UNCF CEO’s Statement on Education Sec. Devos Speaking at Bethune-Cookman Univ.

UNCF president and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, issued the following statement on May 3, on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ invitation to speak at spring 2017 commencement at UNCF-member institution Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL: 

“Bethune-Cookman University’s decision to invite U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to speak at commencement will give Secretary DeVos, her team and the American public an opportunity to learn more about the rich history of Bethune-Cookman, its talented graduates, and the contributions of all HBCUs, while also offering an opportunity for Secretary DeVos to articulate more fully her views on HBCUs and have an open conversation with our community. 

“Additionally, UNCF is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, and our role is to work with every presidential administration to advance our mission of increasing African American college graduates at Bethune-Cookman and UNCF’s 36 other member institutions. As the U.S. Department of Education is an existential force in the lives of HBCUs, this means we must engage with Secretary DeVos and the Trump-Pence administration to do whatever we can to inform their thinking, policies and actions. To do otherwise would be dangerous and self-defeating. 

“Mary McLeod Bethune, one of UNCF’s co-founders, herself once said, ‘The progress of the world will call for the best that all of us have to give.’ It is my hope that the Bethune-Cookman and HBCU communities as a whole will give Secretary DeVos the best of our attention as she speaks, just as we want her to give full attention to us when decisions are made that impact HBCUs.” 

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About UNCF:
UNCF (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, 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 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF annually awards $100 million in scholarships and 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 more than 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 news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF and #HBCUsMatter.