“We’re Back!!! Hallelujah!” – UNCF’s National A Mind Is …® Gala Was Live

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

For the first time in two years since the pandemic started ironically a year to the date in 2020, UNCF was able to host its National A Mind Is® Gala in person. It was an amazing event.

More than 500 guests, including alumni from all 37 UNCF-member institutions, were in attendance.

UNCF Board Chairman Milton H. Jones, Jr., delivered opening remarks, sharing his major priorities as chairman to continue UNCF’s legacy of success. “We are in a new day of philanthropy. While we need to maintain our current channels, we must create more and stronger relationships and pathways to generate the financial resources necessary to further the critical missions of our member institutions and our organization,” said Jones.

“We will focus on new and better ways to remove barriers and obstacles so our students can prepare even better for the jobs and business ownership opportunities of the future. We will redouble our efforts to elevate respect for UNCF graduates and broadcast the stories of the differences they make in every room that matters … from the boardroom to the C-Suite … from the courtroom to the operating room … from the halls of Congress to the Halls of Fame. We will keep our focus,” said Jones.

In his remarks, UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax made a call to action to UNCF donors, partners and HBCU alums “to recommit to making greater strides in 2022 and beyond to help facilitate the needs of our UNCF-member institutions and all HBCUs as they labor every day to prepare the future generations of leadership in this nation.”

“Your incredible generosity enabled us [UNCF] to increase scholarship dollars for our HBCUs and their students. Yet, we still have much more work to do.”

Lomax announced UNCF intends to raise another billion dollars to add to the more than $5 billion dollars generated to support historically Black colleges and universities since its inception.

A special moment happened at the gala when Dr. Dietra Trent made her first public appearance since being appointed by President Biden as the new executive director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through HBCUs.

Trent expressed to the audience that she was “excited to partner with the UNCF and its 37 member institutions.”

“I am here to honor you and thank you for the immeasurable contributions you’ve made to our nation. The lives you’ve changed, the countless students you’ve supported and the many communities that have benefitted as a result of your contributions.

“For nearly eight decades, you have provided one of the most powerful voices in advancing and promoting HBCUs. Thank you and congratulations for decades of success,” said Trent.

“Our country is deeply indebted to you and your corporate partners for the tremendous impact you have made on our nation.”

Noting that it was just the fourth day on her new job, Trent said, “I am acutely aware of the enormous task before me. I know the clock is ticking and my time is short.

“So, I just want to pledge to you that I will work hard every single day to ensure that your voices are heard. When I take my seat at the table I do so with a clear understanding that my role is to advance educational equity, excellence and economic opportunity in partnership with you.

“I further understand that key to my role is to lead the effort to break down systemic barriers of opportunity for HBCU participation in government programs. Finally, I am clear that we are partners. If we are to succeed, we must do so as a team,” she said.

“Our load is heavy, and it will take everyone in this room plus many more to move the needle in the next few years. But I am optimistic that we can, and we will.”

Following Trent’s remarks, the coveted UNCF President’s Award was presented to legendary President Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, Sr., (posthumously); Founder and Chairperson of Urban One Inc., Cathy Hughes; and Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, (retired) former president of Texas College and Talladega College.

Another special moment during the evening occurred when five retiring UNCF-member Presidents were acknowledged and saluted: Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Dillard University; Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Huston-Tillotson University; Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, Spelman College; Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Talladega College; and Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., Livingstone College.

The evening was hosted by Benedict College President Dr. Roslyn Carter Artis.

In addition, Oakwood University alumnus and Grammy Award-nominated singer Wintley Phipps sang very powerful renditions of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Singer, songwriter and producer Eric Roberson provided entertainment for the evening.

The national gala raised $820,000.

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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.