PETERSBURG, VA – Virginia State University (VSU) has announced a new venture focused on increasing African American political leadership across the Commonwealth of Virginia. During a press conference on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, the University announced the creation of the John Mercer Langston Institute for African American Political Leadership (JMLI).

The JMLI at Virginia State University is devoted to developing, empowering, and cultivating African American leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative training, policy collection and assistance, programming, research, and networking according to the University.

According to Dr. Wes Bellamy, Chair of the VSU Department of Political Science, “This Institute will help develop a pipeline of Black political leadership across the state and ensure that the voices of those who are often unheard will be represented. We hear loud and clear the need for change, for new voices, a thirst for understanding political structures, and people eager to make a difference. The JMLI Institute is here to do just that.”

VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah says, “As we look at the current political climate, it is imperative that clear avenues for Black political development are available. VSU has consistently worked to ensure that our students are prepared and equipped to viable assets to society in the Commonwealth and beyond. The JMLI will serve as an additional voice and pathway to make that happen.”

The JMLI will also host a formal institute to develop Black political leadership in February 2021. Registration for the institute will be available in December 2020.

John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician. He was the first president of Virginia State University and the first dean of the law school at Howard University.

For more information about the JMLI, click here.

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About Virginia State University
Virginia State University, a public, comprehensive 1890 Land Grant institution and historically black college/university, is committed to the preparation of a diverse population of men and women through the advancement of academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. The University endeavors to meet the educational needs of students, graduating lifelong learners who are well equipped to serve their communities as informed citizens, globally competitive leaders, and highly effective, ethical professionals. For more information, visit www.vsu.edu.

PETERSBURG, VA – Tyler Perry has announced the third leg of his Tyler Perry’s ‘Madea Farewell Play Tour’ with Tamela Mann, David Mann and Cassi Davis Patton with a stop for the first time at the Virginia State University (VSU) Multipurpose Center on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now to the general public. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com and the Tri-City Design Box Office at VSU Multipurpose Center.

Perry announced last year he was saying goodbye to the popular character to focus on other projects.

For more information, visit http://www.vsumpc.com/.

Individuals that define a visionary president are those who are cited for being committed to diversity, engagement with local communities, and committed to equality in opportunity. Mentioned are a few of those visionary leaders who are demonstrating a vision for the future of HBCUs.

Swiftly approaching her full first year as a Historically Black University president, Jerald Jones Woolfolk, 20th President of Lincoln University of Missouri, is at the forefront of continuing the mission of leading LU as a 21st Century HBCU.

Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk, Ph.D., 20th President of Lincoln University – Missouri. Photo Credit: Jefferson City Magazine.

With a work experience of 34 years, and 15 of those years serving in senior level administration positions, President Woolfolk has served at several HBCUs prior too Lincoln. Her presidency will mark one year as of June 1, 2019. The Jackson State University alumna is passionate about the logistics of graduating students within four years of their colligate studies

Featured in the Jefferson City Magazine, Woolfolk stated; “I know the value of an education and how it changes lives and patterns of living. As a native of the Mississippi Delta, one of the most impoverished areas of the country, education was my path to a better life. My parents instilled in my siblings and me from a very early age that we were going to college, and we did.”

Woolfolk’s goal is to strengthen the relationship between Jefferson City and Lincoln University. She wants the community to know that Lincoln University is a partner in the future growth and development of Jefferson City. She currently serves on the Board of Director for United Way of Central Missouri.

Sworn in as the tenth president of Morris College on April 12, 2019, Dr. Leroy Staggers is also a first-time college president. For sixteen years, he served as Academic Dean and Professor of English.

The Voorhees College alumnus has served as the academic dean at Morris College for 16 years. Staggers hopes to work diligently to keep students front and center, in all his decision made. He also plans to build onto the great achievement of past president Dr. Luns C. Richardson, who served the college for 43 years. He died in 2018 at the age of 89.

Before joining the Morris College family in August of 1993, Staggers served as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of English and Director of Faculty Development at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina. He has also worked as his alma mater as Chairman of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English. Also, Staggers served as Instructor of English and Reading at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.

Dr. Leroy Staggers pictured with students of Morris College.

Credited for her leadership with leading the institution to an increase in enrollment, improvements with tuition cost, and grant growth. Dr. Karrie G. Dixon took the helm as interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) on April 9, 2018.

Dixon, who co-chaired ECSU’s Working Group Phase 2: A New Direction, since October 2017, was appointed by University of North Carolina System Past President, Margaret Spellings. Prior to joining the UNC System, Dixon served a total of 10 years combined at two other UNC campuses. She was an assistance vice provost at North Carolina State University and remains and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the College of Education’s Department of Leadership, Policy, Adult and Higher Education. Dixon received her bachelor’s from NC State University.

Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.

Rebounding the institution from low enrollment and financial difficulties, after a year Dixon was named by UNC Board of Governors as Chancellor. On Friday, September 6, she will become the 7th chancellor installed and the second woman to hold the position.

ECSU is one of three UNC campuses that is a part of providing $500 tuition per semester in encouraging North Carolina high school graduates to further their education at their institution.

Named as ‘HBCU Male President of the Year’ on numerous occasions, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah exemplifies visionary onward. Serving as the 14th President of Virginia State University since February 1, 2016, Abdullah has proven VSU to its best values and continued growth for long-term success.

Under Abdullah’s leadership, the University had a 30 percent increase in fall 2016 enrollment. In 2017, the University’s first-time Freshmen increased nearly 50 percent than the number in 2015. Previously served as provost and senior vice president at Bethune-Cookman University, he has also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida Memorial University, and dean and director of 1890 land grant programs at FAMU.

An HBCU graduate himself, Abdullah received his undergraduate degree from Howard University in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He also is recognized as the youngest African American to earn a Ph.D. in engineering.

Quoted by him; “I believe in God. I believe in family. I believe in the transformative nature of education. I believe in Virginia State University.”

Dr. Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Fayetteville State University (FSU), Texas Southern University (TSU) and Virginia State University (VSU) have been chosen to participate in a pilot high school-to-college scholars program in a joint initiative of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Strada Education Network, the two organizations have announced.

“Seeing our program expand into HBCUs through this investment from Strada to TMCF will no doubt create a multiplier effect where these scholars transform into business leaders making a significant impact in our communities,” said Fleischer.

According to an press release from TMCF, Strada is providing a three-year, $1.8-million grant to creat the TMCF Fleischer HBCU [historically Black colleges and universities] Scholars Program, which is modeled after the Fleischer Scholars Program established in 2009 by entrepreneur Morton Fleischer, to help academically promising students from economically fragile backgrounds. Dr. Harry L. Williams, the TMCF President and CEO, hailed the new program as “a true capacity-building opportunity for our member schools” that will “provide the pilot schools with tools and technology to bolster recruitment efforts and hopefully achieve the same level of success as the original Fleischer program.”

The program will begin next summer and bring 50 rising high school seniors to a “boot camp” at each of the university sites, involving potentially 450 students total by the end of the pilot, said Williams. The hope is that the program will succeed, and with help from funders, expand to include all 47 schools that are part of TMCF, Williams said.

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO at Thurgood Marshall College Fund

“We see this groundbreaking program as a true capacity-building opportunity for our member schools,” he said.

The new initiative dovetails with Strada’s mission to support and scale student success programs that help prepare students to pursue successful career paths, said the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Bill Hansen. He predicted that the scholars program will “build on the impressive success of the Fleischer program and replicate it to benefit thousands more high school students in their transition to attend our country’s leading HBCUs.”

Dr. Austin Lane, president of Texas Southern University, called his school’s participation in the pilot program an honor. “It gives TSU a unique opportunity to serve first-generation, underrepresented students in our area,” said Lane. “We will showcase what college is all about and introduce them to the finest examples of entrepreneurship and business in the Houston area. We will partner with the Houston Independent School District and other feeder institutions to identify the most promising young scholars to participate.”

“Most important,” he added, “this program allows TSU to help create future leaders while, at the same time, introducing them to one of the largest and most vibrant HBCU campuses in the nation.”

The new scholars program isn’t the first time TMCF and Strada have come together. In the past, Strada has supported the TMCG scholarship program and leadership institute, and the latest collaboration is the fruit of discussion that began several years ago, said Daryl Graham, Strada’s senior vice president of philanthropy.

Strada promotes innovate collaborations that help underserved students achieve college access and career success, he said, and the evolving missions and strategies of both Strada and TMCF are aligned in that regard.

“We wanted more opportunities in partnership with an organization that we felt very comfortable with,” said Graham. “This was a great fit for us and for them.”

hrdCHICAGO, IL – This past June, HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) held its 3rd annual HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition with the theme “Rulers of the Throne”. The competition highlights newly historically black colleges and universities campus Queens, Kings and SGA Presidents.

The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is an initiative that spotlights the newly elected and crowned campus leaders through a pre-submitted biography with a series of questions relating to their campus improvement, strengths, motivation and upcoming plans during their reign or term.

This year’s competition featured a mixture of 20 campus leaders who holds the title of Queen, King and SGA Presidents that were voted by the public to be featured in the dictionary. The leaders are represented from the following schools: Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Stillman College, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University, Saint Augustine’s University, Grambling State University, Virginia Union University, Savannah State University, Bennett College,  Benedict College, Fisk University, Claflin University,  University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Morris College, Savannah State University, Philander Smith College and Chicago State University.

After two (2) years of the competition, this year was the first publication of the HBCU Royalty Dictionary as a magazine. The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is usually published to the HCF’s website featuring the present year induction class.

The 2016 HBCU Royalty Dictionary is now available and can be viewed in PDF format on HCF’s website here. You can purchase the magazine copy for $7.99 + shipping in support of the featured student leaders here.

All proceeds from the magazine will benefit and assist supporting the next HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition, student scholarships, services at HBCU’s and operations of HBCU Campaign Fund.

For more information regarding the HBCU Royalty Dictionary, contact support@hbcucampaignfund.org or call HCF office at 773.988.2106.