Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU’s 37th President

(WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – 11/19/20) – West Liberty University Board of Governors named Dr. W. Franklin Evans as the university’s 37th president.

“I am pleased to announced that Dr. W. Franklin Evans has accepted our offer and agreed to become West Liberty University’s 37th President. He will be a strong leader and we welcome him to the Hilltop and look forward to introducing him to our alumni, donors, friends and the wider community,” said Rich Lucas, chairman of the search committee and the Board of Governors.

Evans will be the first Black president in the 183-year history of West Liberty and will assume the presidency on January 1, 2021.

“It is a great honor being selected as the next president of West Liberty University, the oldest and most historic public institution in the state. I am grateful to the West Liberty University Board of Governors for its confidence and support of my selection to lead this amazing institution,” said Evans.

Evans will succeed Dr. Stephen Greiner who has served as president since January 2016. He is the current president of Voorhees College and has 25 years of experience in education. Prior to being named president, Evans served as interim president of South Carolina State University (SCSU), in Orangeburg, S.C., where he also served as provost and chief academic officer.

Prior to SCSU, he served as vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., where he was instrumental in leading the institution through a successful reaffirmation of accreditation and establishing an Honor College, along with a bachelor’s of fine arts and master’s in education degrees.

He also worked at Elizabeth City State, J.F. Drake State Technical College, Alabama A&M University, and Tennessee State University.

In 1994, Evans earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Georgia State University. He earned a degree in journalism, middle childhood education, curriculum and instruction, as well as administration and supervision from Georgia State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia in 1984.

Earlier this year, Evans was named a 2020 Most Dominant HBCU Leader by the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF), recognized for being a dominant and influential leader, focused on the progress of moving institutions forward such as Voorhees College.

He was born in Augusta, Ga. and is active in the NAACP, Black Family Preservation Group, the National Association of Black School Educators, and Toastmasters International and has served on the boards of the Sickle Cell Association, Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis Club International and the AIDS Action Coalition. He is an ordained elder with the Church of God in Christ.

West Liberty University’s search for its next president began last spring after President Stephen Greiner announced his intended June 30, 2020 retirement last November. The search was delayed due to the pandemic and Greiner agreed to stay on at the request of the Board of Governors.

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About West Liberty University
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest public university and today it offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. For more information, visit www.westliberty.edu.

(CHICAGO, IL) – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF), a educational advocacy organization is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that unleash the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide. Giving Tuesday will kick-off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on Tuesday, December 1st, and throughout the year. The organization’s set fundraising goal is $50,000 to support initiative programming and provide scholarships to students at HBCUs and MSIs.

HCF whose mission is to support the significance and raise funds for scholarships, initiative programming, and services at HBCUs and MSIs has joined the global day to meet its fundraising goal of $50,000 to support initiative programs and scholarship funds that impact its advocacy efforts in support of students, HBCUs, and MSIs as well as to further the organization’s mission. We believe that this global movement can impact the org’s advocacy efforts.

“The HBCU Campaign Fund wants to continue to strengthen its advocacy mission for HBCUs, MSIs and higher education. Our organization will keep going to be among one of the leading that inspire and transform the HBCU and MSI community and assisting to reduce the financial burden on a students’ education,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., HCF’s president and CEO, Founder. “With the help of our supporters, we believe we can do it to continue to be an asset to supporting the important assignment that our HBCU and Minority-serving institutions take on daily and that’s to provide a quality education to a Black and diverse population of students. The set fundraising goal will provide the leverage for our organization to strengthen our philanthropy ability to overcome and continue supporting our students, and higher ed institutions.”

Leading up to #GivingTuesday, you can join the movement by posting a #Unselfie on social media or speak about why you support HCF as a HBCU supportive organization and using the campaign hashtag #HCFGivingTuesday. You can sign-up to volunteer as a Social Media Ambassador to provide HCF’s #GivingTuesday campaign and share the #GivingTuesday socia media post/flyers (pictured below) on social media.

Those who are interested in supporting HCF’s Giving Tuesday initiative can visit the campaign page by clicking here. The organization has identified four scholarship funds and initiative programs that donors can assist with in reaching its goals to continue benefiting students and our partners.

  • Annual HBCU Football and Recruitment Tour
  • The Brenda G. Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Campus Student Ambassador Program
  • HBCU General Scholarship

Higher education can be debt of students in accomplishing their goals. In order to fulfill our mission at HCF and make a difference, the campaign for students, HBCUs and MSIs is vital. We are asking for your support and we hope that you choose HCF as your charity of choice on #GivingTuesday, December 1st!

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About HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a nonprofit educational organization that support the significance and raises funds for scholarship, initiative programming, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. HCF remains a strong advocate for students and higher education. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

About GivingTuesday
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundred of million people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Fore more information, visit www.givingtuesday.org.

(GULFPORT, MS – November 11, 2020) – Mississippi Power, in partnership with the Southern Company Charitable Foundation, is announcing on November 11th the awarding of $825,000 in Technology Grants to four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Mississippi.

Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Rust College and Tougaloo College will receive grants to provide students with scholarships, internships, leadership development and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness.

“Investing in Mississippi’s HBCU students is an investment in the future workforce of our state,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “We believe engaging these graduates will help ensure a thriving economy for Mississippi for years to come.”

For more than 150 years, Mississippi’s HBCUs have provided African American students with high quality education and skills development when laws prohibited them from being admitted at predominately white colleges and universities.

“Ensuring students have the resources and support to learn, excel and graduate is a critical role of all higher learning institutions,” said Moses Feagin, Mississippi Power’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Diversity Officer. “Mississippi’s HBCUs produce leader and innovators. We want to support the mission of these schools and connect with the talent pipeline they’ve created.”

Southern Company announced it is awarding grants to support technology for 21 HBCUs across several states, through its charitable foundation.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe reliable and environmentally responsible energy 23 southeast Mississippi counties. For more information, visit www.misssissippipower.com.

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As part of its overall $50 million, multi-year investment in HBCUs, announced in January 2020, Southern Company is providing grants to select HBCUs to fund technology tools, infrastructure, professional development and tech support for the 2020-2021 academic year

(ATLANTA, GA – November 11, 2020) – Southern Company announced on November 11th it is awarding grants to support technology for 21 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across several states through it charitable foundation.

This commitment is part of Southern Company’s overall $50 million HBCU initiative, announced in January 2020, to provide students attending these institutions with scholarships, internships, leadership development and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness. This round of grants will help address challenges created by the pandemic by funding technology tools, infrastructure support, professional development and IT services to select undergraduate HBCUs within the Southern Company system’s service footprint in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia.

“We are thrilled to partner with some of the country’s leading institutions of higher learning as we invest in the next generation of technology leaders,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Company. “After speaking with many institutions across our footprint, we heard the call loud and clear: new and better technology is needed to deliver quality education to students, now and in years to come. The goal is to provide resources that will stimulate the kind of critical thinking that will allow students to embrace ideas that will drive the change required for success today and into the future. We look forward to seeing what students from these universities will achieve through the grants we are providing.”

Southern Company is honored to be part of a growing group of corporate and philanthropic partners who have increased support for HBCUs in the wake of the pandemic and mounting calls for racial justice. The company seeks to increase the spotlight on these institutions beyond the current moment, underscoring the importance of HBCUs in higher education and in American life. Since Southern Company’s HBCU initiative was launched earlier this year, the company has provided more than $6 million to school across its service territory.

“We are proud to be among those who are investing in HBCUs. Theses institutions are at the forefront of critical work around equity and innovation in America, helping us tackle some of our most complex challenges. I am excited to announce this round of grants and look forward to upcoming grant announcements that will be open to these important institutions,” said Chris Womack, who recently become the president of Georgia Power, as of Nov. 1.

As part of the $50 million initiative, this round of allocations will be awarded by the Southern Company Foundation to qualifying institutions in grants up to $500,000. Southern Company intends to open additional grant applications in support of other needs at qualifying HBCUs in the near future. The energy company will collaborate with academic leaders from across its footprint to identify areas of need and channel resources into the programs that will create the most impact.

This opportunity follows the $1 million gift from Southern Company Gas and the Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation to Morehouse School of Medicine to support the university’s academic expansion and efforts to provide greater equity in health care. The funding enables the medical school to strengthen its educational offerings and research enterprise, including its budding Natural Products Research Center and the development of an Emerging Pathogens Research Team focused on topics such as coronavirsuses.

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About the Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through our subsidiaries. We provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. For more information, visit www.southerncompany.com.

Centers and institutes are important components of the academic, research, and service mission of a college or university. They play an important role in enabling multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs and are a necessary part of a college or university’s infrastructure.

Centers and institutes have the potential for strengthening disciplinary programs by providing interdisciplinary course work, offering service learning opportunities, facilitating certificate programs, supporting degree program, enabling high levels of research productivity and providing external visibility for the college or university.

Here is a list of active Centers and Institutes at HBCUs:

Center for the Study of HBCUs | Virginia Union University

The Center for the Study of HBCUs, in partnership with the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), at Virginia Union University is a national research center whose vision is to become the country’s preeminent institution for the advancement of scholarship on Black colleges in the United States an beyond.

The national research center will conduct high-quality studies, serves as a connection and convener of the HBCU scholarly community, and disseminate publications that focus on the history, mission, and management of HBCUs.

Click here for more information

Center for Social Justice | Claflin University

Claflin’s Center for Social Justice embodies a number of Claflin’s guding principles, most importantly Commitment to Valuing People. At Claflin, people are valued by providing a safe, wholesome and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion. The Center of Social Justice at Claflin provides a platform of its mission to lead a national movement of change.

Click here for more information

Social Justice Institute | Philander Smith College

The work and mission of Philander Smith College is deeply rooted in social justice and equity – going back to its founding nearly a century and a half ago. Reimagined and reinvented in 2017 with strategic thought partners Auburn Theological Seminary and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the institute works to transform the campus, the community and the world.

The Institute seeks to embrace and catalyze work in social justice across multiple domains: education, health, environment, community, economics, politics, identity, civil, criminal, religious, racial, gender, and age.

Click here for more information

Law Center | Southern University System

The mission of the Law Center is consistent with the rich heritage of the Southern University System. The Law Center stresses legal education of high quality for qualified students from diverse backgrounds.

The Southern University Law Center is proud of the tradition established by the original School of Law – to provide quality legal education commensurate with high professional standards. The vision that compels the Law Center to seek excellence in every aspect of its program also fosters an environment that stimulates the intellectual processes and promotes professional development.

The center offers a dual degree Juris Doctor/Masters in Public Administration (JD/MD) program in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University and A&M College.

Click here for more information

The John R. Lewis Institute for Social Justice | Fisk University

The John R. Lewis Institute is a continuation of the famous Race Relations Institute (RRI), which shaped so many conversation and policies during the 60s and 70s. The social, political, and economic issues that RRI founder Fisk President Charles S. Johnson identified during the 1940s are still critical to addressing and improving the existing disparities in the African American community.

This Institute includes a master’s program in social justice, in addition to certificate programs and undergraduate projects, research and forums.

Click here for more information

Center for Racial Justice | Dillard University

The mission of Dillard University’s Center for Racial Justice (CRJ) is to bring systemic change to the way policies is done in communities of color and to promote partnerships with law enforcement including police departments and sheriff’s office, graduate, and professional schools. The Center for Racial Justice will be a reservoir for lectures, research, advocacy training, civic engagement, and political participation.

Click here for more information

John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership | Virginia State University

The John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership (JMLI) at Virginia State University was created to honor the legacy of John Mercer Langston, the first African American Congressional Representative from Virginia and first president of Virginia State University.

JMLI’s mission seeks to assess, develop, and empower African American political leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative programming, research, and advocacy. The Institute strives to promote an increased understanding of the historical significance, unique role and challenges faced by African American political leaders. A highlight of JMLI’s programming is the development and engagement of collegiate scholars who are interested in activism and pursuing careers in political science and public administration.

Click here for more information

– Updated November 9, 2020

(JACKSON, MS) – Jackson State University (JSU) has announced the promotion of Jerome Tinker to the position of executive director for the JSU Development Foundation. In 2018, Tinker joined the JSUDF where he fulfilled the duties of executive assistant, account payable, donor relations, board administrator, and most recently, director.

“My diligent work ethic was not overlooked by Universiter administrators and the JSUDF Board of Directors, and for that, I am immensely grateful. I absolutely love what I do, and each day, I am motivated to go above and beyond my call of duty to ensure the BOD have what they need to exercise proper and effective governance,” said Tinker.

As Executive Director, he plans to collaborative with the executive officers of JSUDF to create an all-inclusive strategic proposal which will assist with strengthening the Board of Directors. This initiative will focus on the following sectors:

  • Diversity
  • Engagement
  • Communication
  • Policy and procedures
  • Day-to-Day operations

Tinker also wants to ensure all JSUDF University staff members receive adequate professional development to assist with enhancing internal operations.

“We have limited amount of team members who all have to perform variety of duties. I believe by empowering my staff and ensuring they have all the necessary resources to be successful, they will in turn, produce an astounding work product for the JSUDF.”

Tinker is a native of Sawyerville, Alabama. He is a cum laude graduate of Stillman College where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Operations Management. He also has a Master of Community Development in Housing with a certification in Community Planning from Prairie View A&M University.

He is a student member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the American Planning Association (MS Chapter), the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, wand was recently appointed as chairman of the Scholarship and Student Engagement Committee for the PVAMU Atlanta Metro Alumni Chapter.

Tinker is a proud member of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grant Lodge of Alabama and is a 2006 initiate of the Gamma Phi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

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About the JSU Development Foundation
The Jackson State University Foundation was established as a private, nonprofit organization in 1977 specifically to increase private gift support for Jackson State University. Since its inception, the JSUDF has been committed to establishing the best possible relationship with its benefactors based on trust by operating with the highest ethical standards and providing excellent performance. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu/jsudf.

Dr. Ontario Wooden, new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Alcorn State University

LORMAN, MS – Alcorn State University (ASU) has announced a new provost that will pave the way for student success and faculty excellence after a nationwide search.

Dr. Ontario Wooden began his tenure as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on Tuesday, September 15. As provost, Wooden will be responsible for facilitating the effective and efficient delivery of academic and support services across the campus, which includes management and oversight of all academic schools, the registrar, research and graduate studies, 1890 Research/Extension, Library, Institutional Research, and Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment/Accreditation. Wooden will serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet and reports directly to President Felecia M. Nave.

“We value Dr. Wooden’s successful experience as a higher education administrator, an accomplished teacher, and a scholar,” said President Nave. “Ontario’s keen academic vision, focus on student success and faculty excellence, commitment to access combined with his collaborative approach to leadership and shared governance elevated his candidacy among a group of over 40 truly stellar candidates for Alcorn’s provost. I am confident he will work well with the leadership team, faculty, and staff to greatly benefit our university community as we continue to advance our national and global reputation.”

Wooden comes to Alcorn after serving as associate vice chancellor for Student Success and Academic Outreach at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In his 12-year career at NCCU, he has provided leadership in multiple positions that include associate vice chancellor for Innovative, Engaged, and Global Education, interim associate dean of the School of Education; and associate professor of Education. He was also the acting associate vice chancellor for Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning, and served as dean, and associate dean of University College.

“I, along with my wife, Kimberly, and song, Liam, are honored to become a part of the Alcorn family,” said Wooden. “Every person I have spoken with speaks about the “Alcorn family.” It is not lost that I am joining a special team, a unique tradition, and a place full of caring and devoted faculty, staff, and students. I am thrilled to be a part of the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the country. One of my research interests is college student access and success. Continuing this focus at Alcorn is exciting.”

Wooden partnered as an affiliate graduate faculty in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for five year. Further, he served in multiple roles at Albany State University and Indiana University Bloomington (IUB). He earned a doctorate in higher education from IUB in 2004, which is where he also earned a master’s degree in the same area of study in 2002. Wooden earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Albany State University in 2000.

Despite today’s challenges, Wooden remains dedicated to ensuring Alcorn’s continued accreditation while providing the best educational opportunities for its students.

“We must continue to work diligently to ensure that we complete a new strategic plan, receive continuing from SACSCOC and other specialized accreditations, complete a comprehensive review of our academic programs to ensure our offering of leading-edge degree programs, as well as strengthen our administrative academic operations. We will also develop as a set of key performance indicators to measure our progress and success. Amid all of the new constraints that we face, we will stay focused on providing outstanding educational opportunities for our students.”

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About Alcorn State University
Alcorn State University, a Historically Black College and University, is a comprehensive land-grant institution that celebrates a rich heritage with a diverse student and faculty population. The University emphasizes intellectual development and lifelong learning through the integration of diverse pedagogies, applied and basic research, cultural and professional programs, public service and outreach, while providing access to globally competitive academic and research programs. Alcorn strives to prepare graduates to be well-rounded future leaders of higher character and to be successful in the global marketplace of the 21st century. For more information, visit www.alcorn.edu.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced on August 6, 2020, the award of more than $3.5 million to 11 Mississippi universities and community colleges for student support services. This award includes three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The Mississippi institutions were eligible to take advantage of an extended U.S. Department of Education application deadline offered to schools located within federal disaster areas. The Student Support Services (SSS) Program awards represent first year funding of an anticipated five-year grant program.

“The Student Support Services Program funding gives these Mississippi schools resources to help students navigate post-secondary education requirements, which will be further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic over the next few semesters,” said Hyde-Smith, who serve on the Senate appropriation subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal education programs.

“I’m grateful our universities and community colleges affected by disasters, like flooding and severe storms, were giving additional time to quality for and win these grants,” she said.

The SSS, one of eight federal TRIO Programs, works to increase the college retention and graduation rates through programs to help students meet basic college requirements. The assistance may include grant aid to current SSS participants receiving federal Pell Grants.

The Mississippi schools receiving FY2020 SSS Program grants include:

  • Alcorn State University – $392,322
  • Copiah-Lincoln Community College – $338,971
  • Hinds Community College – $329,897
  • Holmes Community College – $337,287
  • Jackson State University (two grants) – $523,776
  • Mississippi State University – $292,898
  • Mississippi Valley State University – $305,957
  • Northwest Mississippi Community College – $334,571
  • Pearl River Community College – $372,972
  • University of Southern Mississippi – $306,037

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PETERSBURG, VA – Virginia State University (VSU) has announced a new venture focused on increasing African American political leadership across the Commonwealth of Virginia. During a press conference on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, the University announced the creation of the John Mercer Langston Institute for African American Political Leadership (JMLI).

The JMLI at Virginia State University is devoted to developing, empowering, and cultivating African American leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative training, policy collection and assistance, programming, research, and networking according to the University.

According to Dr. Wes Bellamy, Chair of the VSU Department of Political Science, “This Institute will help develop a pipeline of Black political leadership across the state and ensure that the voices of those who are often unheard will be represented. We hear loud and clear the need for change, for new voices, a thirst for understanding political structures, and people eager to make a difference. The JMLI Institute is here to do just that.”

VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah says, “As we look at the current political climate, it is imperative that clear avenues for Black political development are available. VSU has consistently worked to ensure that our students are prepared and equipped to viable assets to society in the Commonwealth and beyond. The JMLI will serve as an additional voice and pathway to make that happen.”

The JMLI will also host a formal institute to develop Black political leadership in February 2021. Registration for the institute will be available in December 2020.

John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician. He was the first president of Virginia State University and the first dean of the law school at Howard University.

For more information about the JMLI, click here.

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About Virginia State University
Virginia State University, a public, comprehensive 1890 Land Grant institution and historically black college/university, is committed to the preparation of a diverse population of men and women through the advancement of academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. The University endeavors to meet the educational needs of students, graduating lifelong learners who are well equipped to serve their communities as informed citizens, globally competitive leaders, and highly effective, ethical professionals. For more information, visit www.vsu.edu.

Maxine R. Greenleaf

Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) alumna Maxine R. Greenleaf has earned an appointment to the Strategic Communications Executive Committee for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). It’s the oldest higher education association in the country and aims to strengthen and advance public universities’ work in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Greenleaf currently serves as the Executive Director of Communications and Marketing in Jackson State University’s Division of Institutional Advancement. She graduated from MVSU in 2007 with a degree in Mass Communications. From 2008 to 2012, Greenleaf worked in MVSU’s Office of Communications and Marketing. She held the position of director in the same department from 2013-2017.

As an executive committee member on APLU’s Council on Strategic Communications (CSC), Greenleaf will work with other professionals throughout the country to provide a forum that will bolster senior leaders’ work in communications and public affairs, as well as public relations.

“It is an honor to be appointed to APLU’s Council on Strategic Communications,” said Greenleaf. “I’ve spent over 14 years of my career in higher education because I believe in its transformational power. I am excited to contribute to conversations on this level to assist with improving access and communicating the public good benefits of higher ed.”

“We are pleased to learn of Mrs. Maxine Greenleaf’s appointment by the APLU, one of the country’s oldest higher education associations. It is an honor in which she should be proud.” said Thomas K. Hudson, acting president of JSU.

The council works to create coherent messaging and practical strategies that communicates public higher education value to key constituencies. The CSC also works closely with the Council on Government Affairs (CGA) on messages of importance to federal and state policymakers and the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) to communicate issues about economic development.

APLU’s membershi[ consists of 246 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations. Its core mission is to build a greater future for everyone through the following methods:

  • Expand access and improve student success to deliver the innovative workforce of tomorrow
  • Advance and promote research and discovery to improve society
  • Foster economic growth and address global challenges
  • Build healthy, prosperous, equitable, vibrant communities locally and globally