UNCF Congratulates Hawkins on Appointment as Board Chair of AAICU

President of Talladega College appointed to bring private, nonprofit higher education issues to the forefront of state politics

Media Contact:
Ashlei Stevens
UNCF Communications

WASHINGTON, DC—UNCF extends congratulations to Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins on being named chairman of the board of directors of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU). Hawkins, who was vice chairman of the organization for the past two years, succeeds the Rev. Dr. J. Cameron West, president of Huntingdon College, and becomes the first African American to serve as chairman of the AAICU.

“I am honored to be selected as the new chairman,” Hawkins said. “I am excited to work with Gen. [Paul] Hankins [AAICU president] and the other presidents associated with the AAICU. The AAICU has made great strides over the past eight years, and the organization has done a great job strengthening legislative relationships to improve private higher education within the state of Alabama.”

The AAICU aims to provide a platform for Alabama’s nonprofit colleges and universities by working collaboratively on policies, programs, fundraising and business interests as a unified sector. The organization promotes and protects the interests of independent higher education in Alabama and oversees scholarship fundraising efforts for students attending each of its 14 member schools.

“The AAICU could not have appointed a more deserving chairman,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “Dr. Hawkins brings with him a wealth of experience as a lifelong educator who has led Talladega College into excellence, and this appointment serves as a testament to his leadership. I know that he will continue AAICU’s legacy of bringing private higher education to the forefront of the state’s public policy agenda, as well break new boundaries in this new role.”

Independent colleges and universities in Alabama enroll more than 24,000 students. Of the 14 AAICU member institutions, four are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) supported by UNCF. In addition to Talladega, they are Miles College, Stillman College and Tuskegee University.

Last spring, Talladega was announced as one of 30 colleges to receive a competitive planning grant from UNCF, to launch the Career Pathways Initiative. Dr. Hawkins recently spoke to UNCF on the significance of the $50,000 planning grant and its potential impact in assisting Talladega College graduates in landing meaningful employment upon earning their degrees.

“This helps us modify our curriculum and to make the appropriate adjustments so our students have a clear understanding of the career path that they are pursuing, as well as gives them the opportunity to select other career paths if they so choose,” Hawkins said. “We’re excited to be a part of this initiative.”


About Talladega College
Talladega College is the first college in Alabama to admit students of African American descent. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the Famous Amistad Murals painted by Hale A. Woodruff. The college has an aggressive tradition of bringing the world to Talladega and offers 18 majors that provide students with an education that prepares them for the 21st-century workforce. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

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.