LIBERTY, MOWilliam Jewell College announces Dr. Rodney Smith has been appointed to the newly created position of Vice President for Access and Engagement and will lead the College’s intensive inclusivity efforts, which includes such strategies as supporting the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff of color and forging meaningful relationships with communities of color in Kansas City and beyond.

“I’m excited about this new position because the possibilities are endless. I see myself as the ‘chief hope officer’ and look forward to extending Jewell’s footprint and visibility. For me, that’s hopeful,” said Smith. “I am to create a community where students can come together and create an environment that supports personalized learning, empowers critical thinking and fosters a sense of belonging – on our campus and beyond.”

Smith adds that access and belongingness are reinforced by Jewell’s tuition recast initiative.

Beginning fall 2021, Jewell’s “Opportunity without Barriers” tuition recast plan includes new tuition price of $18,360 (before aid), significantly reducing the current tuition sticker price of $33,500.

“We believe in fostering an environment that is inclusive and welcoming,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, president of William Jewell College. “Our team has been thoughtfully and intentionally working to ensure an inclusive environment that reverberates throughout the campus and beyond. This includes the hiring of Dr. Rodney Smith. And with his leadership, William Jewell is committed to creating opportunities without barriers for students, faculty and staff.”

Prior to joining the college’s leadership team, Smith worked with Jewell in a consulting capacity through Sophic Solutions, LLC, a change management consulting firm he co-founded with his wife and business partner, Stephenie K. Smith. As part of their consulting services, they assisted with Jewell’s inclusivity initiative.

In the education area, Smith most recently served in the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he continues as an adjunct professor. He worked at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., as associate director of annual giving and special gifts; Fisk University in Nashville as director of admissions and recruitment; at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia as admissions counselor/recruiter; and at Morris Brown in Atlanta, also in admissions.

Smith obtained his bachelor’s degree at Morris Brown College, a historically black college in Atlanta, majoring in fine arts with a concentration in architecture. He earned a master and doctorate of education, both from Tennessee State University.

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About William Jewell College

William Jewell College is more focused than ever on advancing critical thinking and preparing students to connect their thinking with their purpose. As evidenced in the strategic plan, WJC have a clear vision for increasing access to education and maintaining a vibrant campus that attracts the best students and faculty, while ensuring their current students have an enriching experience that prepares them for their futures as engaged citizens. For more information, visit www.jewell.edu.

ORANGEBURG, SC – SC State University will hold its Spring Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at the Oliver C. Dawson Stadium. New Jersey senator and 2020 presidential candidate, Cory Booker, will deliver the commencement speech to the 2019 graduating class.

A native of Washington, D.C, Booker has dedicated his life to fighting for those who have been left out, left behind or left without a voice. In 1996, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, and founded a nonprofit organization to provide legal services for low-income families, helping tenants take on slumlords, improve their living conditions and stay in their homes.

At age 29, Booker was elected to the Newark City Council, and beginning in 2006, he served as Newark’s mayor for more than seven years. He said he is running for president to reignite a spirit of common purpose to build a fairer and just nation for everyone.

Booker was the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey. In the Senate, he has been a vocal critic of the Trump Administration and has underlined the importance of unity and fundamental American values. He has also championed policies that advance economic and equal justice — including leading efforts to reform the broken criminal justice system, increase wages, ensure hard work is fairly rewarded and protect the rights of all Americans to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

Booker held form at SC State last October on the importance of voting in the primary election of November 2018. During the forum, he emphasized the powerful and vital impact today’s youth can have on society when they use their voices for change.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to address the graduating class at South Carolina State University’s Commencement Ceremony. With so many challenges to take on, I believe that this generation will help to chart this nation’s course for decades to come. By coming together in this moment, we can ignite a sense of common purpose that I believe is vital in moving our country forward,” said Booker.

About South Carolina State University

South Carolina State University (SC State) is a historically Black public 1890 land-grant senior comprehensive institution. Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, SC State University is committed to providing affordable and accessible quality baccalaureate programs in the areas of business, applied professional sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, engineering technology, education, arts, and humanities. A number of programs are offered at the master’s level in teaching, human services and agribusiness, and the educational specialist and doctorate programs are offered in educational administration. For more information, visit www.scsu.edu

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JACKSONVILLE, FL – Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, award-winning historian, New York Times Best-Selling Author, and 2016 National Book Award winner will deliver the Edward Waters College’s spring commencement address on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Bethel Baptist Church.

According to a press release by the University, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a University Professor of History and Director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Florida A&M University, at 34 years old Dr. Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the National Book Award for non-fiction.

“I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Ibram X. Kendi will join us as our speaker for the Edward Waters spring commencement ceremony,” said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., President & CEO. “An award-winning historian and best-selling author, Dr. Kendia is a renowned self-professed hardcore humanist and a leading voice in our national discourse on racial reconciliation, social justice and humanity. His diverse perspectives and commentary on key issues affecting our lives will enrich and inspire our graduates as they embark to make a meaningful difference in their local communities and throughout the world.”

Consistent with the College’s mission of nurturing a rich intellectual community, earlier this academic year Edward Waters College (EWC) launched its inaugural Shared Common Reading Initiative which was developed as a way to challenge students, faculty, and staff to examine themselves and the local and global worlds they inhabit through reading. This year’s shared common reading text, Stamped From The Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas In America by Dr. Kendi, encourages integration of these ideas and perspective amongst all members of the Edward Waters College Community.

In 2019, Dr. Kendi was selected as John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. In addition, Dr. Kendi has published fourteen essays in books and academic journals, and he is the author of the award-winning book on Black student activism in the lat 1960s and early 1970s, The Black Campus Movement. Kendi has been visiting professor at Brown University, a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. A frequent speaker and contributor of op-eds, Kendi has written for several periodicals including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Root, Salon, The New York Times, New York Daily News , Time, Signature, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is currently working on his next book, How To Be An Antiracist, which will be published in 2019 by One World, a division of Penguin Random House.

“The entire Edward Waters College community is thrilled that Dr. Kendi will join us at this year’s Commencement, as we continue to work with great vigor and focus towards providing our students with a competitive higher educational experience that is Nulli Secundus – Second to None!” said President Faison.

About Edward Waters College

Edward Waters College (EWC), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges, and Schools (SACS) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church – related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida. For more information, visit www.ewc.edu.

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