UNCF Hosts 11th Annual Student Leadership Conference

Virtual conference welcomes largest group of college students

On May 26-27, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) hosted its 11th annual Student Leadership Conference (SLC), virtually connecting college students from around the nation to leaders and executives in an array of career fields. The conference, the second to be completely virtual, focused on enhancing critical thinking skills, providing strategies to support effective verbal and written communications in virtual work environments and improving leadership and networking skills. The 2021 conference theme was “Surviving and Thriving in Today’s World” and featured sessions pertinent to today’s workforce and how to excel within it.

The student-centered professional development conference provided students opportunities to learn skills needed to be successful interns and early career professionals. Hosted by Wells Fargo and supported by American Express and other corporate and foundation sponsors, 102 college students attended, making the 2021 event the largest SLC in its 11-year history.

Attendees represented 15 UNCF internships and professional development programs:

  • Anheuser-Busch
    UNCF Budweiser Natalie Johnson Scholarship and Internship Program
  • Anthem Foundation
    Anthem Corporate Scholars Program
  • Battelle
    UNCF Battelle Corporate Scholars Program
  • Best Buy
    UNCF Best Buy Corporate Scholars Program
  • Charles Koch Foundation
    UNCF/Koch Scholars Program
  • Kimberly Clark
    Kimberly Clark Corporate Scholars Program
  • Medline Industries
    UNCF Medline Corporate Scholars Program
  • Panda Cares Foundation
    Panda Cares UNCF Scholars Program
  • UNCF Institute for Capacity Building
    UNCF-ICB Interns
  • United Health Foundation
    United Health Diverse Scholars Initiative
  • Volkswagen Group of America
    VWGoA/UNCF Corporate Scholars Program
  • Walton Family Foundation
    UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship
  • The Walt Disney Company
    The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholarship and Internship Program

“Thank you to Wells Fargo, American Express and our other partners—because of your generosity and your belief that ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste’® and acknowledgement that it is also a wonderful thing to invest in, UNCF was able to hold the largest Student Leadership Conference to date,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “Our students are truly the future, and through opportunities such as the SLC our students discover their passions and begin meaningful careers that impact their communities.”

“The expansion of our Student Leadership Conference, which is reaching more than 100 HBCU students, is a testament to the remarkable increase UNCF has seen over the past year from corporations, associations and foundations and their commitment to racial and social diversity and inclusion,” said Taliah Givens, senior director, UNCF student professional development programs. “Because of partnerships like these, we are able to educate, develop and prepare a diverse workforce.”

Sharon Murphy, CIO Wells Fargo, reminded students that as interns, “You have to be purposeful. And it is important to “Be a vessel. Be a sponge. Take in all that you can. This is the opportunity to learn as much as you can while you’re in your internship.”

Glenda McNeal, President, Enterprise Strategic Partnerships at American Express and Dillard University alumni challenged the college students to “Leave no doubt. Leave no doubt about your skills and abilities. Leave no doubt about your values and character. Leave no doubt about the kind of leader you will be.”


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 nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. 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 motto, “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.