WHIHBCU Announces the 2015 Cohort of HBCU All- Star Students!!

83 Students from 70 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Named 2015 HBCU All-Stars

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs) today announced its 2015 HBCU All-Stars, recognizing 83 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.

The All-Stars were selected from more than 450 students who submitted applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and recommendation. Over the course of the year, the HBCU All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the WHIHBCUs by providing outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the role of the Initiative as a networking resource.  Through social media and their relationships with community based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.

“The Obama Administration is committed to promoting excellence, innovation and sustainability across our nation’s HBCUs. This year’s class of All-Stars has distinguished itself as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and noble ambassadors of their respective institutions.” said Ivory A. Toldson, WHIHBCUs’ acting executive director. “We are confident these impressive students will help the White House Initiative on HBCUs meaningfully engage with students, showcase their talent and advance our agenda to advance academic excellence at HBCUs.”

In addition, the All-Stars will also participate in this year’s White House HBCU Week Conference in September as well as various national events, web chats with Toldson and other Initiative staff and professionals from a range of disciplines.  The All-Stars will have exceptional opportunities to engage with other HBCU scholars and to showcase their individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.

For more information regarding the 2015 HBCU All-Star Student program and application contact: hbcuallstars@ed.gov and follow @WHI_HBCUs on Twitter.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Attached is a list of the 2015 HBCU All-Stars, alphabetical by their hometown state, and including the city they are from, the school they attend and the school’s location.

2015 HBCU All Stars


Greensboro – Jamie Binns, Talladega College, Talladega, AL

Huntsville – Ajiah Graham, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, Huntsville, AL

Huntsville – Kedgeree McKenzie, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL

Tuscaloosa – Avery Brown, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL



Pine Bluff – Sidney Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR



Palmdale – Jynae Jones, Miles College, Fairfield, AL



Denver- Cynthia Hall, St. Philips College, San Antonio, TX



Beachrhell Jacques – University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.



Miami Gardens – AcNeal Williams, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

Miami – Marquise McGriff, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

Orlando, Landon Wright, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL

Tallahassee, Gilda Brown, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL



Atlanta – Jennifer Smith, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL

Atlanta – Lauren Wiggins, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

Atlanta – Rebecca Dorsey, Albany State University, Albany, GA

Atlanta – Chaz Gibson, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Atlanta – Angelica Willis, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC

Atlanta – Alayna Robinson, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Augusta – Patrick Outler, Morris College, Sumter, SC

Barnesville – Austin Ogletree, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC

Covington – Timothy Tukes, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA

Fayetteville – Lindsey Foster, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Macon – Vi’Dual Futch, Benedict College, Columbia, SC

McDonough – Zoe McDowell, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

Warner Robbins – Shelton Bowens, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA



Fishers – Kasey Hornbuckle, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL



Radcliff – Ralph Williams, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY



Baton Rouge – Sally Ross, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA

Gonzales – Sheirvan Ursin, Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, TX

Grambling – Temitayo Michael Akinjogunla, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA

New Orleans – Marina Banks, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA



Bryans Road – Aaleah Lancaster, Bennet College, Greensboro, NC

Capitol Heights – Kayla Fontaine, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

Cheltenham – Leah Williams, Delaware State University, Dover, DE

Fort Washington – Ravenn Mathis, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD

Fort Washington – Antonia Hill, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Laurel – Salematou Traore, University Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Parkville- Marcel Jagne-Shaw, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

Owings Mills – Miles Jenkins, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Waldorf – Danielle Hawkins, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Woodbine – Mya Harvard, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA



Berrien Springs – Rian Cho, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN



Corinth – English Fields, Rust College, Holly Springs, MS

Edwards – Erica Harris, Hinds Community CollegeUtica Campus, Utica, MS

Greenville – Spencer Davis, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS

Jackson – Nina Hill, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS

Natchez – Jonathan Weir, Alcorn State University, Alcorn, MS



Richfeild – Bryann Guyton, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC



Las Vegas – Maliq Kendricks, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL



Camden – Christoff Lindsey, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX



Far Rockaway – Nathalie Nelson, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA

Cambria Heights- Gionelly Mills, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, PA



Charlotte – Elliot Jackson, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC

Charlotte – Raven Weathers, Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC

Charlotte – Mona Zahir, Winston Salem State University, Winston, Salem, NC

Durham – Tamina Kienka, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC

Kinston – Kyle Brown, Winston Salem State University, Winston, Salem, NC

Winston – Salem, Tyler Duncan, Vorhees College, Denmark, SC



Cincinnati – Sierra Blackwell, Fisk University, Nashville, TN

Columbus – Christina Hathcer, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH



Pittsburgh – Kevin Lee, Paul Quinn College, Dallas, TX

York – Kristin Shipley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC



Hemingway – Kimesha Cooper, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg – Kareem Heslop, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg – Samuel Cole, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC

Society Hill – Lamar Butler, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL



Jackson – Tremaine Sails, Dunbar, American Baptist College, Nashville, TN

Memphis – Taevin Lewis, HarrisStowe State University, St. Louis, MO

Memphis – Keenan Lowery, Lane College, Jackson, TN

Memphis – Tamara Bates, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AR



Arlington – Mira Bakine, Langston University, Langston, OK

Dallas – Nateisha Choice, Wiley College, Marshall, TX

Fort Worth – Britt Spears, Prairie View A&M University, Fort Worth, TX

Houston – Quentin Monroe, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Houston – Francis Vazquez, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX



Racine- Jeanni Simpson- Howard University, Washington, DC



Disputanta – Tatyana Calhoun, University of the District of Colombia, Washington, D.C.

Hampton – McKinley Strother, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC

Richmond – Leah Reid, Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA

Virginia Beach – Jasmine Dunbar, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA



St. Thomas – Tonecia Rogers, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI



Enugu – Jude Okanya, Paine College, Augusta, GA



Johannesburg – Andronica Klaas, Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC


The Passing of Executive Director Dr. George Cooper

The Passing of Executive Director Dr. George Cooper

I, along with the entire staff of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. George Cooper.  Yesterday, I spent some time at Dr. Cooper’s home with his family.  As they mourn, they appreciate the encouragement and support from many people with whom Dr. Cooper has inspired.  Dr. Cooper provided us with guidance and mentorship.  As a supervisor, he was light on giving directives and heavy on imparting wisdom.  We grew under his leadership, as he provided the perfect mix of candor, levity and urgency with dealing with office priorities.  He was interesting to listen to and easy to talk with.  He took joy in blending new and senior perspectives on HBCUs.  His legacy lives on through all of us. – Ivory A. Toldson, Deputy Director

Below are official statements on Dr. Cooper’s passing:

Statement by the President on the Passing of Dr. George Cooper

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. George Cooper, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As a native of Tallahassee, FL, George’s love of education and HBCUs began as a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, continuing his education at Tuskegee University and receiving his Ph. D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana. George spent the majority of his life ensuring that students at our nation’s HBCUs were receiving a quality education and had the necessary resources to succeed and make their communities and our country better. He served on the faculty at several universities including Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University and as President of South Carolina State University. His service extended beyond working with students at institutions.  For 17 years, he worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, ensuring that HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions were receiving adequate resources to strengthen research and academic programs. George’s passing is a great loss for my Administration, the HBCU and higher education communities and for everyone that knew him.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Diane, family and friends during this difficult time. – Barack Obama, President

Statement by the Secretary of Education on the Passing of Dr. George Cooper

Dr. Cooper made a tremendous contribution that has benefited countless students in a full and extraordinary career.  Throughout his life, Dr. Cooper was committed to promoting excellence, innovation, and sustainability across our nation’s HBCUs.  Dr. Cooper provided the wisdom and direction needed to form important partnerships between HBCUs and the federal government.  He was staunchly committed to student development and success. This Administration has truly benefited from Dr. Cooper’s leadership and will continue our service and advocacy for HBCUs in a manner that follows his passion, persistence, and humility.  Like everyone here who had the opportunity to work with him, I was touched by his kindness, integrity, wisdom, and commitment.  Although he will be sorely missed, his legacy will live beyond him.  On behalf of the entire Department, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Diane, his children, and the entire Cooper family.  – Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education

Statement by the Chair, President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs on the Passing of Dr. George Cooper

Today we lost a leader, Dr. George Cooper.  My most heartfelt condolences are with his wife, Diane, with whom I spoke earlier today. I have known George for almost forty years.  When I was the Administrative Vice President at Tuskegee University, he was a member of the faculty in the School of Veterinary Medicine.  I asked him to serve on the team preparing for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ reaffirmation of accreditation.  George was a conscientious, energetic and dependable worker.  He was thorough, focused and no-nonsense.  After that, every opportunity I had to have him serve on a committee, I had him do so.  I knew we could count on him. Later, when Dr. Cooper became president of South Carolina State University, our paths crossed often.  His wife, Dianne, my wife, Norma, he and I became good friends. In his most recent role as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, we met just about every Wednesday by phone and attended meetings together in Washington.  George always had the best interests of HBCUs at heart; and as he did forty years ago, he worked hard and conscientiously during his tenure at the White House Initiative for the benefit of the institutions about which he cared deeply.   He will be sorely missed by the community he served. – Chair William Harvey

Statement by CBC Chairman on the Passing of Dr. George Cooper

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. George Cooper, a lifelong supporter of higher education and our country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  As a former president of South Carolina State University and the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Dr. George Cooper understood well the role that HBCUs continue to play in providing access to higher education for many African American and minority students.  He was a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and served 17 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he provided key oversight on programs and legislation impacting historically black land grant universities and other minority serving institutions.  Over the course of his life, Dr. George Cooper contributed great service to our country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the impact of his legacy of service as a leader and champion in higher education will be remembered for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. – Chair G. K. Butterfield


President Obama Honors the Life of Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pickney

White House Blog Post – President Obama Honors the Life of Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney

Watch the full Eulogy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRvBzzR5tdA

“We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed.”

— President Obama, on the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney



WASHINGTON – Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project Inc.:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Fair Housing Act encompasses disparate impact claims, which are an essential tool for realizing the Act’s promise of fair and open access to housing opportunities for all Americans.  While our nation has made tremendous progress since the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, disparate impact claims remain an all-too-necessary mechanism for rooting out discrimination in housing and lending.  By recognizing that laws, policies and practices with unjustified discriminatory effects are inconsistent with the Fair Housing Act, today’s decision lends support to hardworking Americans who are attempting to find good housing opportunities for themselves and their families.  Bolstered by this important ruling, the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act with every tool at its disposal – including challenges based on unfair and unacceptable discriminatory effects.”


The Supreme Court Upholds Critical Part of the Affordable Care Act

FACT SHEET: The Supreme Court Upholds Critical Part of the Affordable Care Act

What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

After nearly a century of work, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. Since then, health reform has become the law of the land and after more than five years under the law, it has been woven into the fabric of an improved American health care system, on which Americans can rely throughout life. And it’s probably impacting your life in ways you do not realize. Young adults can stay on their family’s plan. People losing jobs, changing jobs, or breaking out on their own no longer have to worry about whether they can get health insurance. Having a pre-existing condition or being a woman no longer means you pay for more coverage. And, affordability has improved – from insurance that is there for you when you need it to discounts on prescription drugs in Medicare. 

Here are examples of how the law has already made the health care system better and is providing all Americans with the peace of mind that comes with health security:

  • Better benefits and consumer protections: More than 137 million Americans now have guaranteed access to preventive care, including immunizations, well child visits, certain cancer screenings, and contraceptive services, with no additional out-of-pocket costs as well as no more annual caps on essential benefit coverage and new annual limits on out-of-pocket costs.
  • Dramatic decline in the uninsured, including more young adults covered: We’ve seen the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the early 1970s, and the uninsured rate is now at the lowest level recorded across five decades of data.  Since several of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions took effect, more than 16 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage.  Over 4 million young adults have gained coverage, many through the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan to age 26 and its broader expansion of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid.  By the second quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among young adults had dropped by more than 40 percent.  And a recent study found that over 85 percent of individuals newly covered by the ACA like their insurance.
  • Safer hospital stays: From 2010 to 2013, an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions and hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, a 17 percent decline over the three year period.  The Affordable Care Act also improves care received through incentives that promote quality of care and time spent between patients and doctors.
  • Savings for seniors: More than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved an average of $1,600 per person on their prescription medicine, over $15 billion in all since the Affordable Care Act became law.
  • Numerous affordable coverage options: About 85 percent of those who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (about 8.7 million individuals) qualified for an average tax credit of $272 per month.  About 8 in 10 of individuals signing up for qualified health plans this year had the option of selecting a plan with a premium of $100 or less after tax credits.  And there are more insurance plan options in many areas of the country.
  • More covered by Medicaid: As of April 2015, 12.3 million additional Americans were covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program compared to the start of October 2013, when the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment began.  To date, 28 States and DC have expanded Medicaid.
  • Savings for hospitals: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals saved an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014 because of less uncompensated care, with about two-thirds of the total savings going to hospitals in States that have expanded Medicaid.  Reduced hospital uncompensated care means less of a “hidden tax” for insured Americans.

President Obama’s health care policies have even broader and more transformative implications for the U.S. economy.  The ability to buy affordable plans through a competitive Marketplace will allow countless Americans to move, start businesses, and dream big American dreams – without worrying if an illness will bankrupt them.  And, slowing health care costs have reduced the Federal budget deficit and enabled businesses to invest in jobs and a growing American economy.

While progress has been made, we will continue to work to make health care even better, starting with making sure people understand and benefit from the law.  We will continue to work toward a health care system that results in better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, with an empowered, educated and engaged consumers in the center.  This includes promoting preventive care, securing coverage for all Americans, and further driving down the cost of care to keep our economy strong.  And we’ll continue to work with the 22 States who have not yet taken advantage of Federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to over 4 million Americans in need.

PHMSA Offering $2 Million in University Research Grants for Pipeline Safety Solutions

PHMSA 01-15

Friday, April 10, 2015

Contact:  Patricia Klinger

Tel.:  (202) 366-4831


PHMSA Offering $2 Million in University Research Grants for Pipeline Safety Solutions

Grants Support Agency’s Recruitment Efforts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced that it is offering $2 million in grants for students and faculty at nonprofit institutions of higher education to research pipeline safety solutions – more than twice the amount awarded last year.  In addition to funding potential transportation solutions, PHMSA offers the grants to expose new engineers and scientists to the technical side of the energy transportation sector, supporting the agency’s recruitment efforts.

“The time is now to start investing in long-term safety innovations and retain a highly skilled, federal workforce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “These grants will encourage students to use innovation and explore new ways to envision pipeline safety solutions for our transportation problems.”

The agency is hiring more than 100 new employees this year, most of whom will serve as pipeline safety inspectors.  The Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP) supports the agency’s oversight of the nation’s exponentially growing energy production and transportation, and helps address the need for new technically trained federal employees.

Launched in 2013, the CAAP has grown based on previous student accomplishments and university interest.  To date, PHMSA has awarded more than $1.5 million to nearly 80 students’ multi-year research projects.  This year’s applicants may receive up to $300,000 for their proposed studies.  The awards are partially matched by non-federal funding.

A third of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire by 2017, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“We’re not simply offering grants through the Competitive Academic Agreement Program; we’re demonstrating to engineering and technical students that their disciplines are in demand in the energy pipeline sector,” said PHMSA Acting Administrator Timothy Butters.  “PHMSA provides safety oversight for the country’s 2.6-million-mile pipeline network, and we need out-of-the-box thinkers.”

At least 48 hours prior to submitting proposals, applicants should register on PHMSA’s Research & Development website.  Official grant applications are due via Grants.gov on Monday, May 18, 2015. Applicants without a Grants.gov login access should request registration at least two weeks ahead of the grant deadline.

In consultation with other federal and state officials as well as other stakeholders, PHMSA is specifically seeking projects that address technical gaps in the following areas:

  • Preventing and Mitigating Pipeline Corrosion – What innovative new solutions can be proposed in chemical treatments or materials to prevent or manage on-shore hazardous liquid and/ or natural gas pipeline corrosion?
  • Developing Locatable Plastic Pipelines – Excavation damage to buried pipelines can be prevented when professionals detect and mark buried utility lines; however, many plastic pipes can go undetected with current above-ground technology.  Are there effective ways to add or insert electro/mechanical/metallic material to plastic pipes to make it locatable above-ground?  How would you innovate above-ground technology to detect plastic pipes?
  • Developing Inspection Tools to Quantify Pipe Strength and Toughness – How would you develop tools to accurately quantify pipeline strength and toughness which would allow pipeline operators to better understand and manage risks?

Proposals are evaluated on their scientific merit and quality as well as the feasibility of their management plans, work tasks, budgets and schedules.  In the long run, PHMSA intends to adopt the most promising findings into its core research program for further investigation.  For more information, potential applicants should read the full grant solicitation on Grants.gov.  Users can find the solicitation and announcement by searching with CFDA number 20.724 or Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5615SN0003.


The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Please visit http://phmsa.dot.gov for more information.


California Community Colleges forges guaranteed transfer agreement with nine HBCUs

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                     

California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

March 17, 2015

Contact: Paige Marlatt Dorr

Office: 916.327.5356

Cell: 916.601.8005

Office email: pdorr@cccco.edu

California Community Colleges forges guaranteed transfer agreement with nine historically black colleges and universities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Beginning fall 2015, California community college transfer students who meet certain academic criteria will be guaranteed admission to nine historically black colleges and universities, thanks to an agreement the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the leaders of the institutions signed at the board’s meeting today.

“The California Community Colleges is working on multiple fronts to open avenues of opportunity for our students,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “This agreement opens a new and streamlined transfer pathway for our students to some of the finest and culturally diverse institutions of higher learning in the United States. I thank our nine partners for working with us to make it possible.”

The nine historically black colleges and universities participating in the agreement are:

Under the agreement, students who apply to the schools and obtain a transfer-level associate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and complete either the University of California Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, or the California State University General Education Breadth pattern, will be guaranteed admission with junior standing.

A second option to earn guaranteed admission requires transfer students to earn 30 or more CSU or UC transferrable units with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Other advantages conferred to transfer students under the agreement include priority consideration for housing, consideration for transfer scholarships for students with a 3.2 or higher GPA, and pre-admission advising.

For certain majors, students may need to fulfill additional prerequisites and other requirements.

Eight of the participating colleges and universities are private institutions. Lincoln University of Missouri is public, and will offer in-state tuition for California community college transfer students.

Today’s agreement supports a White House initiative, led by Dr. George Cooper, to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality higher education to students.

“California community college students and the nine participating schools will benefit immensely from the agreement,” said Cooper. “The schools will have an even larger pool of gifted students knocking on their doors and California community college students will be guaranteed transfer to four-year institutions with rich histories, traditions and track records of success.”

Historically black colleges and universities were founded to serve the higher education needs of African-American students, though they are open to students of any ethnicity.

These colleges and universities are typically smaller in student size than other schools. Many classes are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants in a nurturing and supportive environment with many opportunities for student leadership development.

Jovon Duke, 22, attended El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. and transferred to Fisk University in 2013 because of its small class sizes and friendly, supportive atmosphere. “Fisk is such a tight-knitted community and Nashville is great. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to take on leadership positions and have made many friends and close relationships with my professors. I love it here,” said Duke. He plans on earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and moving on to either Middle Tennessee State University or Case Western to get a master’s degree in social work.

There are 105 historically black colleges and universities in the country, with most located in the South and East Coast.

Many historically black colleges and universities were founded after the Civil War, after the Morrell Act permitting the development of land grant colleges was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

For more information on today’s agreement and the participating colleges and universities, please visit www.cccco.edu/HBCUTransfer.


The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/, https://www.facebook.com/CACommColleges, or https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges.



MBK: One-Year Progress Report to the President


Office of the Press Secretary


March 5, 2015


My Brother’s Keeper Task Force: One-Year Progress Report to the President

On February 27, 2014, President Barack Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) and issued a powerful call to action to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people, and often by boys and young men of color in particular. The President’s announcement encouraged candid dialogues around the country and a greater sense of responsibility among community leaders, and young people themselves to put all youth in a position to thrive, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Over the course of the past year, efforts have advanced along three areas of focus based on the goals laid out in the MBK Presidential Memorandum: state and local engagement, private sector action – independent nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate action; and Public Policy review and reform. The report being released today provides an update on all three approaches over the course of a year since the MBK launch. You can find the full report HERE.


State and Local Engagement: The MBK Community Challenge

Since late September 2014, nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge in partnership with more than 2,000 individual community-based allies. These “MBK Communities” are working with leading experts in youth and community development to design and implement cradle-to-college-and-career action plans. Within six months of accepting the Challenge, MBK Communities commit to review local public policy, host action summits, and start implementing their locally tailored action plans to address opportunity gaps. MBK Communities are provided with technical assistance to develop, implement and track plans of action from both federal agencies and independent organizations with related expertise.


Challenge acceptors (full list) include:

  • The nation’s five largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
  • Small cities and towns, including Prichard, AL, Berea, OH, Carlisle, PA, Holly Hill, SC, and Ranson, WV.
  • Cities with some of the highest African American populations, including Detroit, Birmingham and Washington, DC.
  • Cities with some of the highest Hispanic populations, including San Francisco, Dallas, Miami and Phoenix.
  • Seventeen Tribal Nations, including the Cherokee, Cheyenne River, Hoonah and Navajo tribal nations.


Private-Sector Action: Business, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Action

Foundations, businesses, and social enterprises have responded to the President’s call to action by taking steps to ensure that communities have the support they need and by providing funding and advice for aligned national initiatives. More than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources have been independently committed already to advance the mission of MBK, including  investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms, and school redesign. For example, the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) is coordinating the leaders of 63 of the largest urban school systems in the country in a pledge to change life outcomes by better serving students at every stage of their education; Prudential announced a commitment of $13 million to support technical assistance for MBK Communities as well as impact investments for innovative for-profit and nonprofit social purpose enterprises that eliminate barriers to financial and social mobility; and on Christmas Day 2014, the NBA launched a public service announcement and campaign in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to recruit 25,000 new mentors over the next five years.


Policy: The Federal Response

The MBK Task Force, an interagency working group of representatives of over ten agencies across the Federal government,  has encouraged and tracked implementation of the recommendations outlined in the initial 90-day report issued in May. Those efforts have led to greater focus on federal investments that support evidence-based interventions. For example, grant programs, like the Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, harness federal resources to create clearer pathways to success by helping youth build both work and life skills. Public-private partnerships like Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps are working with the Corporation for National and Community Service to engage underserved youth in service that has the potential to transform their lives and the communities they serve. Similarly, the Departments of Education and Justice issued Correctional Education guidance to help to ensure that incarcerated youth have the full protection of existing laws and benefits. The federal government has also advanced its efforts to track quality data for boys and young men of color and their peers.

Through MBK, this Administration will continue to improve transparency and accountability to address persistent opportunity gaps at every level and improve outcomes for all young people to ensure they have the opportunity to succeed.


You can find the full report HEREhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/mbk_progress_report_0.pdf



White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”


Office of Communications


February 20, 2015


White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”

WASHINGTON, DC – On February 24, the White House will recognize faculty and staff members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as “Champions of Change” who are finding success promoting college completion and success. These leaders have worked with students, families, and policymakers to build pathways to graduation at their respective institutions. The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by actor and E! News Co-Host, Terrence Jenkins, remarks from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/live< on February 24, at 10:00AM.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit >www.whitehouse.gov/champions<. Follow the conversation at #HBCUchamps.

Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., Auburn Alabama

Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Integrative Biosciences PhD Program at Tuskegee University.  This program facilitates the progression of talented, motivated students from the collegiate through doctorate level to careers in the professorate and other areas.  A second-generation college graduate and the second person in her family to receive a PhD degree, Dr. Alexander is also a collaborator on several federally-funded projects involving graduate and undergraduate education, especially initiatives meant to increase access to education for socioeconomically-deprived students. She also leads programs designed to increase both diversity and America’s competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, Ph.D., PE, Wilberforce, Ohio

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, serves as a Professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Past Chairman of the Manufacturing Engineering Department undergraduate program at Central State University (CSU). Over the past 30 years, he has supported hundreds of CSU Manufacturing Engineers, CSU STEM students, and CSU graduates, leading to their gainful employment in the U.S. and around the world.

Frank A. James, Little Rock, Arkansas

Frank James is a Professor of Mathematics at Philander Smith College a small Methodist institution located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Philander Smith College from 2006-2013. He also serves as the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Implementation Grant [2012-2017]. He mentors students interested in becoming Engineers through a 3/2 joint MOU with the University of Arkansas and Philander Smith College.

Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., Bowie, Maryland

Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bowie State University, one of the oldest historically black universities in the nation and the oldest in the state of Maryland. In his capacity he works with and advises the Provost on student concerns ranging from academic difficulties to retention and graduation efforts. Also, he is tenured faculty in the Child and Adolescent Studies program, preparing graduates to make significant contributions in the global community.

Gregory Goins, Ph.D., Greensboro, North Carolina

Dr. Goinsis an Associate Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University where he organized the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network for Diversity (iBLEND). The iBLEND initiative represents a partnership between faculty mentors from various science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines working together to retain undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In addition, iBLEND mentors help students prepare for future post-graduate opportunities and careers primarily at the interface between biology and mathematics. Since 2010, over 100 undergraduates from North Carolina A&T State University have completed research internships collaborating with iBLEND.

Herbert W. Thompson, Ph.D., Daytona Beach, Florida

Dr. Herbert W. Thompson is a tenured professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM) at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Under Dr. Thompson’s leadership, the CSEM, which is organized into five departments offering curricula for Baccalaureate Degrees, recently assessed each program to insure that graduates have the knowledge to solve real world problems.  A strong student advocate, Dr. Thompson continues to mentor students and faculty.  Over the years he has guided many to careers in medicine, STEM research and STEM education.  Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Chair of the Department of Biology and Project Director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Bethune-Cookman.

J.K. Haynes, Atlanta, Georgia

J.K. Haynes is the David Packard Professor of Science and Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia.  For over 36 years, he has served as a research scientist, professor and administrator at the College.  During this time, he has led numerous efforts to enrich the curriculum and to provide engaging extra-curricula experiences for STEM students as well as to increase the number of STEM graduates of the College.

Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., Huntsville, Alabama

Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., currently serves as the Chairperson and an Associate Professor of the Communication Department at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.   In addition to classroom teaching and academic advising, Dr. Elliott serves as coach of Oakwood’s Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) team, a post she’s held for over 17 years.  Influenced by her mentoring and advising, the team has won two championships and placed in the top four on five occasions. In 2014, HCASC named her Coach of the Year.  Dr. Elliott’s committee posts include the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Rank and Continuous Appointment, and the Dean’s Council.

Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D, Princess Anne, Maryland

Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. serves as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, Maryland. UMES is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and 1890 Land Grant Institution dedicated to providing educational programs for aspiring students. Dr. Johnson has centered his professional efforts on identifying, securing, and establishing resources that create awareness and stimulate interests in the vast opportunities that exist in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. He and a team of faculty members have secured over $3,000,000 in federal, state, and industry funds to aid students in completing financial obligations related to collegiate study, gateway course completion, completing intense research projects, and matriculation to graduation. In addition, Dr. Johnson served, from 1999-2009, as the Director of the UMES Summer Transportation Institute, supported through funds provided from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration. The program assisted over 200 high school students in honing essential academic and social skills necessary for successful entry into collegiate environments and matriculation through STEM disciplines.

Tanya V. Rush, Baltimore, Maryland

Tanya V. Rush, serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Representing the Vice President in various capacities and special projects, her primary responsibilities include oversight for the Division’s fiscal affairs and providing direct oversight to the directors of the University Health Center, Student Center/Student Activities, and the University Chapel.  Always willing to serve, Tanya volunteers her time with numerous university committees and worthwhile community activities. But her greatest joy is her service to students, undergraduate and graduate.  She is student-centered, dedicated to student development and success – academically, personally and professionally.

Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, Ph.D., Montgomery, Alabama

Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and is a child of the civil rights movement. She is a professional actress; motivational speaker, theatre director, national museum exhibit director, tenured professor, and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University.  Dean Stewart is a graduate of Jackson State University (B.S.), the University of California at Santa Barbara (M.A.), and Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Theatre.  Stewart was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU school of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. She is a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award winner for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.”  She holds four honorary doctorates degrees and is a life member of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.