Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and University Trustees joined leaders from more than 40 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta on September 27-28 to discuss a collaborative strategy for enhancing the marketing, fundraising, technology and customer service at HBCUs.
As chair of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., FAMU Trustee Thomas Dortch and the 100 Black Men partnered with the National Association For Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund to organize the first National Summit for the Sustainability of HBCUs
Dortch and his children attended HBCUs. During the opening session, he told the presidents and chancellors, “You do a phenomenal job with less, and we want to help you get more.”
The presidents and senior executives leading the helm at corporations and foundations, such as Delta Airlines, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Georgia-Pacific, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UPS and Microsoft joined university leaders and industry experts to form a think tank for sustaining the nation’s 103 HBCUs.
“We brought many foundations and corporations with many resources to the table, and they’re eager to work with our HBCUs,” said Dortch. “This is just the first step. We think we made great strides this first time. We are going to continue working throughout the year.”
President Robinson delivered opening remarks during the Summit’s luncheon and served on the Summit’s steering committee, which was co-chaired by Dortch and Benedict College President Roslyn Artis. FAMU Board of Trustees Chair Kelvin Lawson, Trustee Robert Woody, Interim Vice President for Advancement Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Chief Information Officer Ron Henry II and Kathy Y. Times, Executive Associate Director of the Office of Communications also attended the Summit.
“The summit offered an amazing array of panels and panelists who shared very constructive insights that will benefit those who attended well beyond what anyone expected,” said Robinson.
During the luncheon, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host Tom Joyner was honored for raising millions of dollars for HBCUs through his foundation. The “Fly Jock” and Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, took center stage and shared insights about the success of the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage. The annual cruise raises funds for HBCUs.
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs Johnathan Holifield discussed a variety of collaborative opportunities with university leaders and corporate and federal partners. At the conclusion of the Summit, Dortch announced that task forces will be established to discuss next steps for bringing concepts for collaboration to fruition.