billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Cuban is owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College students, faculty, and staff participated in a virtual meeting with billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban on March 29, 2021. Mr. Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a media proprietor and the primary investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank.

Mr. Cuban talked about experiences that shaped his life and urged prospective entrepreneurs to select businesses that will “leverage your unique skill sets.” He also stated, “You’ve got to put in the effort. You’ve got to be able to prepare.”

During the presentation, Talladega College senior Kamari McHenry asked questions about Mr. Cuban’s successful business endeavors and the experiences that helped him to excel. After the event, Kamari stated, “I was happy to be a part of the virtual experience today with Mark Cuban. He gave our students and me some wonderful advice. He let me know the sky is the limit. I can do anything with hard work.”

Mass Media Studies Chair Dr. Luis Almeida, who arranged the event, stated, “Having Mark Cuban come into my classroom at Talladega was a wonderful opportunity for students. He helped them to understand the importance of entrepreneurship and realize that, after graduation, they can create their own jobs.”

During the presentation, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins stated that Mr. Cuban’s “passion, confidence, poise, and drive” are among the keys to his success. Dr. Hawkins also noted that similarities between Mr. Cuban’s story of starting out with little and building a fortune to the experiences he had when he became president of the college in 2008. There were barely over 300 students at the time. With hard work and perseverance, the college doubled enrollment from approximately 300 to 601 students in one semester and a major campus transformation began.

In January 2019, a 45,000-foot-square-of-the-art residence hall opened. In 2020, two additional facilities opened – the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the Amistad Murals, and the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center. Enrollment recently rose to an all-time high of 1313 students, making the 2020-2021 academic year Talladega’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. Talladega College is listed among the Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southeast and ranked among the U.S. News and World Report’s best National Liberal Arts College, best Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs), and Top Performers on Social Mobility. The College recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.

About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently, ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit


Dr. Kristie L. Kenney, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL – Dr. Kristie L. Kenney, Talladega College’s vice president for institutional advancement, has been selected to participate in the Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI). A new class of 32 exemplary, senior-level higher education professionals will participate in the 2021 MLI, a premier leadership development program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

“I commend Dr. Kenney for being one of 32 higher education professionals in the nation selected to participate in the 2021 Millennium Leadership Initiative,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, president of Talladega College, who was a member of the 2000 Millennium Leadership Initiative. “Having completed the MLI, I understand and appreciate the value and lasting impact that this program can have on a participant’s life.”

MLI provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of postsecondary education with the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network and knowledge needed to advance to the presidency.

Since MLI’s inception 22 years ago, 662 protégés have graduated from the program. One-fifth of MLI graduates have become a president or chancellor, and more than one-third have advanced significantly to other leadership positions within higher education, including at the state level.

In 2020, AASCU restructured MLI in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 institution will also feature virtual programming – four meetings a month from March 17 to May 26. Additionally, it includes a tentative, in-person meeting in the fall. Protégés will also have a yearlong mentorship with an experienced president or chancellor and four months of professional coaching from a retired president or chancellor.


About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. Theses are institutions Delivering America’s Promise. For more information, visit

Dr. Alvin Smith

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College graduate Dr. Alvin Smith, manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) Planetary Protection Center of Excellence and Backward Planetary Protection Lead for Mars Sample Return, credits Talladega for providing the foundation that helped him excel in science.

“Talladega College really shaped my first understanding of the scientist, individually and collectively, that I wanted to become. The sense of family and community fostered a sense of belonging you rarely find these days, rooted in historical black excellence,” said Dr. Smith. “It was this TC community that made the first investment, through scholarships and didactic scientific education, that truly launched my ambitions to the stars.”

Dr. Smith provides program management and scientific oversight to several research & development projects, training programs, university outreach, and interagency collaborations at NASA JPL at the California Institute of Technology. The JPL Planetary Portection Center of Excellence promotes and sustains the infrastructure of planetary protection at JPL while supporting NASA missions. JPL fosters a culture of intra and inter collaboration to meet evolving mission requirements. The Planetary Protection Center of Excellence ensures that its scientists and engineers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, remain effectively trained, lead mission-related Research & Technology Development projects, and leverage leading government and industry advancements, so that they can better fulfill multi-mission needs. Dr. Smith joined JPL after spending over 16 years in consulting as a biodefense subject matter expert (SME) and researcher in high containment labs.

These experiences highlight his understanding of what it takes to conduct challenging biological studies, implement and lead successful scientific projects, and build lasting partnerships. His scientific contributions in immunology, infectious diseases, and animal models have aided the federal government in developing medical countermeasures and biodetection capabilities for human smallpox, Ebola, and other potential biological weapons. He is a past recipient of numerous awards and honors, including JPL’s Voyager Award, the Noblis Technology Leadership Award, and the IGCC (Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation) Public Policy and Biological Threats Fellowship Award.


About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is home of the renowned Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit

The HBCU Campaign Fund would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Dr. Adena Williams Loston on the completion of her 14th year as President of St. Philip’s College located in San Antonio, Texas. She joined the SPC family on March 1, 2007, on the occasion of St. Philip’s 109th anniversary.

Adena Williams Loston, Ph.D., 14th president of St. Philip’s College.

Named as one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021 by the HBCU Campaign Fund, Dr. Loston serves as president of the only college to be federally designated as a Historically Black College (HBC) and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Prior to joining SPC, she previously served as the Director of Education and Special Assistant for Suborbital and Special Orbital Projects Directorate for the Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility and Chief Education Officer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at its Headquarters in Washington, DC. Her initial appointment at NASA was as the Associate Administrator for Education on October 28, 2002, and prior to joining the Agency, she served as the NASA Administrator’s Senior Education Advisor starting in September 2002. As NASA’s senior education official, she was responsible for structuring the Office of Education, providing executive leadership, policy direction, functional management, and guidance in coordinating the Agency’s overall efforts to organize and enhance its education investments and portfolio nationally and internationally for its Headquarter operations, mission directorates and 10 field centers. Dr. Loston was responsible for a $230 million budget (including earmarks) and directed policy for $1.3 billion.

Recently, Dr. Loston was named to two local committees, serving on both The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) 2021 Executive Committee and Mayor Nirenberg Commission on the Status of Women. She has been a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for more than forty years. She is also a recipient of many awards, achievements, and recognition.

Dr. Loston is the product of a historically black college, Alcorn State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. She received her Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Bowling Green State University in 1974 and 1979 respectively. She also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 1996; the Oxford Roundtable at Oxford University in 2001; and the Wharton School of Business in 2005.

Learn more about Dr. Adena Williams Loston here.


About St. Philip’s College
St. Philip’s College, founded in 1898, is a comprehensive public community college whose mission is to empower our diverse student population through educational achievement and career readiness. As a Historically Black College and Hispanic Serving Institution, St. Philip’s College is a vital facet of the community, responding to the needs of a population rich in ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity. St. Philip’s College creates an environment fostering excellence in academic and technical achievement while expanding its commitment to opportunity and access. For more information, visit

CSU Speaks to Grants’ Impact as Congress Consider the Program’s Future

Leslie Roundtree, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at Chicago State University.

CHICAGO, IL – Dr. Leslie Roundtree, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Chicago State University (CSU), testified on the impact of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) before a Ways and Means Subcommittee of Worker and Family Support. Provost Roundtree was invited by the subcommittee Chairman Congressman Danny Davis as Congressman Davis supports continued investment in the program. The hearing “Health Profession Opportunity Grants; Past Successes and Future Uses,” was on Wednesday, March 10, at 1:00 PM CST.

“The Health Profession Opportunity Grants programs not only give individuals a first-opportunity at securing a post-secondary education, but also a chance to continue up the career ladder,” said Leslie Roundtree, DHS, Interim Provost & Senior Vice President, Chicago State University. “We have seen firsthand that success builds hope. These degrees put the individual participants on a new trajectory and impact families and the communities in which they reside.”

CSU provides one of 32 HPOG programs sponsored through the Administration for Children and Families, which provides much-needed life and job skill services. The grant is a five-year program, which started in 2015. The program assists individuals with low incomes at 200% of poverty and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in securing careers in health sciences through education and financial support. The program, titled STEP UP, targets individuals who may otherwise be unlikely to secure a post-secondary education. The program provides job skill development, career readiness, employment boot camps, and supported employment placement to prepare participants for career and employment success after the program ends.

Provost Roundtree’s testimony is available here


About Chicago State University
Chicago State University (CSU) is a public, comprehensive university that provides access to higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs. The university fosters the intellectual development and success of its student population through a rigorous, positive, and transformative educational experience. CSU is committed to teaching, research, service and community development including social justice, leadership and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

Dr. Pamela Brady, Chemistry Department Chair/Assistant Professor at Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College Chemistry Department Chair/Assistant Professor Dr. Pamela Brady is listed among the 1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America. This prestigious list, which was complied by Cell Mentor, a publication of Cell Press, highlights the important contributions that Black scientists make to the world’s scientific company.

Dr. Brady, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry/pre-med with minors in both mathematics and Spanish at Winston-Salem State University in 2008. She completed her doctoral degree in analytical chemistry at Louisiana State University in 2015. Her research was focused on development of methods to assign methylated NMR peaks for the determination of the quaternary structure of proteins.

Dr. Brady completed a NH funded IRACDA Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her work at UAB involved investigating the structure function relationship of coronaviral proteins using multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. During her postdoc, she also gained valuable teaching experience and earned CIRTL certification in teaching and learning, mentorship, and leadership. She joined Talladega in the Fall of 2019. Since that time, she has written a proposal to the state of Alabama for the college to obtain an Industrial Hemp license for the year 2020. Currently, she is working to submit an implementation grant for the establishment of the UTEACH program at Talladega. This program will be the one of the first to be implemented in HBCUs nationwide and the first to be implemented in an HBCU in the state of Alabama.

About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit

Dr. Cynthia Anthony

On March 10th, Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker announced the appointment of Dr. Cynthia Anthony as President of Lawson State Community College. Anthony has been serving as Interim President at the college since September 2020. She is the 5th president to serve the College and first female appointed to lead the historic institutions.

Dr. Anthony has 30 years of higher education experience, recently serving as Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Success for the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and Executive Vice President and Dean of Students at Lawson State. Prior to her leadership at Lawson State, Anthony served at Bessemer State Technical College, which merged with Lawson State in 2005. In addition to various other leadership roles within the ACCS, she served as Interim President at three other ACCS institutions: Drake State Community and Technical College, Shelton State Community College, and Enterprise State Community College.

“Dr. Anthony is proven leader who cares deeply about student success and it is truly a privilege to appoint her as President at a college she knows so well,” said Chancellor Baker. “Lawson State students, faculty, and staff will be well-served by Dr. Anthony’s innovative leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others.”

Dr. Anthony earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Talladega College. She received both her Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and her Master of Education degree in Counseling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership through a joint program at UAB and the University of Alabama. She was awarded UAB’s Department of Education’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005.

“It is an honor to continue my service to the Birmingham and Bessemer communities in the role of President at Lawson State and I look forward to working alongside other community leaders to forge a better future for our region,” said Dr. Anthony. “I care deeply about the Lawson State community and I’m eager to continue our successful efforts to prepare students for their best possible future. Go Cougars!”

Dr. Anthony’s tenure as President at Lawson State Community College will begin on April 1, 2021.


About Lawson State Community College
Lawson State Community College provides affordable and accessible quality educational opportunities, promotes economic growth, and enhances the quality of life for the diverse communities it serves. Through varied instructional modes and lifelong learning opportunities, the College prepares students for gainful employment, career advancement, college transfer, and workforce development.

By Prioritizing Higher Education, the Proposed Budget Will Fuel Robust Recovery from the Pandemic. It supports college affordability and focuses on closing equity gaps in Illinois education.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) applauds Illinois’ Governor J.B. Pritzker for proposing a fiscal 2022 budget that would support and advance Illinois higher education institutions that includes the only four-year, Department of Education designated Predominately Black Institution (PBI), Chicago State University.

“This budget also preserves my increased investments in education, which is foundational a strong economy and a vibrant future… Our colleges and universities are facing so many other challenges that we should not ask them to take on more,” said Governor Prizker.

The budget proposal also provides for a needed increase of $28 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) that provides grants for low-income students.

“Governor Pritzker’s budget charts a path for recovery from the global pandemic that recognizes that robust economic growth requires strong public universities,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “Our inaugural Economic Impact Study concluded that CSU generates $1.6 billion in income to Illinois’ economy annually. The higher education funding proposed by Governor Pritzker level will allow CSU to continue to drive equity in education and economic growth in Chicago and statewide.”

Earlier this month, CSU released its inaugural Economic Impact Study, conducted by economists, that demonstrates the institution is a driving force in the Illinois economy by adding $1.6 billion in income to the Illinois economy, supporting 17,525 jobs, and providing a strong return on investment for students and Illinois taxpayers.

“HCF applauds Illinois’ Governor Pritzker for his continuous attentiveness and dedication for higher education institutions statewide, which includes the only four-year PBI Chicago State University. HCF is a strong advocate and supporter of CSU,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President and CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund. “We highly salute President Zaldwaynaka Scott’s outstanding leadership. For years, CSU has strongly devoted and invested in the population of African Americans throughout the Chicagoland and U.S. We are so thankful for its mission of educating first-generation and low-income students who can not obtain a high-quality education elsewhere. Higher education institutions like CSU provide educational access and we thank the Governor for his continued investment in a brighter future for the students.”

Click here to view Governor Pritzker’s 2021 budget proposal.


This photo shows law school students at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Intel has announced a donation of $5 million over the next five years to the historically black university. NCCU’s School of Law will use the donation to create a new tech law and policy center.

As part of Intel’s commitment to build a more equitable world, it will donate $5 million over the next five years to North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a historically black college and university (HBCU), to create a new tech law and policy center. Intel’s executive vice president and general counsel, Steven R. Rodgers, will join the law school’s board of visitors to help direct additional resources and support for the law school. Additionally, Allon Stabinsky, Intel’s senior vice president and chief deputy general counsel, and Rhonda Foxx, Intel’s leader of social equity policies and engagements, will join the center’s advisory board to help shape its certificate program, curriculum development and drive further Intel engagements.

“As a company and industry, we need to do better to ensure legal and policy jobs are available to all communities because talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. At the beginning of this year, we began to hold our legal counsel accountable for the Intel Rule, which states we will not retain or use outside law firms in the U.S. that are average or below average on diversity,” said Steven R. Rodgers, Intel general counsel. “And now, through this partnership we will hold ourselves accountable for extending the talent pipeline. Our investment in NCCU is only the beginning, and we will continue our efforts to provide more equitable access to tech, legal and policy careers.”

“North Carolina Central University’s School of Law has been a leader i equity and diversity within the legal educational community for several decades. Today, we extend our sincere thanks to Intel Corporation for establishing a novel partnership with the university through the creation of NCCU Tech Law and Policy Center. This partnership makes NCCU the only HBCU and only law school in the country with a Tech Law Center that focuses on technology disparities and social justice,” said Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., chancellor of North Carolina Central University. “Over the next five years, Intel Corporation’s gift of $5 million will provide students, as well as faculty and staff in the School of Law with innovative opportunities in the classroom and direct connections with executives at the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturer. Most importantly, this collaboration will assist in solving issues of access and producing diverse legal professionals who are equipped to succeed locally, as well as globally.”

Atty. Browne C. Lewis, dean of the NCCU School of Law, state: “A key component of NCCU School of Law’s mission is to educate students who are committed to social justice and racial equity. The pandemic has shown us that there are disparities that adversely impact low-income persons and people of color when it comes to the availability of technology. Intel Corporation’s generous gift and company’s willingness to partner with one of the six HBCU law schools in the country gives me great hope that we can help close the digital divide.”

How It Helps: Intel will provide legal and strategic expertise, faculty training, summer internships and Intel mentors to both students and faculty members. Students will engage directly with Intel executives who will serve as guest lecturers and provide practical legal experiences, networking and mentorship. Intel’s goal is to prepare the next generation of corporate attorneys by giving them exposure to corporate law on day one of their law school journey. Two first-year law students from NCCU will also participate in a summer associate program with Intel.

Why It’s Important: The new center will give more access to diverse professionals in legal and policy fields. It will address discriminatory laws and public policies that create structural and systemic inequities. According to the American Bar Association, about 5% of lawyers in the U.S. are Black. Additionally, 80% of Black judges and 50% of Black lawyers come from HBCUs, making these schools critical to diversifying legal and policy professions and ensuring greater opportunity to underrepresented demographics.

Historically, HBCUs have trailed other institutions in federal funding and corporate engagement. There are over 100 HBCUs across the nation, and NCCU is one of only six with a law school. Extending tech opportunities to HBCU law schools on the East Coast and in southern states is key to enhancing educational and economic equity. North Carolina is home to most HBCUs, and NCCU, based in Durham, N.C., is close to the Research Triangle Park, making it a prime university for this engagement.

About the Policy and Law Center: Intel will contribute $1 million annually for five years. The first year’s allocation is geared toward helping build a strong foundation for the center. Approximately $400,000 will support the recruitment and hiring of an executive director and key staff, as well as other startup costs for the center. An additional $500,000 will go to support an endowed professorship. Also, Intel will contribute $100,000 toward need-based scholarships to help students experiencing financial hardship.

More Context: Intel made a commitment to not stand on the sidelines in the fight against inequality. The company pledged $1 million to address social justice and racism. To further this commitment, it has created global social equity principles and established the law and policy center as part of its economic equity goals. Intel’s actions also build on the company’s recently announced 2030 goals and Global Impact Challenges that reinforce its commitment to making technology fully inclusive and expand digital readiness. Intel is committed to enabling technology and people to build a more responsible, inclusive and sustainable world. Social equity is core to this work. These values are an essential part of the company’s corporate mission to create world-changing technologies that enrich the lives of every person on Earth. Social equity efforts such as this will help embed these values into critical public policies that will accelerate diversity and inclusion in the industry.


About Intel
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customer’s greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to and

About NCCU
North Carolina Central University, with a strong tradition of teaching, research, and service, prepares students to become global leaders and practitioners who transform communities. Through a nationally recognized law school, highly acclaimed and innovative programs in visual and performing arts, sciences, business, humanities, and education programs, NCCU students are engaged problem solvers. Located in the Research Triangle, the University advances research in the biotechnological, biomedical, informational, computational, behavioral, social, and health sciences. NCCU students enhance the quality of life of citizens and the economic development of North Carolina, the nation, and the world. For more information, visit

NASHVILLE, TN (Feb. 15, 2021) – The Board of Trustees of Fisk University have named Dr. Vann Newkirk Sr. as the 17th President of Fisk University effective immediately. “We have had the pleasure of observing Dr. Newkirk’s outstanding work both as Provost and as interim president, and this was a unanimous decision by the Board,” said Chair Frank L. Sims. Dr. Newkirk has been an essential part of the amazing momentum that Fisk has built over the past five years. The University is poised for an exceptional future and Dr. Newkirk’s experience and insight around new programming and sponsored research will be instrumental as Fisk continues to cement itself as a top 10 HBCU and pursue its goal of becoming a top 50 liberal arts university.

During these challenging time for higher education, Dr. Newkirk has proven a track record of innovation, according to a press release by the University. Dr. Newkirk has launched several highly successful new programs at Fisk including bioinformatics, data science and social justice. These programs have not only contributed to the tremendous growth in enrollment but also the increased academic caliber of Fisk’s incoming student body. In the last two years, Fisk has had three Rhodes Scholar finalists and set numerous records for student outcomes.

Dr. Newkirk’s vision includes increasing enrollment, developing elite programs, expanding corporate partnerships, improving student outcomes, and building national awareness around Fisk’s outstanding results.

“I am deeply honored to serve as President of Fisk University and I am confident the best times are still to come for this remarkable institution,” said Dr. Newkirk.

Coupled with his vision, Dr. Newkirk brings a deep appreciation for the importance of financial stability and maintaining a sustainable enterprise.

“Fisk has finished consecutive years with an operational surplus and is really bucking the trend on a host of fronts in large part due to the leadership of Dr. Newkirk,” said Frank L. Sims.

Dr. Newkirk received his doctorate in history from Howard University and has been a proven leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Dr. Newkirk served as Provost for three years at Elizabeth City State University before joining the Fisk team as Provost in 2018 and serving as Interim President for the past 6 months. Dr. Newkirk has held numerous senior administrative and academic positions throughout his outstanding career. In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Dr. Newkirk is also a published scholar.