TALLADEGA, AL – Angela Poole, Ph.D., CPA, has been named vice president for administration and finance at Talladega College in Talladega, AL. Dr. Poole brings over 20 years of professional financial management, leadership training, executive coaching, and consulting experience to the institution.

She will develop long and short-range strategic, financial plans for the College; direct or oversee the institution’s business functions; and provide leadership and administration for the Division of Administration and Finance while directing and overseeing budget administration, financial planning, accounting and investments, purchasing and contracts, administrative support, auxiliary enterprises, information technology, human resources, facilities, and risk management. As a member of Talladega’s senior executive staff, she will participate in institutional planning, policy development and problem resolution.

Dr. Poole is a seasoned executive whose expertise includes implementing plans for fiscal stabilization to manage expenses, grow revenues, and reduce debt. Her professional experiences includes higher education administration, not-for-profit leadership, accounting, consulting, and systems implementation. She has also worked at senior levels with professional consulting firms, medical centers, local municipalities and state agencies.

Prior to joining the College, she served as a managing consultant for AMP Expert Solutions. Prior to AMP Expert Solutions, she served as senior vice president for business affairs/CFO for Bethune-Cookman University.

She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from Florida A&M University (FAMU), a Master of Accountancy degree from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the School of Business and Industry at FAMU.

She has been a licensed Florida Certified Public Accountant since 1999. She is also a certified Business Process Reengineering and Strategic Planning Practitioner and a trained Design Think facilitator. Dr. Poole completed a graduate certificate program in Institutional Effectiveness from the State University System of New York (SUNY).

Her current and past involvement in professional and civic organizations includes: Founding President of The Foundation for Wealth Building, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tallahassee Christian College and Training Center, Lifetime member of the FICPA Scholarship Foundation, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and Lifetime member of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association.

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TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College will hold a naming ceremony for the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center on Friday, August 14, 2020, at 3 p.m. The newly constructed 47,000-square-foot student center/arena will be the first-ever campus facility to be named in honor of one of the institution’s African American presidents.

In 2008, when Dr. Billy C. Hawkins became the 20th president of Talladega College, the institution was struggling to survive. Dr. Hawkins implemented rigorous plans for renovation and growth that transformed the college. As a result of his vision, enrollment doubled from just over 300 students to 601 students in one semester, athletic programs were reinstated for the first time in ten years; and major campus beautification projects were undertaken. The College enjoyed record-high enrollment in both the 2018-2019 academic year and the 2019-2020 academic year. Talladega College now has over 1200 students.

Under the leadership of Dr. Hawkins, Talladega College is listed among Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southwest, U.S. News and World Report’s most innovative colleges and Kiplinger’s Best Value Colleges, Talladega’s 2019 SACSCOC Accreditation was reaffirmed through 2029 with no recommendations for change in any of the standards reviewed and, for the first time, the College is accredited to teach at the master’s degree level.

Talladega recently launched it first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. In addition, the campus is undergoing a major physical transformation.

New construction on campus includes a 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art residence hall, which opened in 2019 and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which opened in 2020. The Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art houses six critically-acclaimed Hale Woodruff murals, including the renowned Amistad Murals. To construct the museum for Woodruff’s murals, which are valued at 50 million dollars, Dr. Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest-ever financial gift, a one million dollar donation from alumnus Dr. William R. Harvey. Dr. Hawkins also secured a 1.5 million dollar contribution from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the State of Alabama.

“Dr. Hawkins took over as president in 2008 when Talladega College was struggling to survive. As a result of his leadership, the College is once again recognized as one of the most well-respected HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) in the nation,” says Isiah Hugley, chairman of the Talladega College Board of Trustees.

Dr. Hawkins serves on the U.S. President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and also serves as chair of the 37 presidents of member institutions for the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). In addition, he was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. He is the first African American to chair the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the author of two books, and a member of the Talladega Rotary Club, the Delta Upsilon Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was ranked first place among the Top Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 by HBCU Campaign Fund. He is also a recipient of numerous other awards, including the Vanguard Award from the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, the Colonel Leo Thorsness Courage Award, the Ferris State Distinguished Alumni Award, the Kent Hall of Fame, the Presidential Service Award from the HBCU Title III Administrators, Inc., the Distinguished Service Award to the Nation’s HBCUs, Alabama’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.’s Graduate Citizen of the Year Award, and the Theta Tau Chapter’s Citizenship Award.

The Kent, Ohio native holds a bachelor’s of science degree in teacher education from Ferris State University, a master’s of arts degree in education administration from Central Michigan University; and a Ph.D. in education from Michigan State University. He has completed post doctorate study at Harvard University.

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About Talladega College


The oldest private historically black college in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour.
Talladega College’s band outside Foster Hall

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College has been awarded two African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund grants from the National Park Service (NPS). The College will receive a $500,000 grant for its Foster Hall Interior Preservation, Restoration, and Rehabilitation Development Project, and a $50,000 grant for Talladega College and the Civil Rights Movement: A Watershed in History.

“This is extremely significant news for the College, for the community and for individuals throughout the nation who value the preservation of history,” said Dr. Bill C. Hawkins, President of Talladega College. “We recently transformed the campus by constructing three new buildings simultaneously. Now, thanks to the National Park Service, we will be able to begin renovating one of our most important historic buildings.”

Talladega’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement Seddrick T. Hill, Sr. added, “The $500,000 grant will help us restore Foster Hall, which was the heart and soul of the College for over one hundred years. The $50,000 grant will enable us to conduct research, document history and create educational materials that details Talladega College’s extensive role in the civil rights movement.”

Foster Hall was the first facility built specifically for Talladega College after the institution was established in 1867. Construction began in 1869 and was completed the following year. It was named in honor of Rev. Lemuel Foster,, a staunch abolitionist from Blue Island, Illinois, who donated most of the funds needed to construct the building. Foster Hall served as a residence hall for female students and faculty and included dining facilities for the entire school. it was the site for numerous civil rights planning meetings. The building closed in 1980 after a fire ravaged the interior. It has remained closed for four decades.

“Alumni still talk about their memories of Foster Hall. They reminisce about how beautiful the interior was, about what the building meant to them, and about its role in the civil rights struggle,” said Hill.

Funds from NPS for Talladega College and the Civil Rights Movement: A Watershed in History will aid Talladega in documenting stories about the College’s civil rights activities, including Talladega College’s 1961 march on Anniston, Alabama. The march was organized after Dr. Arthur L. Bacon, a Talladega College senior at the time, was assaulted at the Southern Railway Station in Anniston.

The National Park Service (NPS) is awarding $14 million in African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund grants to fund 51 projects across 20 states and the District of Columbia.

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrent. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, 20th President of Talladega College

TALLADEGA, AL – The Talladega College Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, to name the newly constructed 47,000-square-foot student center/arena in honor of the College’s 20th President, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.

“Dr. Hawkins took over as president in 2008 when Talladega College was struggling to survive. As a result of his leadership, the College is once again recognized as one of the most well-respected HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the nation,” says Isaiah Hugley, Talladega College Board of Trustee Chairman.

HBCU presidents are called upon to enhance the quality of HBCU student population, academic programs, faculty, physical facilities and financial base. Chairman Hugley states that Dr. Hawkins has not only delivered in each of the areas noted, but he also boosted the College’s ranking, enrollment and visibility, nationally and globally.

“Dr. Hawkins has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk,” said Chairman Hugley. “Dr. Hawkins recently signed a $1.8 million dollar commitment to Talladega College alleviating a future long-term contractual obligation fore the Institution, established a $50,000 endowed scholarship and up to $100,000 in other financial commitments. Given this financial commitment along with the remarkable impact his leadership has had on the College, the Talladega College Board of Trustees agreed that the new student center should be named in his honor.”

The foundation for Talladega College’s most transformative era was laid in 2018, at the beginning of Dr. Billy C. Hawkin’s 12-year tenure. The moment he arrived on campus, Dr. Hawkins began working diligently to stabilize finances; increase fundraising; expand academic offerings; and guide the institution through the 2009 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Accreditation. His rigorous plans for renovation and growth included assessing the Institution’s assets. he had Hale Woodruff’s murals, now valued at $50 million, appraised, restored, sent on tour, and in January 2020, returned to campus to hang in the newly constructed Dr. Williams R. Harvey Museum of Art.

As a result of Dr. Hawkin’s vision, enrollment doubled from approximately 300 students to 601 students in one semester; athletic programs were reinstated for the first time in ten years; and major campus beautification projects were undertaken. In 2018, the College continued soaring to unprecedented heights. The simultaneous construction of three new facilities commenced, the College’s ranking rose rapidly, and Talladega’s first-ever graduate program was launched. Specifically, enrollment rose from 782 students during the 2017-2018 academic year to a record-high 1217 students during the 2018-2019 academic year, and an all-time high of 1230 students during the 2019-2020 academic year. Also, in January 2019, a new residence hall opened and, on January 31, 2020, ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held for the other newly erected buildings – the Dr. Williams R. Harvey Museum of Art and the new student center/area.

Dr. Hawkins was named amongst ‘The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020‘ by the HBCU Campaign Fund. He serves on the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and also serves as chair of the 37 presidents of member institutions for the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). His national leadership positions have allowed him tom lobby effectively on behalf of Talladega College and other HBCUs. He is equally effective at building relationships on the local and regional levels, having secured a $1.5 million donation from the State of Alabama for the new museum project, and infrastructure support from the City of Talladega for campus roads and entryway improvements. In 2019, Dr. Hawkins secured a sponsorship that allowed 23 Talladega College students to travel to Japen at no expense to the Institution.

Under the leadership of Dr. Hawkins, Talladega College is listed among Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southeast, U.S. News and World Report’s most innovative colleges, and Kiplinger’s Best Value Colleges. Further, due to his leadership, Talladega’s 2019 SACSCOC Accreditation was reaffirmed through 2029 with no recommendations for change in any of the standards reviewed and, for the first time, the College is accredited to teach at the master’s degree level.

It is because of his aforementioned extraordinary performance, $1.8 million dollar financed commitment, and national recognition for academic leadership excellence that the Talladega College Board of Trustees voted to name the new student center/arena “The Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center” in honor of the College’s 20th President, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.

“We congratulate, commend and thank Dr. Billy C. Hawkins for his service to our beloved institution,” said Chairman Hugley.

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the reowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three-year, eight-city tour.

Dr. Lisa Long, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Lisa Long was elected to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees the association’s annual meeting in Houston, TX in December 2019. Dr. Long will serve as a member of the Alabama Delegation of the Board of Trustees. She was nominated to this position by Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.

SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.

In 2019, Talladega’s SACSCOC accreditation was reaffirmed for the next 10 years, and for the first time in the history of the College, Talladega was accredited to teach at the master’s degree level. The College offers a 100% online master of science in computer information systems. In January 2020, the College also launched Weekend College. Weekend College is one several Talladega College initiatives to make courses more convenient for students whose work obligations may prevent them from attending classes during the week.

Talladega also offers a 100% online FaskTrack program, which allows adult students to earn a bachelor’s degree in business/organizational management, business management, criminal justice, psychology or computer information systems in as little as 18 months.

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

TALLADEGA, AL – Twenty-three Talladega College students have been selected to participate in an all-expense paid trip to Japan via the Kakehashi Project Study Tour. To help the students prepare for the trip, a series of informative training sessions were scheduled.

They recently met with the Honorary Consul General of Japan, Mr. Mark Jackson, who informed the students that there are over 170 Japanese owned or affiliated firms in the state of Alabama. He discussed Japanese culture, food, geography, money and tradition.

The students learned small but significant details about conducting business in Japan. During the training sessions, they practiced Japanese customs such as bowing and learned the Japanese way of extending and receiving business cards. They also discussed job opportunities in Japan.

The tour, which will take place December 14 through 22, is paid for by the Government of Japan. It is designed to help participants gain an understanding of Japan’s economy, history, culture, politics and diplomatic relations.

Students selected for the trip include De’Jha Billingsley, Kalyn Black, William Burks IV, Kirstin Crook, Ivree Datcher, Jamal Hairston, Hannah Knapp, Christopher Mascia, Arthur McElrath, Kamari McHenry, Shakayah Midgette, Amani Myers, Summer Payne, Tamera Prince, Jazsmin Mason Ramsey, Nyresha Robertson, Alexis Scott, Gantonio Stubbs, Phillip Thompson,  Garrett Vick, Bre’Ania Weldon, Kendra Williams, and James Yeager. 

They will be accompanied by Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins and First Lady Lucy Weber Hawkins, Provost Lisa Long, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Seddrick T. Hall Sr and Vice President of Student Affairs Jeffery T. Burgin Jr.

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant.  Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

TALLADEGA, ALU.S. News and World Report listed Talladega College among the nation’s “most innovative schools” for 2020. In addition, the Princeton Review has named Talladega College one of the best colleges in the Southeast, a distinction the College has earned for two consecutive years.

Although Talladega has been known for academic excellence for over 150 years, recent rankings have confirmed it is also a great choice for financial reasons. Talladega was named a 2019 Best Value College by Kiplinger, a national publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice. Kiplinger ranked Talladega second in the entire nation among the “10 Best Colleges Values with the Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2019.”

In addition to favorable rankings, Talladega is also undergoing campus-wide renovation. A new state-of-the-art residence hall opened in January 2018. The Dr. Williams R. Harvey Museum of Art, which will house the critically-acclaimed Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals and other works of art, is scheduled to open in January 2020. In addition, Talladega’s first-ever student center is under construction.

The College recently launched an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. The 100% online, fully-accredited program has a curriculum that aligns with industry standards and can be completed in as little as 18 months.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from The New York Time during a three-year, eight-city tour. For more information about Talladega College, visit www.talladega.edu.

Dr. Monique L. Akassi named Assistant to the President and Tenured Professor of English.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College is pleased to announce that Dr. Monique L. Akassi has joined the College as assistant to the president and a tenured professor of English. Dr. Akassi is an award-winning, transformative servant leader and manager in higher education with over a decade of experience in academic and student affairs.

She is an accomplished researcher, administrator, and author who previously served as associate provost for faculty at Edward Waters College. During her tenure at Edward Waters, there was a substantive increase in student and faculty publications, development workshops, research presentations and grant proposal submissions. Two inaugural in-house, peer-reviewed journals for students and faculty were produced; a grant of $100,000 for the institutions forthcoming Honors College was secured; the inaugural HBCU Undergraduate Research Conference was presented; and the inaugural Student and Faculty Research Lecture Series featuring cutting-edge student, faculty and staff research was launched.

Dr. Akassi’s vast array of talents and areas of expertise include curriculum design, editing, digital literacy and assessment. She is the author and editor of over 22 publications, including the groundbreaking book W.E.B. Du Bois and the Africana Rhetoric Dealienation (Cambridge Scholars, 2018), which is the first book of scholarship in collaboration with a W.E.B. Du Bois’ family member (his great-grandson, Arthur McFarlane II).

She earned her Ph.D. In English Composition and Rhetoric with minors in Literary Criticism Theory and African American Literature from Morgan State University; an M.A. in English Composition and Rhetoric from Wright State University, and a B.A. in English & Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati. She has post doctorate certificates in Management Development and Women in Education Leadership from Harvard University.

Dr. Akassi is the founding president of the Jacksonville, Florida Chapter Interest Group for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and is the founder and president of African Critical Composition and Rhetoric Association (ACCRA).

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladege.edu.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College was named a 2019 Best Value College by Kiplinger, a national publisher of business forecast and personal finance advice. Kiplinger ranked Talladega second among the nation’s “10 Best College Values with the Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2019.”

“I was very pleased but not surprised that Talladega College was listed among Kiplinger’s 2019 best college values. However, I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled that Talladega earned second place in the entire nation for colleges with low average graduating debt,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President.

On its website, Kiplinger’s notes, “Part of this ranking stems from the initial price tag: Talladega’s sticker price before aid is among the 10 lowest for all of our schools. Beyond the sticker price, Talladega’s average need-based aid package is $13,752, which knocks off more than half the cost. About three-fourths of students borrow, with the school able to meet 67% of need.”

The college is also listed among the Princeton Review’s 2018-2019 best colleges in the Southeast and named one of U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 best regional colleges and best HBCUs. Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.

The College’s first-ever student center is scheduled to open in November 2019. The 47,000 square-foot facility will include a 2,000-seat gymnasium, dinning hall, full kitchen, concession stands, coffee lounge, convenience store, fitness area, and multipurpose rooms. There will also be a health care clinic and a large convocation center with breakout rooms.

The College is also constructing the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art. The museum, which will house Hall Woodruff’s critically-acclaimed Amistad Murals and other works of art, is scheduled to open this fall.

High rankings and robust construction across the campus have helped to increase the visibility of the College, which enjoyed a record-breaking enrollment increase for the 2018-2019 academic year.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrent. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three-year, eight-city tour. For more information, www.talladega.edu.

Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin, Jr. appointed Vice President for Student Affairs at Talladega College.

TALLADEGA, AL. – Talladega College is pleased to announce that Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin, Jr., has joined the College as Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Burgin, who will serve as a member of the institution’s leadership team, will provide direction for the development and administration of a wide range of academic support programs. He will supervise student affairs professionals in residence life, student activities, and counseling and career planning and placement; serve as a liaison with student organization; and facilitate programs aimed toward the enrichment of residential and student life.

Dr. Burgin formerly served as vice provost for student engagement at Kentucky State University, where he partnered with campus stakeholders to create a seamless student experience from application to graduation and career. His responsibilities included overseeing staff in eight key areas, including Residential Life, Campus Police and Leadership Development & Assessment. Prior to joining Kentucky State University, he served as associate provost and dean of students at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio; a Master of Education from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is an active member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and he has served as a Member at Large of the University of Cincinnati Board of Governors. He is affiliated with the American Council of Education (ACE), the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP), the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American College Personal Association (ACPA).

Dr. Burgin has been award the American College Personnel Association Standing Committee on Multiculturalism’s Outstanding Contribution to Multicultural Education Award and the University of Cincinnati’s Mosaic Award for Contributions to diversity.

About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant. Talladega College is home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour.