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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Announces 2009 Honorees


Thurgood Marshall College Fund Announces 2009 Honorees and 22nd Annual Gala Dinner, TMCF@22: Lighting The Path For Tomorrow's Leaders



NEW YORK, -- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the premier education organization dedicated to preparing a new generation of leaders, has announced a distinguished roster of honorees for its 22nd Anniversary Dinner, TMCF@22: Lighting the Path for Tomorrow's Leaders. Continuing a tradition that began more than 20 years ago in the name of civil rights activist and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, TMCF's annual dinner is designed to raise funds for the organization and to support its mission while shining a spotlight on those who formulate positive contributions in the lives of our nation's future activists and leaders. This year's dinner, co-chaired by John Esposito, president and CEO of Bacardi USA and Bacardi North America and Carl C. Dalstrom, president and CEO of USA Funds, will honor philanthropist "Queen of Hip Hop Soul" Mary J. Blige along with other notable professionals in the fields of education, law and business such as Brent O. E. ClinkscaleJames Mitchell Jr., Charles Merinoff and Dr. Mary Evans Sias. Acclaimed actor, director and humanitarian Danny Glover will serve as master of ceremonies.

"I believe wholeheartedly that early investments made in the lives of tomorrow's leaders yield beneficial outcomes for our nation's future," says Dwayne Ashley, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Our 2009 honorees are especially committed to this philosophy. Therefore, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund applauds them for their sweeping contributions to their communities and to the lives of young adults nationwide."

"It is truly an honor to host the Thurgood Marshall College Funds 22nd anniversary dinner and awards ceremony," comments Danny Glover, a four-time Emmy nominee. "I am also pleased to lend my support to this prestigious and important organization and to celebrate the distinguished roster of honorees who, like the TMCF, are dedicated to ushering in a new generation of leaders through the pursuit of higher education and scholarship."

The 2009 Honorees share the common theme of hope and motivation. The awards will celebrate their achievements and recognize the honorees as the country's foremost visionaries who have taken it upon themselves to use their status to impart a positive impact on the lives of our next generation of leaders. The TMCF@22 honorees will be recognized in five categories, including the Founders Award, Community Leadership Award, Corporate Leadership Award, Educational Leadership Award and The Breaking Barriers Award.

The 2009 Honorees are as follows:

The Breaking Barriers AwardMary J. Blige

To many, Mary J. Blige is an award-winning recording artist, song-writer, producer and actress. However, Blige considers her most vital obligation to be giving back to her community. In 2008, Blige along with Steve Stoute founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc. (FFAWN). This non-profit organization is dedicated to bringing confidence and skills to women aiming to reach their full potential. Mary J. Blige, who has overcome vast obstacles during her personal journey to success duly serves as a role model and source of inspiration for many young adults - yielding her recognition as the 2009 Breaking Barriers Award recipient.

Founders Award: Brent O.E Clinkscale

Brent O.E Clinkscale has been an ardent champion for Thurgood Marshall College Fund's mission and programs during his ten years as its General Counsel. Mr. Clinkscale is a very experienced and effective trial lawyer at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC, trying numerous cases in both the federal and state courts. Mr. Clinkscale practices in the area of business litigation concentrating in complex business disputes and class actions, defending major corporations and municipalities. Mr. Clinkscale demonstrates his commitment to creating diversity in the legal profession through his strong leadership as Chair of Womble Carlyle's Diversity Committee, which spans the firm's eleven offices in six states and Washington, D.C.

Community Leadership Award: Charles Merinoff

Charles Merinoff is Vice Chairman and CEO of The Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG), one of the nation's leading distributors of fine wines, spirits and beer. Today, CSG is a group of affiliated companies operating in 15 markets across the United States. Together these companies employ more than 7,000 associates and distribute more than 60 million cases per year.

Corporate Leadership Award: James Mitchell, Jr.

James Mitchell, Jr. is a 19-year employee of General Electric. Mr. Mitchell began his career in financial services at GE Asset Management (GEAM) as the Manager of Finance and was later promoted to the role of Domestic Equities Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager for GE's Pension Trust. In addition, Mitchell was an M & A Investment Professional at GE Capital for 5-years. In 2001, James rejoined GEAM as a Senior Managing Director in the Alternative Investments Group. At GEAM he was the Senior Investment Manager for a $2.0 billion portfolio of commitments in private equity and the Co-Leader of GE's $2.0 billion global hedge fund.

Mr. Mitchell is a graduate of Purdue University's Krannert School with a B.S. Degree in Finance. He also graduated with an M.B.A. Degree in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Mitchell began his career after Purdue as a Grain Merchandiser at Continental Grain Company. Prior to graduate school, he held staff positions for Member's of Congress in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives as well for the Governor of the State of Louisiana.

Mr. Mitchell has committed close to $1.0 billion of investments with minority and women owned investment firms. Among his many activities, James is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Member of the Governing Board of Directors of the Robert L. Toigo Foundation and a member of the Delta Nu Boule Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi.

Educational Leadership Award: Dr. Mary Evans Sias

Dr. Mary Evans Sias was named the fifteenth President of Kentucky State University by the Board Regents in March, 2004. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, President Sias is a summa cum laude graduate of Tougaloo College, and earned an MBA from Abilene Christian College. Dr. Sias received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was a Ford Foundation Fellow.

About the TMCF@22 Awards Dinner

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund 22nd Anniversary Awards Dinner, TMCF@22: Lighting the Path for Tomorrow's Leaders will take place on Monday, October 26, 2009, at The Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, New York City. The evening's proceeds will benefit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The success of this event will enable TMCF to continue their work as a critical link between deserving students having greater access to higher education and the opportunity to become a part of a new generation of leaders.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 6 law schools located in 22 states and the US Virgin Islands with a population of over 235,000 students. Over the last 22 years, TMCF has awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity support, and scholarships enabling more than 12,000 students to attend public HBCUs. It is the only national organization of its type that provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation's public HBCUs. TMCF also provides internship programs and joins corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for undergraduate and professional schools. TMCF is a 501(c) (3), tax-exempt organization. Please visit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund at

    Will Davison Jr.
    212.573.8545 (Office)
    347.458.2460 (Cell)      Helen C. Shelton
    Ruder Finn, Inc.


SOURCE Thurgood Marshall College Fund

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