Statement from UNCF President Dr. Michael L. Lomax on New Board Chair Milton Jones

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

A statement from Dr. Lomax:

“Since Mary McLeod Bethune, Frederick Douglass Patterson and an extraordinary group of historically Black college and university (HBCU) presidents founded UNCF in 1944, one of our greatest strengths has been our board of directors. Composed of HBCU member presidents and private individuals, our board has always been integrated. Even as the rest of the country was rigidly segregated, the UNCF board was composed of Blacks and whites, men and women, Christians and Jews, all of whom were equal in doing our work together.

“Our independent directors were recruited from the country’s wealthiest families and most powerful corporations. They were enlisted by our first annual campaign chairman, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Their commitment to HBCUs and to our students drew them together with our HBCU presidents, in a shared mission and across their differences of race, class and gender to produce powerful fundraising results. Over the succeeding 77 years, these allies and champions have helped UNCF raise more than $5 billion and assist over 500,000 students achieve their dreams of a college education that would prepare them for meaningful careers, enriched lives, engaged citizenship and leadership.

“Today, our board sets policy, ensures fiduciary compliance as well as the faithful stewardship of the financial resources our donors entrust with us, and always works to strengthen the operational excellence of UNCF and our over 250 employees. In our 2020-21 campaign year, our board, management and volunteers stewarded our organization through a treacherous year successfully despite the pandemic so that we could continue our mission of getting as many students to and through college as possible.

“As President and CEO, I report directly to our board of directors that includes 14 of our HBCU presidents and 17 independent directors, of whom nine are White business and civic leaders. At our board meeting in March, UNCF’s board elected Atlanta business and civic leader Milton H. Jones, Jr., our new chairman. Milton has been a member of our board for 16 years and has served as chair of our finance committee and as one of our three vice chairs. Milton succeeds William F. Stasior, retired CEO of the global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Bill Stasior is a first-generation college graduate who attended Northwestern University on a scholarship. Bill has served on the UNCF board for 26 years, 11 of them as chairman, contributing tirelessly to UNCF’s mission.  He will remain on our board and his colleagues have recognized his extraordinary service by naming him Chairman Emeritus, and UNCF has established an endowed scholarship in his name. Bill is white; Milton is Black and the first African American to be elected Chairman.

“Some have asked why Milton Jones is the first Black chair of the board of directors.  We certainly have had other great Black board members who might have held that position earlier, including Johnson Publications founder John H. Johnson and BET founder Robert Johnson, among others. Our board chair does not serve a term but is elected annually. I believe our outstanding board has always elected the person they felt was best suited at the time for the position, and I am proud of the extraordinary seven-decade record of impact that UNCF has produced with a board of Black and White leaders working together on behalf of our HBCUs and the students they serve. I have been honored to work with Bill Stasior for the past 11 years, and I look forward with pride to working with our new board chair Milton Jones. We have so much work to do for our HBCUs and our students, and I know we have the team and the leadership to get that work done.

“The last 12 months have been a period like no other in American history—a global pandemic and virulent racism have left deep and tragic scars across the country. Black Americans have been disproportionately victimized by both these relentless diseases.

“At UNCF, we have doubled down on our work to ensure that our HBCUs are strong and that our students get the education that they will need in the future. More and more Americans have supported our work this past year because, I believe, they now know that our HBCUs are essential and are needed today more than ever. To do our work, our champions know we need our entire nation to support education. In our own way, working with both Black and white allies and champions, I believe UNCF is modeling the inter-racial collaborations and partnerships that will help us heal and ensure a better, stronger America, in part because, in spite of our differences, we can all agree that ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.’”

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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, 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.”® For continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.