MONTGOMERY, AL – Alabama State University (ASU) houses one of three Interpretive Centers that stretches along the national Selma-to-Montogmery Historic Trail. The Montgomery Interpretive Center exists to commemorate the people, events, and route connected with the 1965 March.

When visiting the center, visitors will learn about the origins of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the people and students who put their lives on the line to fight injustice, events and route connected with the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. They will also learn about the murder of Marion’s Jimmy Lee Jackson whose death served as the catalyst for the March.

“The Center stands here on ASU’s campus as a celebration and a hallowed reminder of a brave band of American citizens who stood up for equality, justice, freedom and the right to vote,” said Quinton T. Ross, ASU President. “I thank the National Park Service for being our partner in this endeavor and the countless people who made this dream a reality.”

The center sits adjacent to the ASU football stadium along a corner block that serves as a gateway into campus. It is across from the homes of civil rights icon Ralph Abernathy and singer Nat King Cole. It serves as the third and final civil rights Interpretive Center along the March trail. The other interpretive centers are in downtown Selma and Lowndes County.

“The Center serves as a reminder of what Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, F.D. Reese and so manny others did to make equal justice and freedom a reality for all. It also serves as a reminder that we still have further to March before Dr. King’s ideal of a Beloved Community is achieved,” said Ross.

The Grand Opening was set for March 25; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a possibility that the event has been postponed and the center remains closed.

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About the Selma to Montgomery Trail

Alabama’s Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail honors the 54-mile march of white and black non-violent supporters, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail stands as a testament to the sacrifices made in the triumph to preserve the right to vote as the bedrock of American democracy.

David Whitlow, Jr.

MONTGOMERY, AL – The City of Montgomery’s newly sworn in Mayor, Steven L. Reed, announced on Nov. 22, the members of “Montgomery’s United,” the transition organization that the mayor has created to help him set his pathway to lead the city though his new administration. Among its members is the president of Alabama State University’s Student Government Association (SGA), according to a press release by the University.

SGA President and Montgomery native David Whitlow Jr. graduated from Jefferson Davis High School as a dual-sport athlete who excelled in football. Whitlow, a senior studying English and Secondary Education, was a quarterback on the ASU football team before assuming the office of SGA President. As well as serving as SGA president, Whitlow is the marketing coordinator for Aramark, which is the University’s food service provider. Whitlow is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Whitlow said he is honored to serve on the committee that will help steer Montgomery’s ship of state under its newly sworn in mayor.

“It means a lot to me to be appointed by Mayor Reed,” said Whitlow. “My appointment shows that our new mayor understands that Alabama State University is a vital part of the city from a ‘communiversity’ standpoint, to its status as a higher education leader statewide, all the way to its important business and financial aspect. And for him to appoint a millennial like me means he understand the importance of hearing the opinions of the city’s youth.”

Upon his graduation from ASU in the spring of 2020, Whitlow plans to attend graduate school at The University of Alabama (UA) where he will major in mass communications. A goal and a dream come true for him while studying in graduate school at UA would be to serve as a student intern at the University’s Athletic Department – he said he is soon to apply. Whitlow’s ultimate goal upon graduation from a master’s program is to become a professional sports analyst with a major network or entity.

PURPOSE OF MAYOR’S TRANSITION COMMITTEE

Mayor Reed said that it is important to be led by dynamic group of citizens from this committee whom he has selected to review the status of various government agencies, review national best practices and develop local solutions to solve some of the more recalcitrant problems facing Montgomery.

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About Alabama State University

Alabama State University is a comprehensive diverse student-centered public historically black college and university (HBCU) committed to global excellence in teaching, research and service. ASU offers baccalaureate through doctorate degrees in an expansive array of academic programs. We maintain a scholarly and creative faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and an atmosphere in which members of the university community live, work and learn in pleasant surroundings. ASU offers a bridge to success for those who commit to pursing quintessential educational opportunities and lifelong endeavors. For more information, visit www.alasu.edu.

ASU’s Dr. Vida Dennis (Photo credit: David Campbell/ASU)

MONTGOMERY, AL – Alabama State University has been awarded a $1.47 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to train minority students to become future scientists in the field of biomedical sciences. ASU’s Center for NanoBiotechnology (CNBR) will use these funds to continue to diversify its pool of Ph.D. students at Alabama State University in biomedical research through funding from the NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for its Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program.

According to a press release from the University, the goals of NIGMS-RISE program are to continue to provide support to medical science (MS) students Biology and enrich the research environment at ASU with a primary focus on intense training and mentoring of participating students for completion for their Ph.D. programs in the field of biomedical research or behavioral sciences. Alabama State’s CNBR has partnered with several external research institutions in the nation that will work with ASU to help mentor and train its MS students, which will help make them highly competitive for entry to research-focused Ph.D. programs in the biomedical fields.

With the grant funding from the NIH, many MS graduate students and research scientists at ASU will be able to expand their scientific capabilities in biomedical research. A team of ASU faculty researchers will mentor and supervise students’ research projects and will also help in the implementation of research and educational program activities during the 5-year funding cycle of this grant.

ASU’s Dr. Vida A. Dennis, professor of Microbiology and co-director of the CNBR at the University will manage the project while Dr. Shree Singh, professor of Micorbiology and director of the CNBR will serve as the project’s principal investigator.

A study performed by the American Council on Education Center for Policy Research and Strategy, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) play an integral role in the education of students of color, those from low-income backgrounds, and students who are first in their family to attend college. The data in the report verify that working assumption with concrete numbers that show income mobility by students who attended MSIs across the country exceeding mobility rates at non-MSIs. This distinction is an important one to make at a time, when public implications for institutions – including many MSIs – already struggling with low general and educational expenditures and endowment sizes. This distinction is further important given the outsized performance of MSIs in generating income mobility even while they are operating with limited resources.

The importance of MSIs to individual students, families, communities, and our national economy cannot be overstated. MSIs are ubiquitous to the postsecondary landscape, representing roughly one-fifth of all degree-granting, Title IV-eligible institutions of higher education in 2014-15. In this same year, taken together, approximately 700 MSIs enrolled 4.8 million students, or 28 percent of all undergraduates enrolled in U.S. higher education.

Finally, there is evidence that MSIs provide students of color with stronger academic experiences and more supportive environments whole in college than do non-MSIs.

According to the latest study conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE) Center for Policy Research and Strategy, Alcorn State University, Southern University and A&M College, Lincoln University (PA), Dillard University, and Alabama State University leads other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the Minority Serving Institutions category as Engines of Upward Mobility study.

View below:

The date presented in this report verify a working assumption of those familiar with MSIs – that these institutions are standouts in the field for their contribution to income mobility. This distinction is important given the outsized performance of MSIs in generating upward income mobility even whole they are operating with limited resources. Further, across the whole of higher education, we could stand to learn and share the policies and practices employed by the top-performing MSIs, such that the field can from their success.

To view the entire study, visit http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/MSIs-as-Engines-of-Upward-Mobility.pdf.

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Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, President of Alabama State University.

MONTGOMERY, AL – Just one week after Jackson State University’s President Dr. Carolyn Meyers release her resignation, another female president is gone from the HBCU scene. The Alabama State University Board of Trustees has voted 8-6 in removing Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd from president at ASU.

According to a source, the removal came about Friday during a meeting in placing Boyd on administrative leave. At the beginning of the meeting trustee Herbert Young moved to add a new item to the agenda, which was to place Boyd on administrative leave.

“It was disappointing, very disappointing,” Boyd said about her removal. “It definitely caught me off guard. It’s not good for the university, but they are the board, and they get to make that decision.”

A post-determination hearing will be held Nov. 14, with a statement of charges to be provided to Boyd no later than Monday. She has been charged with failure to maintain the confidence of the board.

Young also proposed to authorize attorney Dorman Walker of the Balch and Bingham law firm to draw up the charge against Boyd. The Board approved.

Provost Leon Wilson has been appointed to serve as interim president until the board finds a replacement for Boyd. Wilson told the Advertiser that he “heard rumblings” prior to the meeting on Friday that Boyd would be removed.

The university has since released this statement from Wilson:

“At this time, it is important that the Alabama State University family remains focused on our top priority and greatest treasure, which is our students. We will continue our educational agenda, and I, along with our leadership team, faculty and staff, will serve our students to the best of our ability. The most important thing for the University right now is to maintain its stability. I ask that the community keep me and our University in its prayers.” – Interim President Leon C. Wilson.

The board was originally scheduled to discuss the university’s budget and university-wide furloughs.

University staff members said Boyd called a meeting on Wednesday with everyone employed by ASU to announce the furloughs. She announced at the meeting that there were to be 12 furloughs throughout the year for all employees, meaning once a month the employees wouldn’t come to work and wouldn’t be paid for that day.

Though Boyd’s tenure saw accreditation warnings, credit drops, dips in enrollment and a $24 million budget crisis, the university was in turmoil before unanimously voting to hire her in January 2014.

In November 2012 allegations of improper contracts at the school triggered a forensic investigation. Forensic Strategic Solutions, the firm that handled the investigation, turned over its findings to Attorney General Luther Strange’s office, ultimately leading to a state and federal grand jury to examine those findings. No criminal fraud activity was found as a result of the investigations.