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    Diverse-Why Refuse Koch Brothers’ Gift ― A Practical Perspective PDF Print E-mail
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    By Marc Barnes
    Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dillard University


    DSC 1392 4x6With all the debate about the recent $25 million gift from the Koch brothers to the United Negro College Fund, it’s interesting that there have been few, if any, opinions from those of us in the trenches—fundraising practitioners at UNCF institutions.

    Some have asked UNCF to refuse the gift, mainly because they disagree with the Koch family politics. I have also seen the argument that accepting this contribution gives credence to a family that works to disenfranchise African-Americans. And some are suggesting that the Koch family will have undue influence on the selection process and the students who participate in the scholarship program. I understand those sentiments, but let’s take a look at the practical side of refusing this gift.

    First, as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, UNCF and its member institutions cannot engage in partisan politics. IRS regulations strictly prohibit nonprofits from participating in elections or with political candidates. Institutions are not legally barred from refusing this gift because of politics, but it would not behoove UNCF to alienate either side of the aisle because both sides are instrumental in causes that affect HBCUs and they jointly pass legislation that result in millions of dollars to the schools each year. And no, this does not mean that they sell out. It means that the schools appreciate the importance of relationships that help them with regulatory issues and provide a significant source of funding. And we have to acknowledge the diversity that exists on our campuses. Various political and religious ideologies are represented, so we cannot assume that refusal of the gift would be satisfactory to all of our students.

    We can also explore the source of the Koch brothers’ wealth. Members of the African-American community spend millions of dollars on products owned by their companies. While UNCF is being asked by many to refuse their money, African-Americans are contributing significantly to the accumulation of their wealth. I have seen efforts to boycott those products, but I have not seen the detractors of this gift support those efforts. As a practical matter, this $25 million gift can be seen as just a reinvestment in a community that has helped earn the Koch family much more.

    Finally, let’s look at the argument that the $5,000 scholarships that will be provided with this gift are small and, therefore, not worth “selling our souls.” Those who call $5,000 small clearly do not work at a UNCF institution. Every week, I speak with students who need $1,000 to $5,000 just to stay in school. It is not a small amount when it makes the difference in a student graduating or returning home with no degree and little opportunity to advance his/her life. While the impact of this gift on each of the 37 UNCF institutions is in no way transformational, collectively, a lot of students will be able to continue on their journey because of those scholarships. That’s not selling our souls or disenfranchising. That is providing opportunities.

    Responsible fundraising professionals would likely agree that every gift is not a good fit for an institution. At Dillard University, we have decided that we will not accept money from or invest in certain industries—i.e., tobacco and firearms. They have a clear and direct negative impact on our communities that result in the death of thousands every year. But that decision is not political. As someone who is tasked with raising significant dollars for an institution that has students with real need, I realize that this gift can provide assistance and encouragement for students to make a greater difference in the world powered by their own ideologies and beliefs.

    Marc A. Barnes is Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dillard University.

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    Dillard Graduates perform on America's Got Talent PDF Print E-mail
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    KIMBROUGH NAMED TO STEERING COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES PDF Print E-mail
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    photo wkNEW ORLEANS, LA – Dillard University is pleased to announce that Walter M. Kimbrough, president, has been named to a new steering committee of college and university presidents that will assess the future of independent colleges. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has organized the 22-member panel to develop a plan that encourages independent colleges and universities to revitalize their missions and business models. The Lumina Foundation funds the project on the Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges.

    “I was excited to be asked to participate in this important work,” said Kimbrough.  “With increased pressure on private colleges to prove out worth, even with lots of evidence already existing that does just this, we have an opportunity to further strengthen our place in higher education."

    With the guidance of the steering committee, the project will explore new approaches to higher education, alternative college business models, and potentially disruptive trends in American society and education along with the traditional characteristics and missions of independent liberal arts colleges that are regarded as essential to their success. The project will provide a new opportunity for CIC members to lead the national conversation about what it means to offer a high-quality education in the 21st century.

    “Predictions about the future of higher education by politicians, journalists, and policy analysts often disregard or deride the effectiveness of traditional colleges and universities,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “CIC, however, has always tried to find an appropriate balance between innovations in higher education that show real promise for the future and the existing features of member institutions that have long demonstrated their value. In this spirit, CIC’s new project will explore the future of independent colleges.” 

    During its initial meeting—which will convene September 16–17, 2014, in Washington, DC—the steering committee will focus on the development of a research agenda for the coming year. CIC staff and others will then conduct the research and prepare several framing papers based on the steering committee’s guidance. The committee’s second meeting will be devoted to development of an action plan to help CIC member institutions reexamine their missions and long-term strategic plans in intentional ways. 


    The Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges Steering Committee

    Steven C. Bahls, President, Augustana College (IL)

    Luis Maria R. Calingo, President, Woodbury University (CA)

    Ronald L. Carter, President, Johnson C. Smith University (NC)

    Roger N. Casey, President, McDaniel College (MD)

    Margaret L. Drugovich, President, Hartwick College (NY)

    Elizabeth A. Fleming, President, Converse College (SC)

    Thomas F. Flynn, President, Alvernia University (PA)

    Christopher B. Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College (VA)

    Todd S. Hutton, President, Utica College (NY)

    Chris Kimball, President, California Lutheran University

    Walter M. Kimbrough, President, Dillard University (LA)

    Larry D. Large, President, Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities

    Paul J. LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University

    Mary B. Marcy, President, Dominican University of California

    John McCardell, President and Vice Chancellor, Sewanee: The University of the South (TN)

    Kevin M. Ross, President, Lynn University (FL)

    Ed L. Schrader, President, Brenau University (GA)

    Elizabeth J. Stroble, President, Webster University (MO)

    Henry N. Tisdale, President, Claflin University (SC)

    Edwin H. Welch, President, University of Charleston (WV)

    John S. Wilson, President, Morehouse College (GA)

    Cynthia Zane, President, Hilbert College (NY)

    Dillard University is a private four-year liberal arts historically black university with a history dating back to 1869. It is located on a picturesque 55-acre campus in New Orleans, Louisiana which boasts an “Avenue of Oaks,” spacious greens and white buildings of both Jeffersonian and modern architectural styles. Academically, Dillard ranks among the top in a number of areas including Forbes’ 2013 list of Top Colleges and Universities in the U.S.; top 60 liberal arts institutions by the Washington Monthly (2013); consistently ranked as one of U.S News and World Report top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); American Institute of Physics’ top producer of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees in physics (2012); and according to the National Science Foundation (2013), among the top 50 colleges whose graduates earn doctorates in the sciences. 

    The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 744 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu.  


     
    Dillard Professor Kemberley Washington on Fox 8 News PDF Print E-mail
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    Nola.com - Michelle Obama delivers commencement address at Dillard University, listen here PDF Print E-mail
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    Michelle Obama commencement speechFirst Lady Michelle Obama's commencement speech for the 2014 graduates of Dillard University.


    First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address at Dillard University on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The event typically takes place outdoors underneath the canopy of oaks on Dillard's campus. But because of rainy weather the ceremony was held indoors at the UNO Lakefront Arena.

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