Monthly Archives: July 2017

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Dr. Wilma Mishoe Elected Chair of DSU Board of Trustees

At their semi-annual retreat, the Delaware State University Board of Trustees elected Dr. Wilma Mishoe as their Chair. Dr. Mishoe is the first woman in the institution’s 126-year history to serve as the chair of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Mishoe – who in addition to her DSU board service has more than 35 years as a higher education administrator – is the daughter of the late Dr. Luna Mishoe who served as President of then-Delaware State College from 1960 to 1987, an era of unprecedented growth and transformation for the institution.

DSU new leadership trio: Board Vice Chair Dr. Devona Williams, Provost Dr. Tony Allen and Board Chair Dr. Wilma Mishoe.
DSU new leadership trio: Board Vice Chair Dr. Devona Williams, Provost Dr. Tony Allen and Board Chair Dr. Wilma Mishoe.

Delaware Gov. John Carney said Dr. Mishoe brings a unique combination of leadership, talent, experience and historic perspective to the leadership position.

“The Mishoe family’s legacy is unmatched,” said Gov. Carney. “From Luna Mishoe’s service as a Tuskegee Airman in World War Two and his 27-year tenure as President of Delaware State College to Wilma Mishoe’s distinguished career, the family has been committed to service and to expanding access and opportunity through higher education for decades.”

“Like her Dad, Dr. Mishoe brings a wealth of experience and passion for preparing another generation of educated citizens. Her 35-year career as a senior administrator at Delaware Technical Community College and Wilmington College (now University) – as well as having been both a board member and acting president of Wilberforce University – gives her deep perspective and acumen and makes her an ideal partner for President Williams and his executive team,” Gov. Carney said.

DSU President Harry L. Williams was also quite pleased and reflective on the significance of this outcome. “The truth is that there are not a lot of women in the country who have ever chaired a University Board of Trustees. At DSU, given who we are and what we represent in the way of equity, excellence and access, all I can say is ‘It’s about time’. I am anxious to work even more closely with Dr. Mishoe and to learn from her experience and tremendous integrity.”

In addition to Dr. Mishoe’s election, the Trustees also elected Dr. Devona E. Williams as Vice Chairperson – making it the first time in DSU history that two women are serving as the board’s top two executive officers. Dr. D. Williams is founder of Goeins-Williams Associates, a 27-year management-consulting group that is well regarded in the region and throughout the nation. She has served on DSU’s board since 2011 and has been an integral part of the University’s College of Business and its international programs. Incoming Provost Tony Allen called the board’s new vice chair, “the perfect combination of intellect, savvy and heart. She will be a great support to Dr. Mishoe and will help push our academic enterprise forward in all of the right ways.” Dr. Williams is also a senior consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in Higher Education, the world’s preeminent organization on governance in higher education. 

President Williams also spoke warmly of the contributions of outgoing Board Chairperson and DSU alumnus David Turner of Sovereign Partners Consulting, as well as Vice Chairperson Barry Granger, formerly of the DuPont Corporation. “Both David and Barry have been at the forefront of getting the University to the point where we can begin a process of dynamic transformation,” Dr. Williams said. “We are extremely thankful for the time and energy they’ve devoted to the University.”

Both will remain active members of the Board of Trustees.

“With Drs. Mishoe and Williams leading the Board, and Dr. Tony Allen joining my team, DSU is poised to meet the current challenges of a rapidly changing market, and to make an even bigger mark on Delaware, the nation, and the world,” President Williams said. “Watch us! It’s going to be exciting.”


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Fisk Fundraising Increases Counter HBCU Philanthropy Stereotypes

Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, Fisk University saw a 39 percent increase in alumni giving and nearly 30 percent in total gifts, significant gains which fly in the face of national trends for the HBCU sector.

In an exclusive interview, Fisk Vice-President of Institutional Advancement Jens Frederiksen discusses the university’s recent increases in alumni giving, corporate outreach, and exposure of institutional strengths.

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About 50 HBCUs Will Survive the Next Decade. It’s Time to Start Investing in Them

Category : Uncategorized

It is hard to determine a worse proposition for historically black colleges; that industry, culture and finance have converged to threaten the existence of most of our schools, or that Black America doesn’t have the wealth or awareness to do anything about it.

The more that we can remove ourselves from the emotions wound tightly around both of these sobering realities, the sooner we’ll be able to empower the conversation we should’ve had 20 years ago – that America is better served with about 50 HBCUs.

Over the last five years, I’ve personally struggled with writing these sentences as the anchor to a column I wish I didn’t have to write. And I did everything I could to deliver this truth without the specific language that reading between the lines betrayed every time. Hundreds of columns about board-president relationships, budget cuts from state and federal governments, statistics on alumni giving and enrollment – they all lead back to a sad tomorrow.

And along the way, other higher education observers and experts began to notice. College costs have outpaced the capacity of average families to make up the difference beyond public loans and grants. Nearly half of all American colleges and universities enroll fewer than 1,000 students – a sign of imminent collapse under debt and operating cost requirements, if not first crushed by accreditation standards on finance.

The numbers for HBCUs, like most data on African American prosperity, are even worse. Along with bad outlook on finance, HBCU presidents turnover at alarming rates. Enrollment ebbs at rates which make personnel and programmatic development virtually impossible.

The picture is so grim, those of us who consider ourselves advocates have pressed to the limit to force change against seemingly inevitable odds. I pursued a job with the Trump Administration, hoping that relationships and knowledge I’ve built over 15 years of work, consulting, advocacy and reporting at and around HBCUs may have benefited these schools from the point where nearly all black college revenue originates.

I was willing to sell my business, to connect my name and career to a controversial president, and to do anything possible to help preserve even one of our most vulnerable campuses. There’s many of us like that, and yet, not nearly enough of us. 

And what’s more, the things we are willing to do to help out are not nearly enough. There’s nothing that government or iron clad HBCU advocacy can do to make Paine College, Cheyney University, Stillman College, Bennett College, and other campuses in silent and dire straits profitable. Nothing will make their surrounding communities pour the millions into the campuses to make them more attractive to a wider pool of prospective students or corporate donors.

And seemingly, there’s nothing that can be done to keep them from closing in the next three years or less.  

There are dozens of other campuses which are right behind them that many of us know are awaiting an undignified demise to glorious histories – their names I won’t list here because there is a slim chance for survival in some form. But to survive, they must have dramatic changes in leadership and function – some of them need to be taken over by their respective states, and most need to merge with more stable public institutions.

But knowing this, it is time for the HBCU community to take a serious look at focusing on the 50 or so HBCU campuses which are most likely to survive this wave of change, and have some strand of hope for thriving. Many of our large and mid-sized state flagship and private HBCUs fit this bill – and if we focus our money and energy on making their academic and social products congruent with the cities and states they serve, there is a chance that they can meet the new model of higher education – fewer campuses with 15-20,000 plus students offering degrees in fields designed to support 21st century economy.

We know which schools and which programs have the pipelines into competitive careers for students, and attract millions in donor gifts, research grants and tuition revenue. We know which boards and presidents have brought innovation, charisma and value to the sector, and those which haven’t.

Now is the time to invest in the campuses which will advance HBCU culture respectably; and to begin the last rites for those which offer little brand recognition, industrial complement or inspiration in their students and graduates. Demanding support from the government and blaming the lack thereof on racism, chiding alumni and blaming their lack of investment on disloyalty, and wondering why students won’t choose HBCUs and blaming their decision on racial ambivalence has never been a strategy.

It’s always been a convenient extension of real problems outweighing the power of our resilience and the mission of our institutions.

We will either live for a leaner future or suffer in remembrance of a rich and glorious past. The choice is ours, and must be made right now.

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