22 Students from UNCF-Member Institutions Selected as 2019 White House HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

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Khalilah Long UNCF Communications 202.810.0241 khalilah.long@uncf.org

Twenty-two students attending college at UNCF-member colleges across the United States were selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Announced June 17, 44 students from 34 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were selected as 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars—the Initiative’s highest student recognition illustrating that HBCUs produce, often against the odds, strong, impressive results and educational, economic, and societal impacts for their students, the communities in which they are located and for our nation.

“We are very pleased to see UNCF-supported students are being recognized by the White House Initiative on HBCUs. Talented students like these deserve this prestigious honor and demonstrate how much our colleges and universities continue to do for deserving students of color,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO.

“The Initiative’s watchword is competitiveness and these students are fine examples of the depth and diversity of competitive talent at our institutions. We are honored to recognize them.”

Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for successfully preparing to compete for top opportunities that improve long-term outcomes. Each was nominated and endorsed by their institution president. In a statement released by the Initiative, Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs mentions, “The Initiative’s watchword is competitiveness and these students are fine examples of the depth and diversity of competitive talent at our institutions. We are honored to recognize them.”

Scholars were selected from among highly distinguished HBCU students, chosen based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit. In the course of their one-year term, Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and institutional achievement, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success.

Billy Hawkins, president of UNCF-member Talladega College and a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, said, “Over my career, I’ve learned a lot about leadership from HBCU students. Recognition programs such as the Competitiveness Scholars showcase the talent, leadership and spirit of students at Talladega College and across the HBCU landscape. Congratulations to the 2019 cohort. We’re looking for great things from you.”

Competitiveness Scholars will assemble during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference, Sept. 8-11, at the Renaissance Washington, DC, Hotel. The conference theme is Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance. The Scholars will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership, wealth creation and management and civic engagement and will be encouraged to seek out ongoing personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Competitiveness Scholars are recognized for the 2019-2020 academic school year. Throughout this period, the Initiative will facilitate engagement activities, as well as provide information and resources that scholars can take advantage of or disseminate to fellow students. Scholars are encouraged to fully take advantage of the opportunities provided, engage with one another and showcase their individual and collective talents across the HBCU spectrum. Competitiveness Scholars will receive their recognition at the HBCU week conference during the Initiative’s Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards luncheon ceremony on Sept. 9.

WHIHBCU Competitiveness Scholars from UNCF-Member Institutions

Below is a list of the 2019 WHIHBCU Competitiveness Scholars who attend UNCF-member institutions, in alphabetical order by hometown state, the school they attend and the school’s location.









  • Chattanooga: KaDarius Scott, Lane College, Jackson, TN
  • Memphis: Angelika Gilbert, Lane College, Jackson, TN







About UNCF
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.