PHILADELPHIA, PAThe Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will be hosting their inaugural MSI Aspiring Leaders from Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017.

CMSI has announced this year’s cohort of MSI Aspiring Leaders, which includes 7 students from HBCU’s.

Here is the list of this year’s cohort of MSI Aspiring Leaders:

  • Angela Alvarado Coleman, Florida A & M University (*)
  • Tierney Bates, North Carolina Central University  (*)
  • Nicholas Courtney, George Washington University
  • Regina Dixon-Reeves, University of Chicago
  • Levon Esters, Purdue University
  • Jonathan Gayles, Georgia State University
  • Jessica Harris, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Donna Hay-Jones, Maplewood H68
  • Davida Haywood, Alabama State University (*)
  • Charlisa Holloway Edelin, Wesley College
  • Sherlynn Hall, Arkansas Baptist College (*)
  • Christopher Jenkins, Oberlin Observatory
  • Saul Jimenez Sandoval, California State University, Fresno
  • Stephanie Krah, Central State University (*)
  • Martin Lemelle, Grambling State University (*)
  • Thomson Ling, Caldwell University
  • James Overton, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Michael McFrazier, Prairie View A&M University (*)
  • Heather Shipley, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Nicole Stokes DuPass, Holy Family University
  • Elaine Wong, University of California, Riverside

The MSI Aspiring Leaders is a three-day forum and mentoring program developed by the CMSI that will create a space for prominent Minority Serving Institutions’ (MSI) leaders to engage with mid-career aspiring leaders from the education, non-profit, and business sectors in an effort to prepare the next generations of MSI presidents.

Supported by $765,000 in grants from the ECMC Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Penn Executive Doctorate program, MSI Aspiring Leaders includes both a leadership forum and a mentorship program. The Forum will include discussions and workshops on topics such as the presidential nomination process, managing relationships with faculty, using data to make decisions, fiscal management, strategic fundraising, assessing student learning, and navigating the media.

Following the forum, mentors, and their mentees will participate in a one-on-one relationship over two years, CMSI will facilitate these relationships and provide benchmarks to be completed at various points throughout the two years, with the hope that these relationships may be part of a future longitudinal study to measure the influence of such mentorship on mentees’ aspiring leaders’ career trajectories. The structure of the MSI Aspiring Leaders program aims to cultivate future MSI presidents by strengthening pathways to leadership and building connections between peers with similar aspirations and abilities.

“This forum will celebrate the diversity of experiences from those in the nonprofit and education sectors and will cultivate collaborations that will build the next generation of MSI college presidents.” said Marybeth Gasman, Director of CMSI.

In an effort to encourage attendance and minimize financial burden, MSI Aspiring Leaders is free of program fees to all invited participants. In addition, all meals and materials will be provided by CMSI. Participants will also receive travel stipends to offset the cost of their personal travel and lodging.

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. For further information about CMSI, please visit

Six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the Delta region have been selected to advance entrepreneurship among their students and grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through the inaugural HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative, the Delta Regional Authority announced on Monday (July 18).

According to the Delta Regional Authority, the initiative will help these institutions expand programming opportunities and support services for their student populations engaging HBCU leaders, community leaders, and student entrepreneurs in a series of activities that support the growth of monotony-owned businesses on college campuses in the Delta Region.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the strongest economic opportunities for young people in our region, and this initiative is our way of helping our region’s HBCUs invest in the entrepreneurial growth of their students and thus the Delta communities around them,” said Chria Masingill, federal co-chairman of the DRA.

The following HBCU institutions haven been selected to participate through a competition application process:

  • Grambling State Universiy (Grambling, LA)
  • Mississippi Valley State Univetsity (Itta Bena, MS)
  • Philander Smith College (Little Rock, AR)
  • Rust College (Holy Springs, MS)
  • Southern University (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Pine Bluff, AR)

The selected schools will receive up to $24,000 in support to host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop to teach aspiring and advanced student entrepreneurs about the skills and resources needed to launch and scale their businesses.

Upon completion of the two-day session, student entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas for a chance to be selected to represent their schools and the region at Founders Weekend on the AEI campus in Lithonia, Georgia. Winning entrepreneurs on each campus will receive pitch practice, mentorship with successful minority entrepreneurs, business model development, and other technical assistance leading up to the Founders Weekend activities.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership creased by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Learn more at