Monday, November 18, 2013

Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala Raises Over 3.8 Million for HBCUs

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Bill Cosby and TMCF Founder N. Joyce Payne, Ph.D.

“The faculty of these schools still carry on the civil rights movement”
                                                                                            --- Bill Cosby on HBCUs

WASHINGTON, DC – The nation’s capital has a new gala that is primed to become one of the city’s must-attend events.  On November 11th, over 1,400 guests attended the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) 25th Awards Gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel to support students attending the nation’s public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Held for the first time in Washington, DC since the organization relocated there, the gala drew Fortune 500 executives, government agency leaders, HBCU presidents/chancellors, notables and celebrities such as Susan Taylor, Former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, Redskins running back Alfred Morris, hip-hop artist Lil' Mama and MC Lyte, founder of the Hip Hop Sisters Foundation.

The evening was hosted by Emmy and Grammy Award winner comedian and actor Dr. Bill Cosby and featured a performance by Broadway’s original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday. The program and dinner included 2013 award presentations to honorees Janice Bryant Howroyd (CEO of The Year Award), Larry Waters (Community Leader of the Year Award), Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D. (Educational Leadership Award) and Johnson & Johnson (Corporate Leadership Award).

A highlight of the gala was a surprise donation of $1 million from Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of the polling company Gallup, and his wife Susan that will create new TMCF programming and endow 5 scholarships per year for HBCU students. “As Benjamin Franklin once said, an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” said Clifton. “Susan and I are very much committed to higher education and to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. We want ensure that students who want a higher education at an HBCU will have an opportunity to do so.”

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Susan and Jim Clifton

The weekend prior to the gala, 500 students completed TMCF’s four-day Leadership Institute, a premier recruitment conference for public HBCU students.  Both the Leadership Institute and Gala raised more than $3.8 million to further develop minds and deliver the dreams of students attending HBCUs.

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MC Lyte, Jennifer Holliday and Lil' Mama

“The success of this year’s event certifies that Washington, DC is the place to be,” stated TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “I am positive that this black-tie gala has surely surpassed the city’s expectations and will become one of its staple, must-attend events from this day forward because the word is already out for 2014!”

To learn more about the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, visit

Photo credit: Eddie Arrossi; Getty Images courtesy of TMCF

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