UNCF to Celebrate those who are Changing the Face of Education at its annual "A Mind Is..." Gala on March 5 in New York

Event Will Honor Wells Fargo, Macy’s, Inc., and Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr.


Media Contact:
Ashlei Stevens
UNCF Communications


(NEW YORK) — UNCF, the nation's largest education organization and national advocate for education reform, will bring together educators, business and civic leaders, and education supporters from across the country on March 5 at its 71st annual UNCF “A Mind Is...” Gala. The fundraising event, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt New York, 109 East 42nd St., benefits more than 60,000 students who receive UNCF scholarships and attend UNCF's 37 member historically black colleges and universities and more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country.

“This night is a night to honor and celebrate all we have achieved together with the help of our honorees, but it is also a call to action on how far we still have to go in providing our young people with the tools and support they need to get to and through college,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “It is not simply about coming together for one night, but a new philanthropy that sees an investment in our young people that will pay dividends not just for them, but for all of us.”

NBC 4 New York co-anchor David Ushery will host the gala, which features student vocalist Amber Whitaker of Rust College and acknowledgement of presidents from UNCF’s 37 member institutions. The gala will also give special recognition to five retiring UNCF-member institution presidents: Dr. Carlton Brown, president of Clark Atlanta University since 2008; Dr. Johnnie B. Watson, president of LeMoyne-Owen College since 2008; Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman College president since 2002; Dr. Larry L. Earvin, president of Huston-Tilltson University since 2000; and Dr. Norman C. Francis,  president of Xavier University of Louisiana for the past 46 years. He is the longest-serving college president in the country.

The UNCF “A Mind Is...” Gala will also continue its tradition of honoring noted civic, education and business leaders for their game-changing advocacy on behalf of education through partnerships with UNCF and their own work. This year will honor two longtime corporate partners whose support has aided UNCF’s mission to strengthen a college-going culture.

Wells Fargo will receive the Frederick D. Patterson Award, named for the founder of UNCF, for its support through a host of programs, initiatives and scholarships that help strengthen UNCF’s three-pillar strategy. Wells Fargo has donated more than $5 million to UNCF since 2008 toward scholarship support, the annual  broadcast of UNCF An Evening of Stars®, and UNCF’s traveling college-and-career-readiness expo, the Empower Me Tour. Additional dollars have been raised thanks to Wells Fargo’s partnership through local leadership advisory councils, sponsorship opportunities at events across the country, and widespread national corporate volunteerism. Accepting the award on behalf of Wells Fargo will be Jon Campbell, executive vice president of government and community relations.

“Thanks to our long-term partnership with UNCF, we’ve been able to help fulfill the American dream for many African American families by increasing the number of students going to college and completing their degrees,” said Campbell. “We’re proud to honor the legacy of Dr. Frederick Patterson and be part of the movement that is building a stronger and more educated workforce in America.”

Macy’s, Inc., will receive the UNCF President’s Award for its support of UNCF as it works to strengthen the pipeline of African American students who go through college and become tomorrow’s leaders. Macy’s has been a longtime supporter of UNCF, and in the past 10 years alone has awarded $1.4 million in support across all markets of UNCF for scholarships, special events, UNCF An Evening of Stars®, and UNCF’s Campaign for Emergency Student Aid, which offers last-dollar scholarships to students at UNCF-member institutions. Macy’s actively recruits from UNCF’s 37 member institutions for its Executive Development Program, Sophomore Diversity Program and summer internships. Accepting the award on behalf of Macy’s will be Jeff Gennette, president of Macy’s, Inc.

“Like UNCF, we at Macy's firmly believe that a good education truly is the key to a successful and happy life,” said Gennette. “As an involved corporate citizen, we appreciate and accept our responsibility to help place a quality education within the reach of all deserving young people, regardless of background or income. We are committed to being part of the solution.”

Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., a noted educator and Tuskegee Airman, will receive the Shirley Chisholm Community Service Award, which is named for the former New York congresswoman and the first major-party African American presidential candidate. Brown is being honored for his longtime work addressing and solving educational challenges in Greater New York City. He commanded the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen, in World War II and has received numerous awards and honors. He is  the director of the Center for Urban Education Policy and professor at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, and is past president of Bronx Community College.

The gala will also highlight and provide an opportunity to contribute to UNCF's Campaign for Emergency Student Aid (CESA.) Created in 2009, CESA provides scholarships that aid students facing financial shortfalls that threaten their ability to stay in college and graduate. To date, more than $20 million has been raised to help thousands of UNCF students stay in school. Representing those students will be Erica Nicole Walker, a UNCF-member college graduate from Bethune-Cookman University who received a CESA scholarship and is now a graduate student and actress in New York.

Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $4.5 billion and helped more than 430,000 students secure college degrees. Each year, in addition to supporting its member institutions and their students, UNCF awards more than 10,000 scholarships and advocates for the right of low-income and minority students to receive a good education from pre-school through college graduation. 

For tickets or additional information regarding UNCF's “A Mind Is Gala,” please contact the UNCF Benefit Office at 212.820.0140 or e-mail annualgala@uncf.org


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 motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news and follow, UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.