for a school whose future is as bright as UMBC’s.”

As dean at Trinity College, Ashby elevated the national and international prominence of the humanities and social science departments across the college by investing in faculty- and student-driven strategic areas. She completed the Duke Forward campaign, exceeding the $435 million Trinity goal by $45 million, including $200 million raised for financial aid post-campaign.

As a researcher, Ashby has focused on synthetic polymer chemistry with an emphasis on designing and synthesizing materials for biomedical applications such as X-ray contrast agents and drug delivery materials. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Development Award, the DuPont Young Faculty and 3M Young Faculty Awards, as well as numerous teaching awards.

UMBC is a dynamic public research university integrating teaching, research, and service to benefit the citizens of Maryland. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education recently placed UMBC into the category of doctoral universities with very high research activity, popularly known as Research 1 (or R1). UMBC is now ranked as one of only 146 R1 institutions nationally, including 107 public and 39 private universities. As an Honors University, the campus offers academically talented students a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation that prepares them for graduate and professional study, entry into the workforce, and community service and leadership. At the graduate level, UMBC emphasizes science, engineering, information technology, human services, and public policy. More about UMBC’s mission and vision is here.

Chancellor Perman appointed the search committee in October 2021, informed by outreach to the campus community after President Hrabowski’s late August announcement that he would begin retirement at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. The committee reflected the board’s commitment to finding a successor who will continue UMBC’s impressive strength in education and research, its commitment to access and affordability, its embrace of community service, and its leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

President Hrabowski is nationally celebrated for his results-driven commitment to inclusive excellence, collaborative approach to leadership, and mentorship that pairs high expectations with strong support. Through his time at UMBC, these qualities have become core to the university’s unique culture and community. They have also inspired national and global recognition. 

In a combined statement shortly before the start of the current academic year, Chair Gooden and Chancellor Perman noted President Hrabowski’s influence and remarkable legacy at UMBC. “In fact, it’s UMBC’s commitment to the achievement of every student, and its work in cultivating a diverse corps of scholars and leaders, that has marked the university as one of the most respected (and emulated) pioneers in American higher education,” they wrote.

“To follow President Freeman Hrabowski is a distinct privilege,” Ashby said, “as he has been a role model for so many in higher education over the last 30 years, including myself. His extraordinary leadership and dedication to UMBC ensures that I am arriving at a university that is already performing at a very high level. There is no ceiling on what we can achieve from here.”

To learn more about UMBC, visit

The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.

Systemwide, student enrollment is roughly 165,000. The USM and its institutions compete successfully for nearly $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit

Friday, April 15, 2022

Hampton University to Erase Outstanding Student Balances for the Spring 2022 Semester

Recognizing that many Hampton University students and their families have continued to experience financial hardships and have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President, has announced there will be no increase in tuition, fees, room and board for the 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, all outstanding student account balances for the Spring 2022 semester will be erased.

“In keeping with the University’s efforts to help our students, there will be no increase in tuition, fees, room and board for the 2022-2023 academic year,” said Dr Harvey. “In addition, on behalf of the University, I am pleased to announce that all outstanding balances for the Spring 2022 semester will be erased. We hope that this action will continue to assist our students and their families at our Home by the Sea.”

This is the latest example of Hampton University assisting its student body financially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified students received distributions under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and those who had an outstanding balance at the completion of the Spring 2021 semester had their balances paid off. The University also issued a $200.00 book scholarship to all enrolled students for the Spring 2022 semester. In April of 2020, Dr. and Mrs. Harvey made a $100,000 matching donation of their own money to a $100,000 gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide each on-campus student $100 to assist with travel costs to retrieve their belongings from campus or to return to school in the fall. In May, Hampton University provided each graduate in the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, who had a federal student loan, the sum of $500 toward repayment of that loan. These payments were sent directly to the U.S. Department of Education loan servicer that was the holder of the student loan. Those students who did not have student loans were reimbursed their graduation fee of $150.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

HBCU Talladega College receives historic donation of $2.5 million

Talladega College recently received an anonymous and historic donation of $2.5 million in support of student scholarships.

With these funds, the College plans to expand its ‘Angel Award’ scholarship program which will tremendously impact the lives of current and incoming students.

“This donation is the first of many,” said Dr. Lisa Long, acting president of Talladega College. “Our mission is to equip our graduates for the global community through academic excellence, moral values, community service, and professional development.”

“These funds will enable us to continue our path of success and our unwavering journey to remain an institution of excellence,” she added.

In August, the College received an anonymous donation of $250,000 which was used to create the ‘Angel Award.’ This scholarship has provided financial assistance to nearly 100 students who were facing economic struggles.

According to Long, she is not certain about the identity of the College’s ‘angel in disguise,’ but she is exceedingly grateful for their generosity.

“Our College’s most important asset is our people,” said Long. “This donation is yet another validation that we're on the right track with facilitating the needs of our students.”

Among many other demonstrations of generosity and merits, the College recently cleared $925,666 in debt for students with balances for the terms of Spring 2020 through Summer 2021, and was recently ranked in the top 100 most affordable public administration colleges.

Monday, October 25, 2021

HBCU Harris-Stowe University using pandemic funds to cancel student debt

Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis is using federal pandemic relief funds to eliminate student debt owed to the university from the previous academic school year, school officials said.

Harris-Stowe, one of Missouri’s two historically Black universities, announced in September it is using the funds to cancel about $330,000 in debt, an average of about $1,076 per student.

Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, Harris-Stowe’s interim president, last week told KCUR, the public radio station serving Kansas City, the burden of student debt caused by the pandemic led to low enrollment at the school this fall.

“Many of our students were saying they couldn’t work — because of COVID-19, they lost their jobs,” Smith said. “As a result they could not make payments towards their balances for the previous semester or the semesters which were impacted by COVID-19.”

Smith said the school officials spent most of the week after it made the announcement convincing students and their parents that it wasn’t a hoax. Eventually the school received numerous calls and letters of gratitude, she said.


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."


Saturday, May 08, 2021

LSU hires William Tate IV as its first African American president

Louisiana State University has hired its first African American president.

During the May LSU Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board named William Tate IV, Education Foundation Distinguished Professor and Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Carolina, as the next LSU president. Tate is expected to begin his term as president in July.

“This is a very pivotal time at our university, from economic, environmental, social challenges, but we are doing great things at this place. From our academic achievements, our enrollment, our diversity, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said LSU Board Chair Robert Dampf. “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”

Dampf thank the work of the Presidential Search Committee, chaired by James Williams, former chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, and vice chaired by Gabriela González, Boyd Professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, who narrowed the list of 23 candidates for president to three finalists who were invited for campus interviews, held May 2-5. He also expressed his appreciation to everyone across the LSU community who participated in some way in the search process.

Tate will replace LSU President Tom Galligan, who has served as LSU president since January 2020. The Board approved dropping the “interim” from Galligan’s title and making him LSU President, until Tate takes over the role.

Tate said he is excited about being part of the LSU system, but what drives him is students.

“What I’m really most excited about is I met students here who really are amazing, and for me, this position is all about what we can do to help students and give people access and opportunity in higher education,” Tate said. “That’s really in my DNA, how do we help people regardless of their background – we find the money, get you here and give you the opportunity to live your dream. I think there is no better place in the United States to come find your dream and to make it happen than right here at LSU.”

Tate has served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina since July 2020. Prior to that, he served as dean of the Graduate School & Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Washington University in St. Louis from 2002 to 2020. Tate also spent time at Texas Christian University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At South Carolina, Tate oversees the 13 schools and colleges on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia, and the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville, as well as being responsible for the overall leadership of academic affairs of the university, including curriculum development, program assessment, establishment of academic standards and university accreditation.

During his time at University of South Carolina, Tate launched Carolina Online as the university’s comprehensive effort to deliver degree programs and professional credentials online; established the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which offers postdoctoral fellowships with the specific aim of increasing faculty diversity and research productivity on campus; and guided in collaboration with the Faculty Senate the development of a “Founding Documents” course for incoming freshmen.

Tate received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Maryland, Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Texas at Dallas, Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology from Washington University School of Medicine, and Bachelor of Science in economics from Northern Illinois University.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

HBCU LeMoyne-Owen College Beneficiary of $40M Endowment

UNCF-member institution LeMoyne-Owen College, the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Memphis, Tenn., has been named the beneficiary of an endowment of $40 million, one of the largest gifts to any HBCU and the largest for the school in its 158-year history. The endowment was created from assets from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, an organization that works to strengthen the community through philanthropy.  
Like other colleges across the country, LeMoyne-Owen College is working to ensure their students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees, return to school following the pandemic. Recent initiatives include partnerships to provide Wi-fi access and electronic devices to students for remote learning, emergency assistance for displaced students and scholarships for students in need.  
“Even before the pandemic, there has been transformative work happening at LeMoyne-Owen College,” Bob Fockler, Community Foundation of Greater Memphis president says. “The college offers unique opportunities for African American students, and we are committed to ensuring that work continues to benefit students and their families for years to come.”  
The endowment fund is a major stepping stone on the path toward advancements in the quality education the college can provide for a larger number students, at a critical time when HBCUs nationally face unique funding challenges and equity issues. LeMoyne-Owen College has the lowest tuition rate of any of the private colleges in the state of Tennessee; nearly 90 percent of students qualify for financial aid or currently receive Federal Pell Grants. 
“Many of our students and their families were already struggling, even before COVID-19. Recent demonstrations have heightened our awareness and commitment to do more to address the inequality and racism that has led to their financial challenges and the critical need to create a more equal and just world,” says Dr. Carol Johnson Dean, interim president of LeMoyne-Owen College. “The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis has generously and courageously helped LeMoyne-Owen College take a huge step forward in educating our future leaders and providing a stronger financial foundation from which to grow.” 
“UNCF expresses sincere gratitude to the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis for this historic gift to LeMoyne-Owen College. In times like the present, it’s encouraging to see philanthropists who continue to recognize the needs of the HBCUs’ vitality, communities they serve and step in to help eliminate financial challenges,” commented UNCF President and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “LeMoyne-Owen is a college that generates $40 million annually in economic impact to the Memphis community. Philanthropic investments like these to HBCUs make an enormous difference in not just the lives of the students who are greatly impacted, but to the communities in which they live and work.” 
This beneficial gift allows unrestricted use of the funds for purposes determined by LeMoyne-Owen College. The money will be distributed to LeMoyne-Owen College annually in an amount equal to 5% of the average balance of the Fund. Annual distributions will be made as long as the college maintains its active nonprofit status and continues to perform its mission as publicly stated.  

Thursday, April 30, 2020

UNCF joining May 5 #GivingTuesdayNow Campaign

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is joining the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign to encourage philanthropy  in light of the many challenges facing minority higher education including the coronavirus health pandemic. UNCF works tirelessly to benefit historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in part, by changing the narrative of HBCUs across the nation and helping  equip minority students with the resources necessary to transition into and graduate from college, and ultimately succeed in the workforce.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UNCF students is felt very keenly,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “The majority of our member HBCUs are closed for the remainder of the school year making things very precarious for our member schools and those earning their degrees. Many students need tablets and laptops to be able to access classes online. And some need basic support, like food and other financial resources, since the jobs they had to help them make it through school have all but vanished.”
UNCF HBCUs need help during the best of times, and UNCF works to provide the support they need to help more students pursue their educational endeavors and graduate from college prepared for leadership roles, competitive employment, and active participation in society.
“The foundation of UNCF was built on the act of giving, and participation in #GivingTuesdayNow shows our steadfast commitment to educating our students and providing resources to our HBCUs, especially in this time of unprecedented crisis,” Lomax added. “UNCF and our member colleges and universities have persevered through many other turbulent times, and we cannot let this disaster wash away decades of progress and HBCU legacies.”
#GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations will occur May 5 as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Five Reasons to Give to UNCF During this Critical Time:
  • Our students are at greatest risk of not being able to continue their educational efforts due to financial need.
  • The lack of technology gets in the way of both our HBCUs and their students’ ability to ensure online classroom connectivity.
  • Part-time jobs that students rely on to get through college are all but gone right now. 
  • The nation’s HBCUs have been producing almost 17% of all African American graduates and 25% of African American graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the critical industries of the future.
  • To ensure that UNCF continues to have the resources to do its important work of supporting HBCUs and our students during this global crisis.  
Help UNCF make a difference in a student’s life.
1.    Donate today by visiting
2.    Share your donation on social media using the #GivingtuesdayNow
3.    Spread the word about UNCF’s mission
4.    Follow #UNCF on Facebook, Twitter @UNCF and Instagram

For more information about UNCF, visit and stay connected via social media.

About UNCF
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 17 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” ® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @UNCF.

About #GivingTuesday #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people, think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

HBCUs still ‘woefully underfunded,’ according to UNCF president

One could argue it’s been a victorious year for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The FUTURE Act – legislation sustaining federal funding for minority serving institutions — made a fraught, winding journey to President Donald J. Trump’s desk, where it was signed into law in December.

But during a recent event, Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), discouraged unbridled optimism.

“I cannot stand before you here today and say only that the state of HBCUs is strong or only that HBCUs remain resilient,” he said at the organization’s second annual “State of the HBCU Address” where HBCU leaders and allies gathered in Washington D.C. “As you know, those truths are only part of the story.”

He argued that the permanent annual $255 million in federal funding for minority serving institutions, with $85 million designated for HBCUs, marks progress, but it isn’t enough to solve the “HBCU paradox” – the fact that HBCUs enjoy broad bipartisan support but continue to be “woefully underfunded.”

The support that exists, though it spans party divides, is “too often a mile wide and an inch deep,” Lomax said. “Too often it creates an all too convenient gap between rhetoric and reality. It makes it easy for people to look and sound like they are HBCU boosters without having to take the hard steps and make a deep-seated commitment to eradicate decades of disparate treatment of HBCUs.”

He directed a few pointed comments at Trump, who claimed at the Davos economic conference in January that his administration “saved” HBCUs.

Lomax acknowledged that HBCU leaders “deeply appreciate” that the president signed the FUTURE Act, forgave the loans of HBCUs impacted by Hurricane Katrina and offered capital finance loan deferment for 13 HBCUs. But he also noted that the FUTURE Act wasn’t included in Trump’s 2021 federal budget and Trump’s efforts to remove programs like federal work study would hurt HBCU students if successful. Meanwhile, most Democratic candidates — Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg – have proposed more extensive plans for funding HBCUs.

“We know the president wants the bragging rights for having done ‘more than any other president’ to support HBCUs, so there’s still time for you to claim that mantle,” he said, addressing the president and prompting laughs from the audience. “We hope you will propose in the coming months investments that rival or exceed those of your Democratic opponents.”

Lomax laid out several ongoing policy goals like lobbying for a $1 billion grant for HBCU infrastructure, doubling the Pell grant and tripling Title III funding, the funds guaranteed in the FUTURE Act.

But the federal government isn’t the only sector responsible for the inequitable funding of HBCUs, he said, pointing to “subtler forms of disparate and unfair treatment” by philanthropists, accreditors, corporations and lenders.

Notably, he cited a recent report from the Student Borrower Protection Center called “Educational Redlining,” which found that Upstart, an online lending platform, offered HBCU graduates higher interest rates, costing them thousands of dollars more than similar graduates from predominantly white institutions.

“Let’s make this year the year inequitable treatment of HBCUs is named and shamed,” he said.

[SOURCE: LouisianaWeekly]

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Help All Women HBCU Bennett College must raise 5 million to maintain accreditation

Bennett College is in danger of losing it's accreditation. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges had voted to remove its accreditation due to failure to comply with the commission’s financial standards.  The all women's HBCU needs to raise $5 million by February , 2019 to maintain it's accreditation.

So far, the college has raised more than $1 million. They need your help!

Stand with Bennett

50 days. Friends, we have 50 days to raise funds to help Bennett College maintain its accreditation with SACSCOC. February 1, 2019, is our target date for accomplishing this goal.
Over the past two years, Bennett has made significant gains in addressing our financial stability. Some of the significant strides made to achieve sustainability include:
  • Bennett generated a surplus of $461,038 and had no audit findings.
  • Bennett was approved for a capital loan deferment over a six-year period with a financial benefit of nearly $9 million.
  • Bennett has steadily increased its fundraising from $3.47 million to $4.25 million over a 3-year period.
  • Bennett’s enrollment has been trending upward for 2 years from 409 in 2017 to 471 in 2018.
  • Our retention rate is also significantly up from 44% in Fall 2017 to 53% in Fall 2018.
  • The average GPA of new freshwomen increased from 2.8 in 2017 to 3.2 in 2018.
  • Bennett continues to support mission activities, and academic and student programs.
Despite all of these accomplishments, SACSCOC felt that we fell short.  We are appealing their decision and working hard to demonstrate that we are fiscally stable. This requires us to raise additional money to reduce our debt and improve our cash position.
When you #StandWithBennett, you are preserving the legacy and excellence of black women in the U.S.  Since 1873, @BennettCollege has created a place for black women's voices and brilliance to be developed and cultivated.
We need your help. #StandWithBennett Give to Bennett. Or you may text the word Belles to 444999 and follow the instructions.
If you would like to donate, click here:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Spelman College Receives $30 Million Gift to Support New Center for Innovation & the Arts

Trustee Ronda Stryker and spouse, William Johnston donated the largest gift from living donors in the college's 137-year histo
(BPRW) UNCF-member institution Spelman College has received the largest gift from living donors in its 137-year history from long-standing Spelman trustee Ronda Stryker and spouse William Johnston. The transformative $30 million gift will help build the Center for Innovation & the Arts, the College’s first new academic facility since 1996.

Chicago architect, Jeanne Gang, founding principal of the firm Studio Gang, has completed a schematic design of the 85,000 square foot building that will occupy a current parking lot at Spelman at the corner of Westview Drive and Lee Street.
“As former educators who believe strongly in social justice, Bill and I have great appreciation for how Spelman provides a superior education for students that encourages them to be global change agents,” said Stryker, a director of the medical equipment company Stryker Corp., as well as vice chair and director of Greenleaf Trust, an investment bank chaired by Johnston.

"Spelman alumnae are leaders across every field imaginable, breaking new ground, while tackling some of the world's most challenging issues from health disparities to the digital divide. We are thrilled to support a building that will encourage students to master technology, innovation and the arts."

Stryker has been a trustee of Spelman since 1997 and currently serves as the vice chair of the Spelman College Board of Trustees and chair of the Board’s Arts, Innovation & Technology Committee.

Consistent and extraordinary giving from the Stryker family has had a significant impact on Spelman. Their gift to establish the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education, for example, funded the expansion and ongoing operation of the College’s study abroad program. As a result, the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report notes that Spelman sends more Black students to study abroad than any other baccalaureate college in the country with 75 percent of its 2018 graduating class having studied abroad.

Support from the Stryker family has benefitted numerous other Spelman initiatives, including the Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts, science initiatives, summer internships, the Annual Fund, the President's Safety Net Fund, and renovations to Sisters Chapel and the Wellness Center at Read Hall.

“Ronda Stryker has been staunchly committed to the mission and ideals of Spelman College for more than 20 years. She has been an unstinting advocate for our students and has supported a wide range of strategic initiatives, critical to Spelman’s long term sustainability and the success of our students,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.

“With this historic gift, yet again, Ronda’s support will be transformational. Her contribution ensures that Spelman students will be prepared to tackle the challenges of our changing world through innovation, creativity and the dynamic intersection of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (also known as STEAM).”

Including the generous gift from Stryker and Johnston, the College has raised more than one-third of the total cost of the CI&A, which received its first support from Leonard and Louise Riggio in 2016. The cost of the new facility, which includes an operating endowment and state of the art technology, is $86 million.

The Center for Innovation & the Arts
The CI&A enables the College to bring together in one building its considerable strength in STEM with its award-winning programs in the arts. The hub of the building will be the Innovation Lab, co-directed by Brown-Simmons Professor of Computer Science Jerry Volcy, Ph.D., and Associate Professor De Angela Duff, MFA, whose work sits at the intersection of art, design, and technology, in consultation with Senior Adviser Topper Carew, Ph.D., a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.
For the first time in the College’s history, the same building will house all of Spelman’s arts programs – art, art history, curatorial studies, dance, digital media, documentary filmmaking, photography, music and theater.
A major feature of the building will be its “Front Porch,” an element of the design that opens up the entrance of the CI&A to the Westside community and offers a set of ground floor amenities. They include an expansion of the award-winning Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, a digital theater housing publicly accessible performances, technology events, film screenings and a cafe.

A schematic of the CI&A demonstrates the innovation and intentionality behind creating a unique interdisciplinary environment. The facility will offer different scales of gathering and assorted modes of connecting and collaborating for learning and risk taking in the liberal arts.

ARTS@Spelman New Programming
Under the leadership of award-winning, innovative independent filmmaker, Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., division chair for the Arts, Arts@Spelman has developed a new initiative and several new majors and minors that join Music and Theater & Performance including:
  • Documentary Filmmaking (major)
  • Photography (major)
  • Dance Performance & Choreography (major)
  • Art History (major)
  • Curatorial Studies (minor)
  • Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies, funded with a recent gift from the Walton Family Foundation
Several distinguished faculty have joined Spelman in the past three years either as permanent or distinguished visitors. They include photographer Myra Greene, filmmaker Julie Dash, director/performer/choreographer Aku Kadogoand playwright Will Power. Art historians and curators, Cheryl Finley, Ph.D.,associate professor at Cornell University, and Lowery Stokes Sims, Ph.D., former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and former executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, serve as senior advisers to the Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective. Andrea Barnwell-Brownlee, Ph.D., also a member of the Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective and director of the Spelman Museum, was recently named Atlanta’s Best Curator by Atlanta Magazine.

Spelman innovation and arts leaders shared their thoughts on this significant gift:

Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., Division Chair for the Arts, Spelman College
“This generous gift by Ronda Stryker and William Johnston represents a deep understanding of the value of Black women’s research as it relates to artistic creative expression and the use and integration of technology to help discover and articulate new forms of imaginative processes that engage with global conversations. Spelman students will be at the forefront of these new discoveries as a result of this gift.”

Jerry Volcy, Ph.D. Co-Director, Spelman Innovation Lab, Brown-Simmons Professor of Computer Science
"Ronda's gift takes us one big step closer to realizing a center that aims to prepare women of color to become tomorrow's agents of innovative change.”

Topper Carew, Ph.D., Senior Adviser, Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies
"The Stryker gift will further support the unprecedented ascendancy of the great Spelman women and their continuing stellar contribution to American society."

De Angela Duff, MFA, Associate Professor, Co-Director of the Spelman College Innovation Lab
“Ronda Stryker’s gift empowers Spelman College to educate 21st century, women-of-color visionaries who will create a cultural paradigm shift by embracing creativity at the intersection of the arts and technology and harnessing the power of innovation.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Rep. Cedric Richmond bashes Trump’s move to scrap affirmative action

The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) hammered the Trump administration on Tuesday for revoking federal guidelines that encourage colleges to consider race in their admissions determinations, calling the move an unveiled attack on minorities.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who has long accused President Trump of pursuing policies that are overtly racist, said rescinding the Obama-era affirmative action guidelines will “turn back the clock” on efforts to encourage diversity on college campuses across the country.

“Yet again we see that this administration's goal and vision for ‘Making America Great Again’ is to reduce the role of the state in making sure our society prizes diversity and inclusion,” Richmond said in a statement. “While I am not surprised, I continue to be disappointed that the President of this great country demonstrably cares so little for its non-white residents and their interests."


Sunday, June 10, 2018

U.S. charges Arizona man with threatening Harvard's black commencement

An Arizona man who made racially-charged online threats to shoot students attending Harvard's first black commencement ceremony last year and to bomb the university has been arrested, federal authorities said on Saturday.

A federal grand jury in Boston indicted Nicholas Zuckerman, 24, on two counts of "transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another." Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Zuckerman was arrested on Friday and will be brought to U.S. District Court in Boston. A federal court in Arizona will appoint a lawyer for him on Monday, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said. They did not say where Zuckerman was being held or if he had any connection to Harvard.

After Harvard announced it would hold a special commencement ceremony on May 23, 2017, to celebrate the accomplishments of black students graduating from the university, Zuckerman made two threatening posts on the university's Instagram account, the indictment said.

In his first posting, the indictment alleged, Zuckerman commented on May 11 under an image of three young black women: "If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it. I'm thinking two automatics with extendo clips." He also used a racial epithet.

He followed two days later with a comment under an American flag he had posted on the university's account saying, "#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda," the indictment said.

Organizers of last year's black commencement said it was open to all graduating students, as was Harvard's official commencement, which was held two days later. The university held its second black commencement last month on May 22.


Friday, September 08, 2017

UNCF Launches the Hurricane Harvey HBCU Students Relief Fund

Help UNCF provide financial support to the thousands of HBCU (historically black colleges & universities) students in Texas and Louisiana impacted by the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Businesses are closed, perhaps for weeks or months, depriving employees of the paychecks they count on to pay family expenses, including their children’s college tuition. As the community comes together to rebuild, our HBCU students will need help with transportation, replenishing books, clothing and other educational necessities.
“We have all seen the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey in an area that is home to thousands of HBCU students,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “As the floodwaters recede, we know all too well what we will find, the burden falling hardest on those least able to afford it: homes ruined and families forced into temporary shelters. Now more than ever, UNCF needs the community’s help to fill the gap and ensure that these students, our family, remain in school and not lose sight of their future endeavors. Stand with UNCF and ACT NOW.”
How Can You Help?
1.    Visit or text UNCFNA to 50555 to donate.
2.    Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to pledge their commitment.
3.    Share this message on your social networks to spread the urgency to help our HBCU students. “Restoring the damage done by #HurricaneHarvey will be a long process, but our students need your help right away! Donate now:”                                            
Your donation will aid HBCU students through this natural disaster. Restoring the damage done by Harvey will be a long process, but even the smallest contribution can make a larger impact.
About UNCF 
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


United States Senator Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address Saturday morning at Howard University, urging students to go to the front lines to fight for the nation’s deepest values of justice and equality.
“History has proven that each generation of Howard graduates will forge the way forward for our country and our world, and now graduates it is your turn,” Harris said.  “You are graduating in a very different time than you arrived a few short years ago.”
The Howard University alumna applauded the members of the class of 2017 for their social activism as college students, including their contribution to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and participation in the roiling protests of social injustice throughout the country.
“You students have joined the fight for justice — you protested,” Harris said. “From the streets of Ferguson to the halls of the United States Congress, you have lived the words of James Baldwin, ‘There is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.’”
Harris is both the first African-American and first woman to serve as Attorney General for the state of California. She is the second African-American woman in history to be elected to the United States Senate.
The University has marked the 150th anniversary of its founding throughout the academic year. Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick has said the establishment of the University constituted one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in the history of American colleges and universities.
“It is evident that the success of Howard University is the result of a labor of love and a deeply-rooted desire to pursue a very radical idea, ‘education for all,’” Dr. Frederick said at the ceremony. “As we grapple with the uncertainties of this nation, Howard University will fervently provide solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.”
Howard University conferred 2,173 degrees, including 318 master’s degrees, and 105 Ph.Ds. More than 375 students received professional degrees in law, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry. Howard University has the only dental and pharmacy colleges in the District of Columbia. The 2017 graduates represented 47 states and 39 countries; 157 graduates were from the District of Columbia.
This year’s commencement celebration featured an all-women list of honorary degree recipients.
Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray was posthumously recognized with an honorary Doctor of Laws. Murray, a 1944 Howard University School of Law graduate, was a quiet force behind some of the most iconic civil rights and social justice events of the 20th century. She was one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women. Murray was also the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977.
Maureen Bunyan received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Bunyan is an award-winning journalist and news anchor who is a founder and board member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. In her remarks, Bunion said opportunities for Blacks in the mainstream media were born out of the urban rebellions of the 1960s. She urged students to hold the media accountable and to promote the interests of African Americans, immigrants, and other marginalized people.
Howard University also celebrated one of its own renowned scholars. Dr. Eleanor W. Traylor received an honorary Doctor of Letters. Dr. Traylor is a Howard University graduate professor of English and an acclaimed scholar and critic in African-American literature and criticism.
Dr. Traylor said Howard inspired her vocational commitment “to prepare the next generation for its work – seriously, relentlessly, and even ruthlessly.”  She said the institution had “mapped a way out of no way on the road to excellence” in its 150-year history. “The real beauty of this day is equaled only to that day when the idea of our University was born.”
About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Over the past 20 years, the University has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, over 80 Fulbright recipients, 22 Pickering Fellows and one Schwarzman Scholar. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.