Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), said he has always believed education is an issue of social justice. Fifty years ago, he began teaching at his alma mater Morehouse College and then at Spelman College. Prior to joining the UNCF, he was president of Dillard University in New Orleans. Lomax said he knows the difference a college education makes for African-American students and the support given to those students when they receive their degree from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) or a Predominately Black Institution (PBI).
“Those two Colleges [Morehouse and Spelman], just like Medgar Evers College, are great institutions because they believe in their students and they want them to be successful,” said Lomax.
Lomax shared his reflections last Monday in Founders Auditorium. His talk was part of the College’s Academic Schools Lecture Series. As part of the College’s celebration of its 50th Anniversary, each academic school will host a featured speaker during the 2019-2020 academic year. The School of Education hosted the second lecture in the series with Lomax. Founders Auditorium was packed, as well as overflow rooms in EOJ and Room 1008 in the Bedroom Building, with more than 400 students from 27 different central Brooklyn schools, as well as faculty, staff, and students from the College.
Lomax used the opportunity to remind students of how African-Americans had to fight for the right to be educated. He encouraged the students in the audience to see college as a necessary next step after high school.
“Education is still a pathway to economic freedom, political power, and wealth.” Lomax continued, “Today, a college education is what a high school diploma used to be: the minimum requirement for most well-paying, fast-growing careers.”
This year, the UNCF celebrates 75 years as the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and educational support to African American students. Lomax shared with the students the ways UNCF can help them obtain scholarships. Additionally, he said his organization would work with Medgar Evers College to create opportunities for students at the College. Lomax said UNCF is committed to supporting the next generation of leaders.
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in and your success will be our dividend.” said Lomax