UNCF Celebrates Three-Year Partnership Helping Students Get to and Through College With the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program

Media Contacts:
Monique LeNoir
UNCF Communications

Trice Jacobson
Charles Koch Foundation Communications

Kaitlin Kirshner
Koch Industries Communications

Wichita Mayor’s event highlights success serving African American college students interested in principled entrepreneurship, economics and innovation

UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, this week highlights a three-year partnership with Koch Industries, Inc., and the Charles Koch Foundation, through the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program. This $25 million initiative demonstrates how principled entrepreneurship, economics and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities and society. The goal of the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program is to support students in their understanding of entrepreneurial principles and encourage their exploration of a marketplace of ideas rooted in the values of respect, humility and integrity.

“UNCF is excited to be here in Wichita, home base of Koch Industries. This week we will join together with our partners, Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation, in celebrating the success of our students, who are current and future entrepreneurs participating in the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF’s president and CEO. “While we have different backgrounds, UNCF and Koch have a shared vision of the power of education to transform lives, and we’re seeing that transformation take place in the lives of our scholars.”

“Both Koch and UNCF share the belief that students will best be able to meaningfully contribute to society and find fulfillment when they discover and develop their innate talents and abilities,” said Charles G. Koch, Koch Industries chairman and CEO. “This growing partnership, rooted in the values of integrity, respect, tolerance and courage, provides students with the opportunity to engage in a diverse marketplace of ideas and prepares them for the next steps in their academic and professional journey.”

The week features several activities in Wichita that highlight the UNCF/Koch partnership and the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program (Note: the breakfast is not open to the public):

 Thursday, Sept. 8 Schedule of Events, Hyatt Regency Wichita

7:30 – 8 a.m.: UNCF/Koch Scholars Program Breakfast with Charles G. Koch, CEO and board chairman of Koch Industries, Inc., Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF and Students

8 – 9 a.m.: UNCF/Koch Scholars Program Scholar Q&A with Mr. Koch, Dr. Lomax and Students

9:30 – 11 a.m.: UNCF/Koch Scholars Program experiential learning activity with Dr. John Hardin, director, university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation and Kezia Williams, senior relationship manager, UNCF/Koch Scholars program

12:00 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Inaugural UNCF Wichita Mayor’s Luncheon, hosted by the Honorable Jeff Longwell

Speakers at the luncheon include: 

  • Mayor Jeff Longwell
  • Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF
  • Meredith Olson, vice president of public affairs, Koch Industries
  • John Hardin, director of university relations, Charles Koch Foundation
  • UNCF/Koch Scholars Hunter Haymore, freshman, Spelman College; and Marshall Johnson, freshman, Wichita State University

Over the span of the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program, more than 3,000 students have applied for the highly competitive program, which awards up to $20,000 in scholarships over four years to African American high school seniors interested in entrepreneurship, innovation and economics. More than a third of the current scholars are the first in their families to attend college.

The program expects to welcome more than 160 UNCF/Koch Scholars as of this year, who are enrolled in 71 different colleges and universities across the United States, including 26 historically black college and universities (HBCUs) supported by UNCF. The program provides a year-round online community for academic and professional mentorship, as well as an annual summit for students to explore the values and skills needed for success as a principled entrepreneur. The demand for the program has led UNCF and Koch to significantly increase the number of scholarship awards offered to deserving students admitted this year and beyond.

Koch’s support of UNCF predates the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program collaboration. For many years, Georgia-Pacific, a Koch company, supported UNCF’s scholarship programs. Building on that commitment, Charles G. Koch and Dr. Lomax worked together to create the new program which now makes a larger impact and a greater investment in improving the outcomes of African American students by helping them pursue an education while developing the values and skills that can lead to fulfilling lives.

The partnership program helps students focus their skills and values on developing meaningful endeavors. For example, UNCF/Koch Scholar Hunter Haymore is a rising sophomore at UNCF-member institution Spelman College, and has already started her own business making wigs and styling hair of young women on campus with a long-term goal of opening a business to create wigs for youth experiencing hair loss.

“When I was in middle school, I lost my hair while undergoing chemotherapy treatment and had an insecurity about my hair,” Haymore said. “I taught myself how to style hair and create wigs, boosting not only my confidence, but that of my clients. With the tools I’m learning by being a UNCF/Koch Scholar, I’ll be able to empower other children who experience hair loss at a young age as I did.”

Tickets for the UNCF Wichita Mayor’s Luncheon are still available for $100. For more information, please contact the local UNCF office in St. Louis at 314.241.5958.



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 updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF. 

About Charles Koch Foundation
Charles G. Koch has supported research and educational programs focused on improving human well-being, especially for the least fortunate, for more than 50 years. The Charles Koch Foundation has continued this mission since its founding in 1980 by supporting the study of free societies, and the ideas, institutions, and values that maximize well-being. The Foundation supports more than 300 universities and colleges across the country, supporting scholars and universities interested in advancing an understanding of the link between free societies and well-being. We also provide students resources to further their educational opportunities and career development. Learn more at charleskochfoundation.org

About Koch Industries, Inc.
Based in Wichita, KS, Koch Industries, Inc., is one of the largest private companies in America with estimated annual revenues as high as $100 billion, according to Forbes. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals, biofuels and ingredients; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; electronic components; commodity trading; minerals; energy; ranching; glass; and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested about $80 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures. With a presence in more than 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 100,000 people worldwide, with about 60,000 of those in the United States. From January 2009 to present, Koch companies have earned more than 1,000 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation and customer service. For more news and stories, visit news.kochind.com.