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 www.talladega.edu.

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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.

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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, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

About AASCU
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 www.aascu.org.

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.

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

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 www.talladega.edu.

Mass Media Studies Department Chair Dr. Luis Almeida (right) with student.

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College has been named to the PR News 2021 Education A-List Top 35 institutions for advancing careers in public relations and communication.

Mass Media Studies Department Chair Dr. Luis Almeida believes Talladega teaching methods, in which students learn by engaging in real-world projects, helped land the college on the prestigious list. Other HBCUs listed among the top 35 also include Virginia State University.

“Talladega College students work beside professionals and produce high-quality products for companies in our regions and for departments on campus. Our students are engaged in applied media and learning the exact skills that are needed in the marketplace,” said Dr. Almeida, who is an award-winning photographer.

Upcoming fall classes at Talladega College include Innovation and Social Media, Multimedia Storytelling, and Digital Photography. For more information about admission to Talladega College, you may email admissions@talladega.edu or call 256-761-6235.

In addition to being list among the top institutions for public relations and communication, Talladega is listed among the Princeton Review’s “Best Southwestern Colleges.” In its “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” section, the Princeton Review notes that many students are drawn to Talladega because of its “amazing scholarships” and “family-like atmosphere” as well as the fantastic academic programs and “outstanding” and “supportive” professors. Talladega College also earned rankings in three categories of the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best College Guide – National Liberal Arts College, Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) and Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Click here to see PR News 2021 Education A-List.

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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, 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 – Talladega College has named Dr. Kristie L. Kenney as its vice president for institutional advancement. Her tenure at the College begins March 8, 2021, according to a press release by the College.

Dr. Kristie L. Kenny

Dr. Kenney will provide leadership and direction through the planning, organization, coordination, and implementation of the College’s development programs. Her responsibilities will include leading the advancement team in carrying out the institution’s goals and funding priorities as determined by the College’s mission and vision. She will report to the president.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Kenney to our senior leadership team,” said Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, president of Talladega College. “She brings a wealth of experience in fundraising, development, and alumni relations, and has the vision and expertise to elevate our advancement efforts.”

Dr. Kenney previously served as director of alumni giving for Christian City, Inc., in Union City, Georgia, where she increased annual giving, donors retention, and employee giving. Prior to joining Christian City, she served as executive director of JSU (Jackson State University) Development Foundation, Inc., where she managed its $52 million assets operation, $3.5 million annual contributions, $17 million endowment, and $1.2 million operational budget.

Dr. Kenney holds a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, a master of science in Higher Education – College Administration and Leadership from Purdue University Global, and a bachelor of science in Agricultural Business from Tennessee State University. She also earned a certificate in fundraising management from the Center for Philanthropy at Indianan University.

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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 HBCU 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 www.talladega.edu.

Pictured: left to right in this 2013 are former Talladega College Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Harry Coaxum, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Billye Aaron and Henry “Hank” Aaron. The Aarons, who established a $500,000 endowed scholarship at Talladega College, were conferred with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – While Henry “Hank” Aaron will be remembered for his extraordinary baseball skills, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins noted that Aaron’s contributions to higher education were equally legendary.

“Hank Aaron was not only a sports legend, but a devoted philanthropist and an advocate for higher education. His generosity made it possible for thousands of students to enroll in college and graduate. Here at Talladega College, he and his wife, Billye, established a $500,000 endowed scholarship that has had a tremendous impact,” said Dr. Hawkins.

“Hank was a personal friend of mine and he was very receptive when I approached him about helping Talladega College students. I am so grateful for the support that he and Mrs. Aaron have provided our students and for students throughout the nation,” he continued.

Hank and Billye Aaron were both conferred with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Talladega College in 2013, when they presented the college with a $104,000 check.

“I first met Hank when I served as president at Texas College, his wife’s alma mater. I was immediately inspired by their profound generosity and their impact on the lives of students. While the world will definitely remember him for his amazing athletic skills, thousands of college students will remember Hank Aaron for his remarkable generosity.”

“On behalf of the Talladega College family, I extend my sincere condolences to Mrs. Aaron and the entire Aaron family.”

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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, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amisted Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

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.