Close to $900,000 was raised at the recent UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala honoring game-changing HBCU alumnus and White House correspondent April Ryan, Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon and UNCF campaign contributor Oracle Corporation. More than 900 business, civic and education leaders attending the March 8 event. UNCF member-institution presidents, along with UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax also attended. HBCU alum (Howard University) and “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent, A.J. Calloway served as master of ceremonies.
“HBCUs continue to produce leaders across all professions, including honorees April Ryan, graduate of Morgan State; and Kenny Leon, graduate of Clark Atlanta,” said Lomax. “These honorees and our students attending HBCUs across the nation help change the narrative about HBCUs and address misperceptions and myths about them.”
The 2018 UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala continued its tradition of honoring trailblazers for their game-changing education advocacy through partnerships with UNCF and through their own work. This year’s honorees, who through their sacrifices and determination, have led the charge in championing for a quality education for all, include White House correspondent April Ryan, who received the Shirley Chisholm Award for community service. Both Kenny Leon and the Oracle Corporation accepted the UNCF President’s Award.
“We could not be prouder of our partnership with UNCF, which spans more than 20 years,” said Hamidou Dia, senior vice president, Oracle. “During that period of time, we’ve donated over $13 million, sponsored countless interns, hired many students and have supported UNCF’s HBCU Innovation Summit. The foundation that you’ve laid since 1944 is remarkable. I’m sure that I speak for my colleagues at Oracle and beyond in saying that we’ve been the proud recipients of your graduates. They come to the table with new ideas, the courage to speak up, the skills to deliver, the fire to make a difference, and the commitment to reach back and help others. Simply put, you make our organizations and our country better.”