Lomax, Panel Discuss HBCUs and the Road Ahead

“Higher education is at a crossroads, where institutions need to reorient in the business model to be more ‘student-ready.’” 

On May 26, 2017, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, participated in a panel discussion on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the challenges and opportunities that await them on the road ahead. The discussion was hosted by The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.

“We often talk about HBCUs while looking through a rear-view mirror, …but it’s important to talk about the road ahead—to talk about the future, to talk about innovation, to talk about the road ahead,” said Lomax. “Higher education is at a crossroads, where institutions need to reorient in the business model to be more ‘student-ready.’”

AEI’s Gerard Robinson moderated a distinguished panel of leaders and practitioners in HBCUs and higher education, including Lezli Baskerville of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, Johnny Taylor, Jr., of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Beverly Wade Hogan of Tougaloo College [a UNCF-member institution], and Lomax.

Dr. Lomax discussed the innovative steps that UNCF is taking through its Career Pathways Initiative to improve student pathways in higher education toward faster degree completion and more seamless career transition.

Baskerville emphasized the need to change the prevailing narrative surrounding HBCUs to properly reflect the demographic, academic, and entrepreneurial diversity of their student populations and institutional impact. Mr. Taylor urged that advocates and leaders must be constructively critical and clear-eyed about the hard questions facing HBCUs if they are to not only survive but also thrive in the century to come. And Dr. Hogan illustrated the ways that Tougaloo College and other HBCUs are adapting to better suit the new and emerging needs of their students and faculty while retaining a commitment to their traditions and historical legacy.

View the event here


Summary courtesy Grant Addison, AEI