Education

FAMU Receives $1.2 Million Gift from Frank and Laura Baker

FAMU Receives $1.2 Million Gift from Frank and Laura Baker

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida A&M University (FAMU) is excited to announce a $1.2 million donation from Frank and Laura Baker to help students with financial restrictions graduate in four years. The gift will establish the Frank and Laura Baker Graduation Fund, which will provide funding for students who are qualified to graduate in four years but have an outstanding account balance to the university.

Frank Baker is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Siris, a leading private equity firm with more than $7 billion in AUM focused on making value-oriented, control investments in technology companies. Baker said the donation to Florida's largest, and only public, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) is an investment in the future. 

"In 2020, we established Siris' Florida office, and as part of that, we believed it was important to invest in our new community. Through our conversations with FAMU, we learned there are extremely capable students who aren't able to graduate in four years solely due to limited financial resources.  We also discovered that the four-year graduation rate is a key metric in determining the amount of funding FAMU receives from the State of Florida. This made our 'investment' decision pretty easy — FAMU students in the workforce sooner and potentially unlocking more State funding."

As part of the gift agreement, the FAMU Office of University Advancement, the Office of Student Success and Strategic Initiatives, along with Frank and Laura Baker, will review the cohort each year to determine how the Graduation Fund will be distributed. The initial $300,000 will be used to clear university balances for spring and summer 2022 graduates once the certification process is complete and to match donations during the Day of Giving "1887 Strikes" campaign on April 21-22, which raised an additional $360,000.

"This is a transformational gift that will encourage our students to finish in a timely manner and allow them to move forward less burdened by debt to the University," said President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. "We thank Frank and Laura Baker for investing in our students. Their generosity will reap untold dividends for years to come."

The agreement also puts in place a framework for the University to track recipients; they will be asked to respond to periodic surveys in the years ahead and encouraged to give back to the University.

"The timing and magnitude of this gift cannot be overstated," said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the FAMU Foundation. "It reinforces the importance of the task ahead and is a reminder that student success is at the core of our mission." 

SOURCE: Florida A&M University


Alpha Kappa Alpha Presents MLK Virtual Youth Symposium, Sun. Jan. 16, 2022, 2pm ET

Social Distancing from the Dream

The W.I.S.H. Foundation (Women Involved in Service to Humanity), Incorporated, in partnership with Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated presents the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 16, 2022, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  This year’s theme is "Are we Social Distancing from the Dream?".

This event is free and open to students of all grade levels from elementary through senior high school. Organization mentoring groups, church youth auxiliary groups, parents and organization members are encouraged to attend. The deadline to register to attend this event is January 12, 2022. Please note that parents must register separately and join the Parent's Forum on event day via a separate device.

Dr. Martha Johnson-Rutledge is the president of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter. Islamiyat Nancy Adebisi Elus is the Chairman of the W.I.S.H. Foundation, Incorporated. This is the eleventh year the organizations have presented this community event. Click HERE to register.


Gallon Calls for Revolutionary Change in Powerful Keynote at National School Board Leadership Conference

1D6DAB04-6DCD-4A4F-AA2D-400C6D51A484

Miami-Dade County School Board Vice Chair and CUBE (Council of Urban Boards of Education) Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III welcomed CUBE 2021 attendees to their national conference, held in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16-18, 2021. Gallon delivered a powerful and insightful speech on the State of Urban Education. School Board members and other educational leaders from around the nation listened intently to his words, encouraging them to become “deliberate disruptors in the fight to improve education for the children, districts, and the communities they serve.”

 

He reminded school board members that they “hold the key to unshackle large populations of students who are trapped in perpetual failure and generational poverty.” His message focused on revolutionizing education through school board policy by encouraging attendees to “be a revolutionary for respect, be a revolutionary for resources, and be a revolutionary for the restoration of education as a moral, professional, national, and spiritual imperative,” he said. The nation’s school districts and children “need you to be revolutionaries.”

 

The CUBE Annual Conference is designed to foster effective school district leadership through practical clinic sessions and peer-led district workshops. CUBE has convened school board members from across the nation for the past 53 years to network and share the continually evolving strategies they are using to address the unique educational challenges that exist in our nation's urban centers. 

 

“It was a tremendously blessed, professional, and beneficial experience to join school leaders from around the nation,” Dr. Gallon said. “I am  humbled and honored to not only serve as CUBE Chair, but to kick off this sold-out conference and deliver words that prayerfully moved those in attendance to action on behalf of their districts, schools, and most importantly, their students.”


If you care about children and public education, you owe it to yourself to watch and listen to Dr. Gallon’s multifaceted address. And after you watch it, ask yourself if you are complicit or a culprit? Whether we are educational professionals or parents of students, or taxpayers, we must get off the sidelines and be advocates for our children. We must reject the status quo and shift the paradigm in education. Let’s work!

 

 


Miami-Dade County Schools in Mask Mandate Spotlight

06732417-AFA5-45B3-B02B-D7D5AF0B78C6

Almost three million people in Florida have contracted COVID-19, and more than 41,000 have died. Of those statistics, Miami-Dade County represents more than 583,000 of those cases and almost 6,500 deaths. The Delta variant of COVID is much more contagious and severe. Yet, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican leaders have manipulated some parents to use a CDC (Center for Disease Control) preventive measure to protect school children, parents, and employees as a first amendment parental right. No matter how much the Board of Education says it’s not about mask-wearing, it clearly is. To suggest or declare anything different is a lie. Risking lives by politicizing COVID is shameful and illegal. It is tantamount to child endangerment.

 

This unbelievable attempt at political bullying and intimidation will come to a head in Miami-Dade County at 11 AM today when the school board convenes. The School Board and Superintendent are in the media spotlight and in the crosshairs of Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Board of Education, and the State Commissioner of Education because of non-compliance with the governor's ban on mask mandates. 

 

Gov. DeSantis threatened to withhold budget from non-compliant districts and Pres. Joseph Biden interceded in support of Broward County and Alachua County school boards and superintendents who have stood their grounds. 

 

Will the Miami-Dade County School Board and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho protect the District, or will they cave to the authoritarian Republican leadership of the state? Based on public comments, it appears that at least one Miami-Dade School Board Member has already said no to the mask mandate, and others might try to please everyone, which will be a sure failure to the students, parents, and employees of the District. 

 

Situations such as this test the integrity and courage of leaders. There are few if any, options to compromise while the Delta variant ravages our community and more COVID mutations are on the way. It’s so unfortunate that elected, and appointed leaders are willing to choose politics over people, but we’ve seen this before when they choose profits over people.

 

Here is the link to the subject board agenda item, H-17, proffered by the Vice-Chair of The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida,  Dr. Steve Gallon III -   http://pdfs.dadeschools.net/Bdarch/2021/bd081821/agenda/h17rev.pdf. Please tune in online or attend  in-person  today. 


South Florida Spelman Alumnae Host Virtual Scholarship Fundraiser Sunday, June 27, 2021 3PM

49DDF91D-6806-4EA3-9EBE-F92B77B1B7E2

The South Florida Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College will present their "All That Jazz" 2021 Virtual Scholarship Fundraiser and Live Auction on Sunday, June 27, 2021, 3 PM ET.

Event co-hosts are Spelman alumnae Christie Grays Chambers, commercial realtor and founder of I am CHIC, and Betty Davis, Chief Meteorologist, WPLG-10.

You can win exquisite items while empowering the next generation of global women leaders in the liberal arts, sciences, and business.

Since 1881, Spelman College has produced notable alumnae such as Stacey Abrams, Alice Walker, Rosalind Brewer, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Esther Rolle, Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Marian Wright Edelman, and Bernice King.

RSVP at sfnaasc.org.


Juneteenth Unityfest, Livestreamed Celebrity Event, June 19, 2021 5pm-9pm ET

D8769D2A-4C99-4940-87BC-BDE5D08CB6CE

Juneteenth Unityfest, a star-studded live streamed event presented by the Robert Randolph Foundation (RRF) is designed to commemorate and celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. GRAMMY™ Award-winning artists India.Arie and Ledisi have been added to the lineup.

Hosted by actress and author Amanda Seales and comedian JB Smoove, Juneteenth Unityfest will include musical performances by: Robert Randolph, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, India.Arie, Darius Rucker, Dave Matthews & Carter Beauford, Ledisi, Black Pumas, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Bebe Winans, Khruangbin, Phony Ppl, Judith Hill, Jimmie Allen, Korean Soul, The Soul Rebels, and Greg Phillinganes, with more acts to be named soon.

The show also features guest appearances by: Phylicia Rashad, Billy Porter, Jon Hamm, Van Jones, Wayne Brady, Holly Robinson Peete, Aisha Tyler, Craig Robinson, Zach Galifianakis, Gail Devers, Lynn Nottage, Jason Wright, Krystal Mackie, Zina GarrisonWilson Cruz,Roger Guenveur Smith, LeVar Burton, Ms. Opal Lee, Adesola Osakalumi, Baratunde Thurston, and Jesse Williams.

Throughout the program, many community organizations and HBCUs will be highlighted. Some of the over 35 partners include:  HBCUs Benedict College, Fisk University, Lincoln University and Mississippi Valley State University; community organizations: Heal America, AARP Pennsylvania, The Africa Center, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, beGirl.world, The Hip Hop Caucus, The HollyRod Foundation,  The Links, Incorporated, The Muhammad Ali Center, Reel Works, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Usher’s New Look, We Are Family Foundation, the Zina Garrison Foundation, and UNCF.


Talladega College Explores Feasibility of Reviving Football Program on 100-Year Anniversary of Championship Win

39DE32E0-3E49-4119-B20E-A3B7E909E2C3
              

(Talladega, AL)  The Talladega College Board of Trustees authorized Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins to employ a consultant to determine the feasibility of reviving the institution’s football program.  Trustees voted in favor of conducting a feasibility study during the institution’s spring board meeting on April 30, 2021. 

Talladega seized the Black College Football National Championship in both 1920 and 1921 under the leadership of Coach Jubie Barton Bragg. While the institution’s illustrious football program was canceled 80 years ago, during World War II, the upcoming study may help usher in a new era of football for Alabama’s first private historically black college.

“The year 2021 marks the one hundred year anniversary of our historic back-to-back championship win,” said Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins. “Given the success of our academic and athletic programs; the recent growth and transformation of the college; and the myriad benefits of having a football program, now may be the time to revive our team. This could be great for the college, the community, and central Alabama. However, our decision will be based upon the findings of a formal feasibility study.”

Dr. Hawkins has extensive experience in bringing back a college football program. During his tenure as president of Texas College, where he served prior to beginning his presidency at Talladega, he successfully restarted the institution’s football program that had been shut down for 40 years. Texas’s football program is still thriving today. 

Talladega’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin Jr, recently spearheaded a preliminary investigation to determine the feasibility of adding a football program.  His committee surveyed employees and found that an overwhelming majority of Talladega’s faculty and staff are in favor of having a football program. Most employees believe a football team will increase student enrollment and retention; attract donations and sponsorships; and increase institutional pride.

“We are now moving forward with a true feasibility study. Adding a football program will affect community members so we want to hear their opinions. We also want to gage the opinions of our alumni and other stakeholders,” Dr. Burgin stated.

Talladega College Athletic Director Kevin Herod added, “The possibility of adding football would only enhance our athletic program and bring new opportunities to the campus, the community, and the overall collegiate experience for our students.” 

Shakayah Midgette, a 2021 graduate who served as student representative to the Talladega College Board of Trustees, stated, “The band would love to actually march at home games, and many students are excited about the possibility of attending football games on campus.  School pride has increased a great deal, and I believe a football team would help it to increase even further.  Football would attract new students as well as sponsors.”

Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program and constructed three new facilities — a 45,000-square-foot residence hall; the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center; and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses Hale Woodruff’s renowned Amistad Murals. The 2020-2021 academic year was Talladega’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. Talladega is consistently listed among the best colleges in the Southeast and the top HBCUs in the nation.  

 


Clark Atlanta University to Host Stacey Abrams and Bakari Sellers as Commencement Speakers

6FA44CE1-D3D0-4BFB-A720-B1271A161BAA

The university will hold a unique dual ceremony honoring the Classes of 2020 and 2021

ATLANTA/PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, May 15, Clark Atlanta University will hold a dual commencement ceremony honoring the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Politician, attorney and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams will address the Class of 2020 during the 8 a.m. ceremony, followed by attorney, politician and political commentator Bakari Sellers, who will address the Class of 2021 during the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Like many universities across the country, Clark Atlanta University postponed its 2020 commencement ceremony due to COVID. But university leaders remained committed to making sure that students don't miss out on this pivotal moment in their lives.

"We wanted to give our students the opportunity to walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and be recognized for their hard work in a traditional ceremony," said Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French, Jr. "They have earned the right to experience that moment surrounded by their classmates, family and friends." 

An HBCU graduate and Georgia's Democratic nominee for governor in 2018, Abrams, was scheduled to address 2020 Clark Atlanta University graduates before the pandemic postponed the ceremony.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to speak to the next generation of leaders graduating from Clark Atlanta University," said Abrams. "I hope that my words serve as a source of encouragement for the graduates by reminding them of how they can use their education to uplift those who are often unseen and unheard and push our society forward."

New York Times bestselling author, Abrams served as the Ga. House of Representatives Minority Leader from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, she launched Fair Fight Action, a national voting rights organization rooted in Georgia.

New York Times bestselling author, Sellers made history in 2006 as the youngest African-American elected official in the nation by winning a seat in the South Carolina State Legislature at age 22. Sellers, a CNN commentator and host of the Bakari Sellers Podcast, has been recognized as one of Time Magazine'40 Under 40 and made "The Root 100" list of the most influential African-Americans.

"As an HBCU graduate myself, I can distinctly recall the pride and excitement I felt when I graduated," said Sellers. "I hope to share a sense of optimism with these remarkable students as we honor their great accomplishments and look ahead to their bright futures."

Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French, Jr. recognizes the importance of having two Black leaders who have profoundly affected American politics and civil rights.

"Our goal here at Clark Atlanta University is to prepare our students to be globally competitive and to be successful contributors and trailblazers in their respective fields of study," said Dr. French. "Hearing from Ms. Abrams and Mr. Sellers -- two leaders who have already made a difference themselves -- is a fitting way to send our students off fully prepared to take on the world."

 

 


NAACP Presents Legislative Debrief on Voter Suppression

9D7F150E-4053-4329-BA97-DFD8912EBBFB

Let’s get informed and stay informed in preparation for the 2022 midterm elections. 

The Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch of the NAACP will present a Virtual Legislative Debrief: “Where Do We Go From Here” on voter suppression in Florida. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7 PM- 8:30 PM ET. Featured speakers are House Minority Leader, State Representative Bobby Dubose and State Representative Tracie Davis.  

Scan the QR code on the flyer to register or click here

Marsha A. Ellison is the president of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch of the NAACP.

 

 

 


Wilson to Host Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Hearing on the Future of Higher Education Post-COVID

4402D07F-9EF6-42BB-84B2-55D5B1B8584E

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, at 1 p.m. ET, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson will lead her first hearing as chair of the Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. The theme is Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant inequities in higher education and placed an enormous strain on universities and colleges and their students. The abrupt shift to remote learning has exacerbated barriers that make it difficult to successfully attend and graduate from college, particularly for low-income students and students of color who depend more heavily on the on-campus services they no longer had access to, including food and housing. While all students have been impacted by the pandemic, the biggest enrollment declines have occurred among black undergraduates and low-income students. Alarmingly, students who do not complete their educations have considerably higher levels of loan default. There is also evidence that the shift to online learning has compounded existing racial achievement gaps.

“The three relief packages passed by Congress invests more than $75 billion to help institutions and students avert crises, but we must do much more to ensure that underserved students are not left behind as the nation recovers from the pandemic,” says Congresswoman Wilson. “Bold steps will be required to strengthen student protections and expand access to student aid so that we build back a better higher education system for everyone. This hearing will explore how we can begin to achieve those goals.”

To watch the hearing, click here.