Another Crown for Miss Talladega College, Miss NBCA Hall of Fame 2020-2021.

Patria Gatson, Miss Talladega College and Miss National College Alumni Hall of Fame 2020-2021.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Patria Gatson recently won the title Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame 2020-2021. Although her royal duties have doubled now that she has two crowns, Patria juggles her responsibilities with grace and ease.

The dynamic biology pre-med major, who is a member of Talladega College’s prestigious Presidential Honor Society and numerous campus clubs, has held a plethora of leadership positions on and off campus. Miss Junior and Miss Presidential Honor Society are but two of the titles she has previously held. Patria was also a member of the team that won first place in the Alabama Business Pitch Competition hosted by the Alabama Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.

Although Patria began honing her leadership skills prior to college, and was even named prom queen in high school, she credits Talladega College for helping her understand exactly how much she is capable of achieving.

“Talladega College gave me the reassurance that I am capable of accomplishing whatever I want to accomplish. I feel that I can reach my goals and fulfill my dreams because my HBCU told me that I can,” said Patria. “I always take a heavy course load, and I understand the importance of balancing my studies, homework, and meetings. I take at least 18 credit every semester and I am involved in many clubs and organizations.”

Prior to becoming Miss Talladega College, Patria was not very social media savvy. Winning her crown in the midst of a deadly pandemic forced her to quickly learn how to communicate with, inspire and uplift Talladega’s student body via social media and virtual events.

“Through my platform, Aspire to Inspire, I’ve tried to inspire and encourage people to be hopeful and aim high despite the current situation. Inspiration is important because before you can do something, you have to believe you can do it,” said Patria. “I’ve had to work hard to reach people on social media, but the effort is paying off. Sometimes people I don’t even know thank me for inspiring them. It’s very fulfilling to know that I’m making a difference.”

The skills Patria learned as Miss Talladega College have helped prepare her for her role as Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. Since gaining the national title, she has been featured on television and radio and sought after for interviews. She talks passionately about mental health, creativity, and success.

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins stated, “Patria has always shown outstanding leadership skills on and off campus. I am impressed by her ability to inspire students at Talladega and throughout the national during this unprecedented season. She and her advisor, Mr. Anthony Jones, have managed to produce virtual versions of practically every Miss Talladega activity that couldn’t be held in-person due to the pandemic. Through social media, radio and TV, Patria continues to demonstrate excellence and creativity in everything she does.”

“COVID-19 forced colleges to find creative ways to maintain their cherished traditions. Our Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Coronation was held outdoors, and Patria arrived in a horse-drawn carriage wearing a face shield,” he added. “Many people through the outdoor event was among our most beautiful coronations ever and said the horse-drawn carriage added an extra-special touch. Some suggested that we hold future coronation ceremonies outside. In the midst of the pandemic, measures initially taken as health and safety precautions may actually inspire many colleges to form new traditions.”

Patria feels that being an HBCU queen during the pandemic has forced her to think outside the box. Instead of using the pandemic as an excuse to do less, she has opted to make the most of her reign by instilling hope in students and anyone else who hears her uplifting messages. Standing on the shoulders of the many trailblazing queens who came before her, she is motivating thousands to reach their full potential.

Mr. Jones, who has served as the Miss Talladega College advisor for over 20 years, said, “Patria is a sheer inspiration to work with. She rises to every occasion and never ceases to shine. As a queen, she is always ready to represent and she represents so well.”

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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 the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins (left) is presented a plaque in recognition of being named No. 1 among the 10 Most Dominant HBCU Leaders for 2020 by the HBCU Campaign Fund. Demetrius Johnson Jr., Fund president and CEO, made the presentation.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – When the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) named Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins No. 1 among the 10 Most Dominant HBCU Leaders for 2020, the Fund’s president and CEO, Demetrius Johnson Jr., planned to hand deliver a commemorative plaque to the honoree.

Due to the pandemic, Johnson postponed his trip to Talladega College for nearly 10 months.

Fortunately, he was recently able to present the prestigious award to Hawkins and tour the college campus. Johnson said the positive changes on campus were among the reasons Hawkins was named the No. 1 Most Dominant HBCU Leader for 2020.

“The top 10 leaders were chosen for their influence and their continuous progress moving their institutions forward,” said Johnson. “Dr. Hawkins was named first on our list become of the way in which he has transformed Talladega College.

“Under his leadership, the college has achieved record-high enrollment for three consecutive years, constructed three new buildings and launched its first-ever graduate program — a Master of Science in computer information systems,” Johnson continued.

Johnson also praised Hawkins for his leadership he has provided for other HBCUs.

Hawkins serves as chair of the 37 presidents of member institutions for the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) board of directors and also serves as UNCF chair of the executive committee of member institutions, vice chair of the corporate board and vice chair of the corporate board executive committee.

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About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alwww.hbcucampaignfund.orgabama’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 Tarrent, and is the home of the renowned Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

About HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2012 and is a nonprofit educational organization that remain as a strong advocate for students and higher education. HCF mission is to support the significance and raise funds for scholarships, programs, and private and public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

Alabama Power’s Eastern Division Vice President, Mr. Terry Smiley, met with Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins to announce a $150,000 grant from Alabama Power and its parent, Southern Company, to support technology and infrastructure needs at Talladega College.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – Talladega College is receiving a $150,000 grant from Alabama Power and its parent, Southern Company, to support technology and infrastructure needs. The gift is part of Southern Company and its subsidiaries’ $50 million HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Initiative, a multiyear funding strategy announced in January 2020 that provides HBCU students with scholarships, internships, leadership development and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness.

The funds awarded to Talladega College will be used to improve technology bandwidth throughout campus, provide technology resources for faculty and staff, and build capacity to support infrastructure expansion.

“We are so grateful to receive this generous grant from Alabama Power and Southern Company,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President. “With record-breaking enrollment increases and three new building on campus, our technology needs have increased significantly. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has altered the way we serve our students and created new challenges. This grant will help us continue to provide an outstanding academic experience for students by expanding our technology capabilities.”

Alabama Power and Southern Company are honored to be a part of a growing group of corporate and philanthropic partners that have increased support for HBCUs in the wake of COVID-19 and mounting calls for racial justice. Both businesses believe deeply in the importance of HBCUs in higher education and in their impact on economic development, innovation and American Life.

“Our hope is that this funding will draw further recognition to schools like Talladega College and deepen partnerships between business and civic leaders and these vital institutions,” said Terry Smiley, Alabama Power’s Eastern Division Vice President. “HBCUs are at the forefront of innovation and academic excellence in Alabama, and across the country, and we hope that our company’s investment will only accelerate this important work.”

Alabama Power and Southern Company are committed to the success of HBCUs and fostering greater diversity and inclusion cross the communities they serve.

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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 is 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 www.talladega.edu.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – The recent Coronation of Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Patria Gatson was unlike any of the college’s previous coronations.

“COVID-19 has forced colleges to find creative ways to maintain their cherished traditions. Our Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Coronations was held outdoors, and our queen arrived in a horse-drawn carriage wearing a face shield,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President. “Many people thought the outdoor event was among our most beautiful coronations ever and said the horse-drawn carriage added an extra-special touch. Some suggested that we hold future coronations ceremonies outside. In the midst of the pandemic, measure initially taken as health and safety precautions may actually inspire many colleges to form new traditions.”

Mr. Anthony Jones, who served as the Miss Talladega College advisor for over 20 years, added, “In our many decades of holding the Miss Talladega College coronation, the event was never outdoors and our queen has never arrived on a horse-drawn carriage.”

While the weather in the small Alabama town was pleasant enough for the November gathering, taking a traditionally indoor event outside presented a variety of unexpected challenges. Had he not set up early, Jones believe the event might have been a disaster.

“The wind kept blowing up the backdrop. We had to pin it down and find bricks to hold it in place. We also had to carefully select and secure the greenery to make sure nothing blew away,” said Jones.

The greatest challenge for Jones was figuring out how to make the event, which traditionally runs 1 1/2 hours and attracts throngs of students and alumni, into an elegant 30-minute affair with socially distanced chairs and relatively few attendees. Dr. Hawkins applauded Mr. Jones’s for accomplishing this mission and making the event special for Miss Talladega and her Royal Court.

“Miss Talladega College, Patria Gatson, is an exceptional scholar and an outstanding campus leader. She and members of her royal court deserved their special day. While I made the difficult decision to cancel Homecoming and many other significant events due to the pandemic, I am pleased that Mr. Jones used his creativity to help us safely maintain – and enhance – our coronation tradition.”

Patria was crowned by Dr. Hawkins, Miss Talladega College 2019-2020 De’Jha Billingsley and Mr. Talladega College 2019-2020 Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Ndiaye. Members of the the Royal Court included Miss Senior Jordan Dubose, Gentleman in Waiting Robert Walker, Miss Junior Ayala Seaborn, Mr. Junior Kobe Dickerson, Miss Sophmore Chaniaya McKenzie, Mr. Sophomore Trayon Miller, Miss Freshman Christian Mckinney, and Mr. Freshman Ulises Rivera Jr. Miss Talladega College 1994-1995 Terri A. Harvill delivered the invocation, and Talladega College Show Stopping Crimssonettes dancers Yvonne Hamilton and Ranisha Morris performed.

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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 Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rare reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Patria Gatson holding up one of the t-shirts that students, faculty, and staff received at the 3rd Annual President’s Picnic.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – Talladega College held its 3rd Annual President’s Picnic which included great food and free t-shirts celebrating Talladega’s record-setting enrollment. The spacious new plaza outside the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center gave Talladegans plenty of room to celebrate while social distancing.

Enrollment at Talladega has risen to an all-time high of 1,313 students, making the 2020-2021 academic year the institution’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. Talladega’s previous record was set last year, when the college enrolled 1,230 students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Talladga also enjoyed a record-high enrollment increase in the 2018-2019 academic year, when the student population increased to 1,216.

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, who helped cook the food for the celebration, said, “There are several factors driving admissions at Talladega College. We have outstanding academic programs, beautiful new facilities, positive rankings, conference-winning athletic teams, and a phenomenal band and choir. We also have a dynamic admissions team that works closely with prospective students to show them the value of coming to Talladega.”

Talladega College is ranked in three categories in the prestigious U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Colleges Guide – National Liberal Arts Colleges, Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) and Top Performers on Social Mobility. The Princeton Review named Talladega College among the “Best Southeastern Colleges” in its “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” section. Talladega has also been listed among Kiplinger’s best value colleges.

Talladega College’s new state-of-the-art residence hall opened in January 2019. The Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the critically-acclaimed Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals and other great works of art, opened in January 2020. In addition, the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center opened in August 2020.

The College recently graduated the first cohort to complete its online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, Talladega’s first graduate program.

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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 rare reviews from The New York Times during a three-year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Talladega College’s President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College has set a record for the largest enrollment in its 153-year history. Enrollment has risen to an all-time high of 1,307 students, making the 2020-2021 academic year Talladega’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. The number represents a six percent overall increase and a 27% increase in new students. The previous record was set last year, when the college enrolled 1, 230 students from the 2019-2020 academic year. Talladega also enjoyed a record-high enrollment increase in the 2018-2019 academic year, when the student population increased to 1,216.

“There are several factors driving admission at Talladega College. We have outstanding academic programs, beautiful new facilities, positive rankings, conference-winning athletic teams, and a phenomenal band and choir. We also have a dynamic admissions team that works closely with prospective teams to show them the value of coming to Talladega,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College President.

Talladega College is ranked in three categories in the prestigious U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Colleges Guide – National Liberal Arts Colleges, Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) and Top Performers on Social Mobility. The Princeton Review named Talladega College among the “Best Southeastern Colleges” in its “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” section. Talladega has also been listed among Kiplinger’s best value colleges.

Talladega College’s new state-of-the-art residence hall opened in January 2019. The Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the critically-acclaimed Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals and other great works of art, opened in January 2020. In addition, the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center opened in August 2020.

The College recently graduate the first cohort to complete its online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, the institution’s first graduate program.

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 to 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.

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.