Governor welcomes HBCU leaders

Published 10:59 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

MONTGOMERY — Governor Robert Bentley, the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, and the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus hosted the first Alabama Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Presidents’ Retreat on Wednesday at the Wynfield Estate.  The goal of the Retreat was to provide a forum for meaningful dialogue among HBCU presidents and Alabama legislators on securing the future of Alabama’s HBCUs.

Nationwide there are 105 HBCUs, but the State of Alabama ranks first with having the highest number of HBCUs.  The HBCUs in Alabama are: Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Alabama State University, Bishop State Community College, Concordia College, Gadsden State Community College, H. Councill Trenholm State Community College, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, Lawson State Community College, Miles College, Oakwood University, Selma University, Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, Talladega College, and Tuskegee University.

At the Retreat, Gov. Bentley affirmed his strong support for the HBCUs.

Email newsletter signup

“HBCUs are a crucial component of the education landscape in Alabama. This retreat is just the starting point of continuing the conversations that took place and making sure HBCUs have the resources they need to continue their success moving forward,” Governor Bentley said. “Introducing programs like early childhood education to include birth through pre-k curriculum are just some of the ideas that have developed as a result of this retreat. I look forward to observing the progress of these institutions and the advancement of the fine young men and women pursuing their degrees.”

Director Nichelle Nix, of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA), introduced GOMA’s HBCU Initiative, which will encompass a comprehensive strategy for education, advocacy, and strengthening the relationships between state industries and the HBCUs.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a necessary and valuable resource in the world of higher education, producing highly qualified individuals who bring a unique perspective to any industry,” said Nix, who is also a graduate of an HBCU. “It is incumbent upon us as leaders, especially in Alabama, to find ways to connect these diverse pools of talent with the top industries and largest companies in our state.”

Twelve of the 15 HBCU presidents were present, along with several members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.

Discussion topics included promoting the value of HBCUs, establishment of public-private partnerships, and inter-collegiate collaboration.

The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) is a cabinet-level agency established in 2016 by Bentley.

The mission of the office is to ensure the inclusion of minorities and women in the success and prosperity of the State.

With its focus on economic development, civil rights, education and health, GOMA is tasked with advising the governor on issues affecting women and minority communities, and crafting policy recommendations and legislative solutions to those issues.

Alabama is only the second state in the nation to have an Office of Minority Affairs as a cabinet-level office.