UNCF Mourns Passing of Chairman Elijah Eugene Cummings

UNCF (United Negro College Fund), all of its member-institutions, and the students served by those institutions mourn the passing of Representative Elijah Cummings. At the time of his passing, he represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District and chaired the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Chairman Cummings was a dedicated public servant–and a fighter,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “In his service to the people of Baltimore, he was passionate, measured and often achieved results. In his advocacy for our Historically Black institutions—those in his district and nationwide—he was a staunch, fierce advocate. We could ALWAYS count on Chairman Cummings to do what was right, and that went well beyond words. He was a man of action. He put underserved students and the institutions that helped them get a leg-up on life in the forefront. As an elected leader, that will be part of his legacy. As a fellow HBCU graduate, he joins the pantheon of our men and women who made this nation, and specifically one its most hallowed institutions [the U.S. Congress], better by dedicating his life to it.”

“In the entire history of this country, only 26 African Americans have chaired a full committee in the U.S. Congress,” said Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs at UNCF. “Additionally, as a longtime member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Chairman Cummings showed the power of our institutions. Cummings was a graduate of Howard University class of 1973. Nearly 40% of the CBC are HBCU alumni.”

“In late 2016, Chairman Cummings keynoted a lunch-time fundraiser for UNCF in Maryland,” recalled Mr. Murray. “Having been hospitalized, he told a stunned crowd that ‘I had to get out. I had to be here today, because I recognize the transformational power of education for our people… Our children are the living message we send to the future.  We are at a pivotal point in our country’s history… And we must do all we can to ensure our young people have the resources needed to access education, because I would not be here today without the education I received at Howard University.’ This is the Chairman Cummings we will always remember.”


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 percent 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.