ALBANY — A group boosting Albany State University and looking to fend off a move to separate it from the state’s university system will continue its efforts at a Monday meeting.
Speakers at the 6 p.m. meeting at Union Missionary Baptist Church will be businessman Gilbert Udoto, the Rev. Lorenzo Heard and A.l. Fleming, Albany State’s vice president of institutional advancement.
As they have gained support, organizers have shifted the focus from, “We love our historically black colleges and universities” to ‘We are making it happen!”
“For the most part, we’re still garnering support from our alumni and even at the national (level),” said Tia Juana Mallone. “It has bolstered giving, because this is a concentration on the need.”
Mallone, Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard and Udoto began organizing after legislation was introduced in January that would separate Albany State and sister historically black universities Fort Valley State and Savannah State U from the University System of Georgia.
On Monday, the group plans to encourage attendees to donate to Albany State to make it strong for the future, regardless of the outcome of the proposed legislation, which could be reintroduced in 2020, Howard said.
Dec. 3 is International Day of Giving, and the idea is to ask people to keep the three universities in mind when they make their donations on that day, he said.
“Whether or not the bill passes, this is something we need,” Howard said.
The group also is planning a telethon to gather financial support for the cause. In addition, they are looking at having four fundraising events next year.
One fraternity has pledged $100,000 so far and another has pledged $25,000, Udoto said.
“There are good people out there who are ready to help,” the businessman said. “They want this university to succeed. They want this city to grow.
“What we’re doing here is just a beginning, a new day in Albany.”