UNCF recognizes Dr. Billy C. Hawkins for years of transformative service to UNCF and HBCUs


Leave a legacy of advocacy and impact for the next generation

Washington, DC, Sep 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The UNCF (United Negro College Fund) recognizes and celebrates the achievement of one of its own, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Past President of Talladega College, for his over two decades of service to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Hawkins has also served as Chair of Institutional and Individual Members of UNCF, a position he held since March 2019, and has served as Institutional Director on the UNCF Board of Directors since 2014. He recently resigned both positions in due to health problems.

During his four decades as an educator, Hawkins has taken on a wide range of roles as a multitasking and energetic leader who has taken on a myriad of challenges to make a lasting impact on the educational landscape. From the classroom to the administrative office to the government chamber, he leaves a legacy of transformative service and tireless advocacy that will improve the future of countless students, including thousands at HBCUs.

Hawkins began his career as a teacher in the Lansing, MI public school system. His passion for teaching led him to higher education, where he held various administrative positions at Mississippi Valley State, Saint Paul’s College, Ferris State University, and State University of New York at Morrisville College.

“The UNCF and all HBCUs owe a tremendous debt of appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Billy C. Hawkins for the dedication and accomplishments that have characterized his service as a leader in American higher education. We are particularly indebted to him for the work he has done to restore the accreditation of Texas College and the extraordinary transformation he has produced at Talladega College, ”said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of the ‘UNCF. “Markedly, his accomplishments at Talladega College deserve special attention and should be studied by academics in the field as an example of executive leadership guiding a college from crisis to stabilization, and finally transformation. ”

Hawkins has served as president of two HBCU members of the UNCF, serving with a vigorous and engaging style both at Texas College in Tyler, TX from 2000 to 2007, and at Talladega College in Alabama where he has served as president since 2008.

Its impact on both institutions has been immensely felt. During his seven years as president of Texas College, through fundraising efforts and academic rigor, Hawkins became one of the few college presidents to ever deliver a college fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

His tenure at Talladega College will be forever remembered for his almost total rejuvenation of the venerable institution that has restored its preeminence and praise.

Upon arriving in Talladega, Hawkins implemented rigorous renovation and growth plans. It started off with a bang, inspiring students to attend and support the inauguration of the president of 45th Talladega College, which turned into a major public awareness and fundraising campaign. He managed to restructure and stabilize finances while guiding the institution through a 10-year SACSCOC accreditation process.

Other notable accomplishments during his 13 years at Talladega include:

  • Exponential growth in registrations. Enrollment has grown from 300 students when Hawkins became president to over 1,200 students now. Remarkably, enrollment has doubled from just over 300 students to 601 students in a single semester, and the college has achieved a record number of enrollments in the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 academic years.
  • Multi-million dollar campus improvements. The entire physical plant of the college has been modernized, in particular:
  • the opening of a state-of-the-art 45,000 square foot residence in 2019
  • a $ 4.5 million rehabilitation / restoration of the Foster Hall dormitory, as well as the renovation of three other dormitories
  • the restoration and reopening of a classroom building
  • the construction of a new police station
  • the openings of a new state-of-the-art student center (named after Hawkins) and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses six critically acclaimed murals by Hale Woodruff, including the famous Amistad murals; To build the Woodruff Murals Museum, valued at $ 50 million, Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest financial donation: a $ 1 million donation from former student Dr. William R. Harvey. He also secured a contribution of $ 1.5 million from Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey and the State of Alabama.
  • Resumption of athletics. Sports programs were reinstated for the first time in 10 years. Talladega was reinstated in the National Athletic Intercollegiate Association (NAIA) and won three National Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships
  • Best national and regional rankings. The college is one of the Princeton Reviewsbest colleges in the South East and American News and World Reportthe most innovative colleges in
  • 21stadditions to the program of the century. New academic programs have been added including the college’s very first graduate program which is an online master’s degree in computer information systems.

Hawkins has also brought tremendous leadership and talent to other organizations. He is currently a member of the NAIA President’s Council and was appointed to serve on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Funding Advisory Board by former US Secretary of Education Rod Page.

“Dr. Hawkins has proven to be a rare commodity in today’s society: someone who could not only put aside his personal partisan concerns, but demand that everyone else do too,” Lodriguez said. V. Murray, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, UNCF. “He has been an inspiration and a driving force behind UNCF’s approach over the past four years to achieve significant results in bringing together political parties to support HBCUs and their first generation and low to moderate income students.

“The deferrals we got in 2018 turned into debt relief of 45 HBCU. That, along with the COVID-19 relief funds, are all hallmarks of an approach he inspired and which has helped so many, ”Murray added.

Hawkins’ service with the UNCF has left an indelible impact on the organization’s 37 member institutions, according to Milton H. Jones Jr., chairman of the board of UNCF.

“As an energetic actor and agitator, Dr Hawkins has used his years of experience to strengthen the 37 member institutions of UNCF as chair of the members. His tireless efforts during the current COVID-19 health pandemic – to reach out to other HBCU presidents and voice HBCU concerns to the federal government on a bipartisan basis – have ensured that the needs of all HBCUs and students and communities they serve have been heard, ”Jones said. “We thank Dr. Hawkins for his contribution to the significant growth of positive and positive federal policy and legislation on behalf of HBCUs and their students over the past few years.”

Hawkins leaves the UNCF member HBCUs in the capable hands of two exceptional leaders.

Dr Walter M. Kimbrough is Vice President of Institutional and Individual Members of UNCF and has worked within the UNCF network for 17 years. He was President of HBCU Philander Smith College, Member of UNCF, for seven years and is currently President of Dillard University, Member of UNCF. Under his leadership, Dillard experienced an increase in retention and graduation rates, as well as a 115% increase in staffing, and achieved a 10-year re-accreditation from SACSCOC.

Dr George T. French Jr., who was named Clark Atlanta University’s fifth president, UNCF member in 2019, serves as secretary of institutional and individual members of UNCF. During his tenure at CAU, French achieved exceptional fundraising; maintaining a stable enrollment rate during a pandemic; and positioned the university for unprecedented growth through corporate and community relationships. Prior to joining CAU, he was President of Miles College, a member of UNCF, for 14 years.

“All of us at UNCF will miss Dr. Hawkins’ leadership as chairman of our institutional and individual members and as vice chairman of our board of directors. We wish him all the best as he tackles the health issues that prompted his early retirement from Talladega. We look forward to celebrating his service to our 78e annual anniversary dinner and gala in Washington, DC in March 2022, ”added Lomax.


About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the largest and most effective minority education organization in the country. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports the education and development of students through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance minority education and university preparation. The institutions of the UNCF and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African-American bachelor’s degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarships, internships and scholarships, mentoring, summer enrichment programs, and faculty training and development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the torch of UNCF leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste. “® Learn more about UNCF.org or for ongoing updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.


CONTACT: Monique LeNoir United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF) 202-810-0231 [email protected]

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