Historically black colleges and universities and the road ahead - AEI

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Event Summary

On Friday morning, AEI hosted a discussion on the state of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and what challenges and opportunities await them on the road ahead. 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, Michael Lomax of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Johnny Taylor Jr. of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Beverly Wade Hogan of Tougaloo College.

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. Ms. 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.

—Grant Addison

Event Description

For at least 150 years, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been an important part of America’s higher education system. And while HBCUs face the same financial and regulatory challenges as other postsecondary institutions, their role in preparing first-generation students, lower-income students, and students of color for the ever-changing demands of the workforce and graduate school warrants unique attention by lawmakers and philanthropy.

On Friday, May 26, AEI will host an expert panel to discuss the state of HBCUs today, what higher education can learn from them, and opportunities and challenges that might await them in the future.

Join the conversation on social media with #StateOfHBCUs.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


8:45 AM

9:00 AM
Gerard Robinson, AEI

9:05 AM
Panel discussion

Lezli Baskerville, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Michael L. Lomax, United Negro College Fund
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Beverly Wade Hogan, Tougaloo College

Gerard Robinson, AEI

10:20 AM

10:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Grant Addison at [email protected], 202.862.7181.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Lezli Baskerville is the president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the nonprofit umbrella organization of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black institutions and the only membership association of its kind. In 2004, she was named the first female president of the NAFEO, where she had previously served as interim president and outside counsel. She has also worked as executive director of the National Black Leadership Roundtable, national legislative counsel for the NAACP, a member of the national appellate litigation team of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and an administrative appeals judge in the District of Columbia. Immediately before serving as interim president of NAEFO, Ms. Baskerville was vice president for the College Board, where she was CEO of the board’s Washington, DC, office. As president of NAFEO, she serves as the liaison between HBCUs and government, corporations, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations to champion the interests and build the capacity of the HBCU community. She received her bachelor’s degree from Douglass Residential College in New Jersey and her J.D. from Howard University School of Law.

Michael L. Lomax is the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to African American students and a leading advocate of college readiness. Under his leadership, the UNCF has raised more than $2.5 billion and helped more than 92,000 students earn college degrees and launch careers. Mr. Lomax has worked to provide educational opportunities for African Americans and other Americans of color. Before coming to the UNCF, he was president of Dillard University and a literature professor at Morehouse College and Spelman College. He also served as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in Atlanta, the first African American elected to that post. He serves on the boards of Teach for America and the KIPP Foundation. He also co-chaired the Washington, DC, mayoral education transition team and the search committee for a new DC school chancellor. Mr. Lomax serves on the boards of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History and Culture and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He founded the National Black Arts Festival.

Gerard Robinson is a resident fellow at AEI, where he works on education policy issues including choice in public and private schools, regulatory development and implementation of K–12 laws, the role of for-profit institutions in education, prison education and reentry, rural education, and the role of community colleges and historically black colleges and universities in adult advancement. Before joining AEI, Mr. Robinson served as commissioner of education for the State of Florida and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, he worked to ensure that children in low-income and working-class black families in several states and the District of Columbia were given the opportunity to attend good schools. Throughout his career, he has evaluated the effects of reform initiatives on parental choice and student achievement, advocated for laws to improve delivery of teaching and learning, and published essays on how to make good policy to give all children a chance at a good job and future. A proponent of the importance of education to civil society, Mr. Robinson has spoken before audiences in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. He started his career by teaching fifth grade in a private, inner-city school. He is a member of many education-related boards. His issue brief for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools was cited in an amicus brief presented before the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2013. He has a master’s of education degree from Harvard University, a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Howard University, and an associate of arts degree from El Camino College.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. is the president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending 47 publicly supported historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Before assuming the presidency of the TMCF in 2010, he worked as a senior executive for IAC/InterActiveCorp: first as its senior vice president of human resources and then as the president and CEO of one of IAC’s operating subsidiaries. Before joining IAC, he worked as litigation partner and president of the human resources consulting business for the McGuireWoods law firm; executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Compass Group USA; general counsel and senior vice president of human resources for Viacom’s Paramount Pictures Live Entertainment Group; and associate general counsel and vice president of human resources for Blockbuster Entertainment Group. Mr. Taylor, an Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholar and honors graduate of the University of Miami, went on to earn a master of arts with honors from Drake University and J.D. with honors from the Drake Law School, where he served as research editor of the Drake Law Review and argued on the National Moot Court Team. He currently serves on the corporate board of Gallup and on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Society for Human Resource Management, YMCA, and Cooper Union. He is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

Beverly Wade Hogan is the president of Tougaloo College, where she has served since 2002 as the first female and the 13th president of the historic institution. Before becoming president, she served as the college’s interim president, vice president for institutional advancement, and founding director of the Owens Health and Wellness Center. She served as the commissioner for the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Federal State Programs, and the executive director of the Mental Health Association in Hinds County and the state of Mississippi, respectively. She has been an adjunct instructor in leadership and public policy at Jackson State University; a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University; a scholar with the Kettering Foundation, where her research focus was higher education and civic responsibility; a participant and presenter in the Oxford Roundtable at Oxford University in Oxford, England; and a participant in leadership seminars at Harvard University. Ms. Hogan earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Tougaloo College and master’s in public policy and administration from Jackson State University. She engaged in further doctoral studies in human and organizational development at Fielding Graduate University and holds honorary doctorates from Wiley College, Rust College, Benedict College, and Brown University. Among her extensive roster of achievements, she is the founder of the first psychiatric halfway house in the state of Mississippi and has authored and published works on a diverse array of topics. Ms. Hogan serves on various boards, including BancorpSouth, Sanderson Farms, the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, and Rand’s Gulf States Policy Institute, and she is a member of the national board of directors for the United Negro College Fund. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Board of Advisers on HBCUs. She is also a founding member and former president of the Central Mississippi Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Links Inc.

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