UNCF (United Negro College Fund) today celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special event at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, DC. What began as an urgent call to action from Frederick Douglass, the president of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), to fellow presidents of historically black colleges and universities, has grown into the nation’s largest minority education organization supporting 37 member institutions and students’ dreams of a college degree.
President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax spoke to the crowd of member HBCU representatives, corporate partners, staff and UNCF supporters about the organization’s rich history, the innovation of HBCUs and UNCF’s path toward the next 25 years.
“Today is UNCF’s 75th anniversary. We are celebrating this milestone and kicking off the next 25 years with the launch of the first UNCF Online National Day of Giving. UNCF’s 75 years testify to the power of partnerships to build better futures for our youth and for our nation.”
Lomax continued to say,
“Since our founding in 1944, UNCF has had two major foci—our HBCUs and our students. We remain laser focused on both. We are more committed and more determined than ever to call on Congress, the Administration and our nation to act in behalf of HBCUs and the students we serve, believing as we do in the power of our cause and our shared belief that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”
Following Dr. Lomax, the crowd heard from president of the oldest HBCU in Alabama, Talladega College, Dr. Billy Hawkins, who reiterated that HBCUs are still very relevant and have “been around for as long as most institutions of higher education.” Hawkins commended UNCF on its pursuit of helping students, particularly from Talladega College, who cannot afford college tuition, and for UNCF’s commitment for providing HBCUs “a national platform to stand on”.
Among the celebratory events, UNCF stressed its giving initiative, Day of Giving, encouraging people and organizations to help UNCF send more deserving African American students to college with the goal of raising $375,000 – enough for $5,000 for 75 students.