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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Delivers Dreams

NEW YORK -- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the strongest voice for the 47 Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 6 Law schools across the nation, has announced a distinguished roster of honorees for its 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner which will take place on Monday, November 1, 2010 in the Metropolitan Ballroom of the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers.  The event is a continuing tradition that began more than 20 years ago in the name of civil rights activist and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  As the Thurgood Marshall College Fund's signature fundraising event, the annual Awards Dinner has, over the years, significantly advanced the organization's mission while championing academic excellence and supporting students at public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  

This year's Awards Dinner will recognize the achievements of some of the nation's foremost visionaries who promote diversity, leadership and community service.  The 2010 Honorees include:  Neil Golden, senior vice president, chief marketing officer, McDonald's USA, LLC; Rhonda Mims, president, ING Foundation & senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs; Kenneth Wilcox, senior vice president of sales, LALA USA; and, Dr. George C. Wright, president, Prairie View A&M University.

"The Thurgood Marshall College Fund continues its unwavering commitment to supporting public HBCUs and the thousands of students who benefit from the education and experience these schools and their faculty provide," comments Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.   "This year's Awards Dinner is an extension of our commitment and mission established more than 20 years ago.  We are therefore delighted to recognize the contributions of our 2010 honorees who serve as strong voices for public HBCUs and the approximate 235,000 students that attend TMCF Colleges and Universities."

The 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner concludes TMCF's annual Anniversary Weekend, which also brings together more than 600 students from across the country for a Leadership Institute and Recruitment Conference.  With over 100 corporations and government agencies participating, these students are provided an excellent opportunity to network with and learn from noted industry executives.  

2010 Honorees

The 2010 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 2010 Honorees are as follows:

Community Leadership Award:  Neil Golden

Neil Golden's leadership within the community has delivered strong results across diverse business environments.  Mr. Golden is responsible for the success of McDonald's USA as the company's senior vice president and chief marketing officer.  He plays an integral role in leading, developing, and executing fully integrated marketing plans to drive and sustain long-term growth for the company. Mr. Golden demonstrates a tremendous amount of leadership, expertise, and insight as he is also a strategist and motivator, leading several marketing teams in a diverse array of areas including consumer insights, marketing planning, field marketing, and overall pricing strategy amongst many others. Mr. Golden also holds positions on multiple boards and councils including the Board of Directors for the Association of National Advertisers, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

"I am honored and humbled by this award from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund," says Mr. Golden.  "The organization is a shining example of social responsibility at its very best and I am truly proud to accept the award and even more so to be involved with an organization that is literally helping to shape the future of our country by investing in the education and leadership development of students at public HBCUs."

Corporate Leadership Award:  Rhonda Mims

Rhonda Mims' commitment to diversity is best exemplified through her efforts in developing corporate and multicultural affairs strategies for ING Americas, which have focused on a range of topics including children's education and outreach to diverse communities.  Ms. Mims serves on the board of directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center.  She is also a Trustee of America's Promise, an organization founded by General Colin Powell as a collaborative network that facilitates volunteer action for children and youth.   Ms. Mims is a recipient of the Daniel R. McLeod Award for her efforts in prosecuting white-collar crimes for the South Carolina Department of Revenue, and was also named one of PR News' 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Executives of the Year.

"My professional and personal commitment to advancing diversity in America is embodied in receiving this wonderful award and recognition from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund which serves as a source of inspiration and beacon of hope for thousands of students across the country," says Ms. Mims.  "I am grateful for this award and will continue to use my position and voice to advocate for TMCF and its extraordinary work and impact on the future of our youth."

Founders Award:  Kenneth Wilcox

Kenneth Wilcox currently serves as senior vice president and chief customer officer of LALA USA, which ranks as the largest dairy company in Latin America and the second largest in the United States. Mr. Wilcox oversees the overall direction of the sales function, providing thought leadership that translates corporate strategies and activities into tactics and tangible results.  A motivational and inspirational leader among his peer group and colleagues and having held multiple senior customer-facing and field leadership roles throughout his career, Mr. Wilcox joined LALA USA to help build a world-class selling organization.  He has worked effortlessly to help build the talent pipeline for the company's next generation of leaders, while establishing new, strong strategic customer partnerships and alliances external to the company. Mr. Wilcox is a member of the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and serves on the TMCF Executive Committee as Chair of the Finance Committee. His passion remains in the education of our country's most precious asset, young people, and assisting them in the affordability of a higher education.

"Corporate America truly benefits from the efforts and work of TMCF through its network of programs and resources that they avail to promising students at some of the finest colleges and universities in America," says Kenneth Wilcox.  "I am very proud to be a part of the organization and have the distinct privilege of seeing the results of its efforts first-hand.  I thank the TMCF for this award and accept it in honor of the legacy of Thurgood Marshall and in honor of the thousands of students touched by this legacy."

Educational Leadership Award:  Dr. George C. Wright

President of Prairie View A&M University and a noted African American scholar, Dr. George C. Wright leads the 130-year old HBCU with an established reputation for producing thousands of African American engineers, nurses and educators. Throughout his career in teaching, Dr. Wright has received the top teaching award in both the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, and the top teaching award for the entire university, Lillian and Tom B. Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellow.  Dr. Wright has authored three books on race relations and numerous scholarly publications and is the recipient of numerous fellowships, grants and awards, including The Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship.  Staying active and making a difference within the education system, Dr. Wright also serves on numerous civic boards and is a current member of the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  "Prairie View A&M is proud to be affiliated with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Our students truly benefit from all of the organization's resources," comments Dr. George C. Wright.  "It is an honor to be recognized for my work in education, especially at PVAMU. We look forward to working with the organization as they continue to prepare the next generation of leaders."

About the TMCF 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner: Developing Minds. Delivering Dreams.will take place on Monday, November 1, 2010, at The Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, New York City.  Highlights of the evening include a pre-dinner reception with members of the Board of Directors, Sponsors and Friends, followed by a seated dinner with the Awards Ceremony and special live performances. The evening's proceeds will benefit the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  The success of this event will enable TMCF to continue its 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.  

To mark the 23rd Anniversary of TMCF, a weekend is being planned which honors the traditions upon which the organization was established.  This includes a series of seminars and workshops that will provide over 600 students with leadership and professional development training while paying respect to individuals who have been long-time supporters of the organization.

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 23 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. 


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