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Valerie Jarrett, Dec. 2014

Valerie Jarrett, Dec. 2014

Despite the distressing state of historically black colleges and universities, there are individuals working within the education institutions who are working hard to drive change. Tomorrow, the White House will honor faculty and staff members at HBCU’s for their efforts in promoting college completion by recognizing them as “Champions of Change.” The Champions for Change program was designed to highlight individuals who have made the effort to empower and uplift people within their local communities. The group of individuals joined forces with students, families, and policymakers to create strategies for success for those who attend their institutions of higher learning. Those who are being honored will include A. Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., who serves as Director of the Integrative Biosciences PhD Program at Tuskegee University; Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, Ph.D., PE, who is a professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Past Chairman of the Manufacturing Engineering Department undergraduate program at Central State University (CSU); Frank A. James, who serves as a Professor of Mathematics at Philander Smith College a small Methodist institution located in Little Rock, Arkansas; Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., who is the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bowie State University; Gregory Goins, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University and organizer of the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network; Herbert W. Thompson, Ph.D., who serves as a professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM) at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida; J.K. Haynes, the David Packard Professor of Science and Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College; R. Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., a Chairperson and an Associate Professor of the Communication Department at Oakwood University; Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D, the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Tanya V. Rush, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan State University; and Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, Ph.D., the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University. The event will feature a panel discussion hosted by Terrence Jenkins of E! News. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett (pictured) will also provide remarks. The event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. You can watch it live on the White House’s website.

Educator Valerie Smith Will Become Swarthmore’s First Black President

Valerie Smith, a dean and professor of literature and African-American studies at Princeton, is making strides within the realm of education. It was recently announced that she will become Swarthmore College’s first African American president. Smith will take the helm of the 150-year-old educational institution on July 1. “I was really struck by the passionate commitment faculty, staff, and students have toward Swarthmore…the level of deep intellectual engagement.” Smith said in a statement. “I would hope to be able to enhance opportunity for engagement with the broader Swarthmore community, with the region, and the city of Philadelphia.” At the college, which only has 1,500 students, African Americans make up 6 percent of the student body and whites make up 43 percent. “I think this is a marvelous fit,” said Gil Kemp, Chairman of Swarthmore’s board. “Her awareness of our distinctive competence, focus on academic rigor, commitment to the common good—it’s a marvelous confluence.” Read more.

B. Scott Settles Lawsuit With BET

Two years after transgender television personality B. Scott filed a lawsuit against BET and Viacom after she claimed that she was banned from hosting the red carpet during the BET Awards because she was wearing women’s clothing, Scott has finally received justice. Scott recently posted on her website that her, BET and Viacom have reached a settlement. Getting to this point was an uphill battle for Scott. A judge ruled that the network did nothing wrong but Scott later filed an appeal. “After two years of a lengthy legal battle with BET/Viacom, I can say that a settlement has been reached and the matter is resolved,” said Scott in a statement. “It’s never an easy decision to stand up for yourself and fight for your right to be who you are. It’s something that I believe in and it’s something that I’ll always continue to defend. I’m proud to say I’m part of the change. I truly hope that by walking in my truth it encourages others to be who they are.” Read more.

Higher Ed: The White House to Honor HBCU Leaders, Black Woman To Head Elite College  was originally published on