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Senators discuss ways to strengthen HBCUs
Chris Hagan
April 23, 2013

Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist and Sen. Kay Hagan U.S. Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr recently hosted a summit with chancellors and presidents from North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to discuss ways to strengthen HBCUs. The Senators sought input on important education and workforce development issues facing Congress and welcomed the chance to listen to North Carolina HBCUs’ chancellors and presidents.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to hear directly from chancellors and presidents from North Carolina’s HBCUs so we can continue taking steps to make these outstanding colleges and universities even stronger,” Hagan said. “The feedback and suggestions I received today will be invaluable in assuring that our HBCUs can continue to offer the very best education possible for students in North Carolina.”

“I am most grateful to Senators Hagan and Burr for their insight in providing a great day on the Hill for North Carolina for Chancellors and Presidents,” said Dr. Willie Gilchrist, Chancellor, Elizabeth City State University. “Receiving great information first hand always makes a difference. Their dedication is appreciated.”

“Once again senator Kay Hagan has evidenced her support for HBCU's by hosting the Chancellors and Presidents Summit at the U.S. Capitol,” said Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University. “She encouraged a frank discussion about critical issues that will have a significant impact on the future success of N.C HBCU's.”

Donald Julian Reaves, Ph.D said: “The contributions of the nation’s HBCUs is one of America's great untold stories. The Presidents and Chancellors Summit that was hosted by North Carolina Senators Hagan and Burr provided a unique opportunity for the presidents and chancellors to make the senators aware of the challenges that we face, and to tell our stories. It was time well-spent, and against the backdrop of the budget processes underway at both the federal and state levels, the opportunity was timely.” In addition to the one-on-one discussions with Senators Hagan and Burr, the Chancellors and Presidents met with John Brown, Interim Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and Don Watson, Director of the HBCU Capital Financing Program to discuss ways to increase graduation rates. They also talked about the Higher Education Act with education staff from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as it begins work to reauthorize the law. Members of North Carolina’s House delegation also met with the group.

For each of the last three years, Hagan has led the Senate in passing a bipartisan resolution with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) designating “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week” to recognize the 105 HBCUs around the country, including many in North Carolina. Hagan has also led her colleagues in pushing to maintain funding for HBCUs.

Additionally, Hagan has supported key investments in HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions to renew, reform and expand programming to ensure that students have the support they need to stay in school and graduate.

Attendees at the HBCU Summit included:
  • Dr. Willie Gilchrist, Chancellor, Elizabeth City State University
  • Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University
  • Dr. Donald Reaves, Chancellor, Winston Salem State University
  • Dr. Barry Burks, Vice Chancellor of Research & Economic Development, North Carolina A & T State University
  • Mr. Wendell Phillips, Director for State and Community Relations, North Carolina A & T State University
  • Ms. Starla Tanner, Director of Government and Community Relations, North Carolina Central University
  • Ms. Emily Dickens, Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations, UNC General Administration


For more information on this press release, contact:

Chris Hayden 919-325-6000

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