UNCF Hosting Summit on HBCU Transformation

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

HBCU UNITE 2022 to feature national leaders addressing the promise of Black higher education

Join thought leaders, educators, researchers, advocates, students and practitioners to learn, share ideas and build connections focusing on the transformation of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the 21st century at “UNITE 2022,” hosted by UNCF, June 12-16 at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway. Registration is now open at UNCFUnite.org.

This year’s conference theme is “Delivering on the Promise of Black Higher Education.”

UNITE 2022 will bring together dozens of HBCUs and predominantly Black institutions (PBIs) who have partnered with UNCF and its Institute for Capacity Building (ICB) on efforts to sustain academic excellence, improve operation effectiveness and accelerate innovation at Black colleges and universities.

UNITE 2022 is featuring a packed agenda. The summit has confirmed the participation of national leaders in Black higher education, including Dietra Trent, executive director, White House Initiative on HBCUs; Jim Shelton, chief investment partner, Blue Meridian Partners; Melonie Parker, chief diversity officer, Google; Byna Elliott, managing director and head of Advancing Black Pathways, JPMorgan Chase; Yolanda Watson Spiva, president, Complete College America; Ivory Toldson, Howard professor and national director of education innovation and research, NAACP; Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder, Generation Hope; Jamal Watson, contributing editor, “Diverse Issues in Higher Education”; and Eddie Cole, UCLA professor and author of the award-winning book “The Campus Color Line.”

The summit will be held in person for the first time since 2019 and expects record-breaking attendance, including executive leadership, administration, faculty and students from dozens of the nation’s 102 historically Black colleges and universities and 37 predominantly Black institutions.

“When we founded ICB back in 2006, it was our dream to build a premier platform that created solutions for the transformation of Black colleges and universities and all of Black higher education,” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “Now, more than 15 years later, we have the experience, partnerships and resources needed to realize this vision and solidify our focus on institutional transformation. We see tremendous value in every Black college and university. HBCUs and PBIs are ready to showcase their transformative impact and build on the long overdue investments made in the past few years.”

Jim Shelton, chief impact and investment officer, Blue Meridian Partners, said his organization is proud to have committed more than $60 million to support transformation at HBCUs.

“I’m looking forward to hearing first-hand at UNITE 2022 how Black colleges and universities—who have historically done more with less—can maximize the recent surge in catalytic investments,” Shelton said. “I hope the display of their outsized impact for generations encourages other investors of the worthiness of supporting Black higher education.”

HBCUs have a 150-year history of providing equity through education by providing pathways to social and economic mobility for students from marginalized and under-resourced communities.

The role HBCUs play in leveling the playing field for students and families who have been locked out of opportunities to advance their economic and social standing has largely gone unheralded.

According to McKinsey’s research, HBCUs have the potential to produce nearly $10 billion in additional Black worker incomes, $1.2 billion in incremental business profit, $300 million in decreased student loan debt, and $1 billion in additional consumer expenditures.

HBCU students are 51% more likely to climb into higher income brackets. HBCUs outpace their peers in conferring degrees to Black students. While HBCUs represent only 3% of higher education institutions, they confer 17% of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Black Americans and confer 24% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students.

Edward Smith-Lewis, UNCF vice president for strategic partnerships and institutional programs, said he sees UNITE 2022 as a homecoming for those committed to HBCU transformation. “UNITE 2022 is one of our most important platforms to propel the growth and strengthening of Black colleges and universities,” Smith-Lewis said. “Our institutional partners join UNITE to accelerate new and existing initiatives designed to secure their long-term sustainability.”

Attendees will come together to discuss a range of efforts related to the long-term resilience of Black colleges and universities, including:

  • A celebration of the successes of the Career Pathways Initiative, UNCF’s groundbreaking effort to galvanize 32 Black colleges and universities on execution of institutional strategic priorities
  • UNCF’s deepening work as an intermediary for HBCUs, PBIs and Black higher education, including progress made as an Intermediary for Scale and a new partnership with public HBCUs and Thurgood Marshall College Fund through the HBCU Transformation Project
  • The future of digital learning at HBCUs, including a hackathon that will shape the development of HBCUv, an e-learning and virtual experience designed by and for HBCUs
  • Sessions and learning tracks on executive leadership, strategic finance, data and analytics, mental health, and student success at HBCUs and PBIs.

UNITE 2022 will be held in person but will offer opportunities to participate for those not able to travel to Atlanta. All plenary sessions will be livestreamed and available on the conference website.

Don’t wait, register today for UNITE 2022 at UNCFunite.org.


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 UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.