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Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, HBCU Executive Leadership Institute Executive Director, To Receive the Johnson C. Smith 2024 'Arch o

Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, HBCU Executive Leadership Institute Executive Director, To Receive the Johnson C. Smith 2024 'Arch of Triumph' Award

PR Newswire

ATLANTA, April 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Clark Atlanta University's HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (HBCU ELI) proudly announced that Executive Director and 18th President of Bennett College, Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, was selected to receive the Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) 2024 'Arch of Triumph Award.'

The awardees will be honored on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at JCSU's 13th Annual Gala inside the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC.  The event is one of many celebrating the Inauguration of JCSU's 15th President, Dr. Valerie Kinloch, who is also an HBCU ELI Inaugural Presidential Fellow.

The JCSU community annually honors those who have positively impacted their community, the University and the gala's overarching mission. Noted as the University's marquee community event, the gala also benefits the JCSU Fund, which empowers the University to provide innovative and challenging academic programs, as well as critical financial support for its students.

Dr. Dawkins served as the 18th President of Bennett College. Under her leadership, Bennett went through a dramatic transformation, including significant annual enrollment and retention increases. The college also gained national attention and praise because of Dawkins' efforts to lead a successful bipartisan legislative effort. The legislation that Dawkins' spearheaded with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) enabled Bennett and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to receive deferments on payments to the HBCU Capital Finance Loan Program. These efforts eventually led to a $1 billion dollar loan forgiveness for all HBCUs. Since Dawkins departure, Bennett has used the resulting $9.2 million from the 'Stand With Bennett' 60-day campaign, the deferment, and loan forgiveness to stabilize financially.

"I'm grateful to my family at JCSU for this esteemed recognition and the opportunity to celebrate one of our inaugural ELI fellows, Dr. Valeria Kinloch," said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Director of the HBCU Executive Leadership program and former President of Bennett College. "This is a full circle moment and affirms our commitment at HBCU ELI and the work we do to identify and cultivate the next generation of HBCU Leaders."

"Dr. Dawkins' contribution to HBCU ELI cannot be overstated. Before equity and inclusion became institutional buzzwords, she was dedicated to increasing leadership and diversity within higher education. She truly embodies CAU's core values," said Dr. George T. French, Jr., President, Clark Atlanta University. "We applaud her unwavering support of HBCUs and making the Executive Leadership Institute a flagship initiative."

The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute endeavors to bolster the readiness of future HBCU presidents and executive leaders. Through the development of a performance-based program, it seeks to actively involve aspiring leaders in authentic HBCU contexts, fostering a learning environment where proficiency can be honed and demonstrated in real-time scenarios.

Now in its fourth year, HBCU ELI has held a pivotal role in cultivating the next generation of leaders within HBCUs. Nearly 100 Fellows have completed the program's robust curriculum and received micro-credentials.

The need for increased funding at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is underscored by statistics from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). According to UNCF, despite enrolling only 8% of all African American students in higher education, HBCUs graduate 17% of all African American students earning bachelor's degrees. However, HBCUs receive only about 3% of philanthropic contributions to higher education, highlighting a critical funding gap that affects their ability to provide quality education and leadership development.

For more information about the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute at Clark Atlanta University, please click here.

About The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute

The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute at Clark Atlanta University (HBCU ELI) equips high-potential leaders with tools and strategies that support the education and business goals of more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through HBCU ELI's comprehensive curriculum, mentorship opportunities, and hands-on experiences, the institute prepares Fellows to take on executive roles and drive positive change within the HBCU community. In addition to granting thousands of degrees each year, HBCUs also boast illustrious alumni like Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others. For program updates and to apply for the inaugural cohort, visit Join the conversation on social media @hbcueli; #hbcueli.

Media Contacts:

Lalohni Campbell,

Press Contact: Lalohni Campbell, 404-593-7145,

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SOURCE The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute

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