New England UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala Returns in-person Format, Supporting HBCUs and their Students

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Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231

Gov. Charlie Baker, Former Gov. Deval Patrick, Brendan Swords, Shayna Seymour, and the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud” join UNCF to honor Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Justin Bullion and Diane Patrick for advancing educational opportunity for young people of color

After three years, the New England UNCF (United Negro College Fund) “A Mind Is…” Gala is returning to an in-person event from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, March 31 at the Boston Park Plaza to raise funds for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and students of color seeking a higher education.

Nearly 200 guests, including business and community leaders, are expected to attend. Gov. Charlie Baker, former Gov. Deval Patrick and former Wellington Management Chairman and CEO Brendan Swords will be part of the evening’s celebration.

UNCF Boston local office will present its Partner Award to Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, accepted by president and CEO, Kenneth L. Turner; the Leadership Award to Justin G. Bullion, CFA®, managing director, Payden & Rygel; and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Diane B. Patrick, senior counsel, Ropes & Gray LLP.

Proceeds from the gala will benefit talented and deserving students across New England and the United States who lack the financial support to get to and through college, as well as UNCF’s 37 member HBCUs.

“Historically Black colleges and universities have never been more important to the nation’s economic growth. HBCUs are major engines of Black social and economic mobility and the prosperity of state and local communities. Yet, they remain systemically underfunded,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “I encourage you to support UNCF so together we can invest in and build future generations of Black college graduates who will help lead this nation and contribute to our economy. Events like the New England ‘A Mind Is…’ Gala help us do just that.”

Shayna Seymour, co-anchor of WCVB Channel 5 Boston’s “Chronicle” will serve as host for the evening. The cast of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” will serve as the event’s entertainment.

Current sponsors include gold sponsors, Delta Air Lines, Patti & Jonathan Kraft, Massachusetts General Brigham and Payden & Rygel; silver sponsors, Brendan & Kerry Swords and Ropes & Gray, LLP; bronze sponsor, The John W. Henry Family Foundation.

Diego Aviles, vice president for development, Northeast, UNCF said, “We are delighted to be able to gather again in person to help uplift our nation’s HBCUs and ensure more African American students have the necessary funding to achieve degree completion. We are grateful to have the opportunity to recognize Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Justin Bullion and Diane Patrick for serving as essential partners in our important work to create better futures for all.”

To learn more, register for the event or donate, please visit or contact Diego Aviles at

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, 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 nearly 20% 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 or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.