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President Jackson and other HBCU Presidents Share Reflections on Monday's Meeting with President Trump in Oval Office


Daytona Beach, Fla./Washington, D.C. - (Feb. 28, 2017) - President Jackson joined UNCF and 31 of its other 37 member-institution presidents for an unprecedented meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other top administration leaders Monday afternoon to discuss areas of collaboration between the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the federal government.  UNCF’s HBCU-coalition partners, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), also attended Monday’s meetings.  Immediately following the meeting with President Trump, nearly 90 HBCU presidents participated in a “listening session” with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary DeVos.

"I truly believe that meaningful progress for our schools requires relationships," says President Jackson. "HBCUs must have a voice in Washington. We must do all that we can to ensure the success of our colleges and universities.  The meeting was productive and definitely a step in the right direction."

The HBCU coalition previously provided input to White House staff on the development of a new executive order on HBCUs. The HBCU coalition collectively recommended several key proposals for White House consideration in drafting a new and strong executive order, which the White House has indicated will be released Feb. 28, while UNCF presidents are attending a bi-partisan Congressional “HBCU Fly-in."

In December 2016, UNCF prepared and submitted “A Memo to President-elect Donald Trump: Ten Ways to Invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” which laid out a substantive 10-point plan in support of HBCUs. For further impact, UNCF provided the new administration with “Six Top Priorities” for consideration in the development of the federal FY 2018 budget.

“We want to ensure that more African American students have the opportunity to attend college and go on to successful careers, and that our colleges and universities, which for 150 years have provided college opportunities for these students, not only survive, but thrive,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF President and CEO. “The federal government plays a huge role in financing that opportunity and yesterday's discussion is a positive first step in affirming that HBCUs matter.”

Additional White House advisers attending the Oval Office meeting included:  Reince Priebus, chief of staff; Steve Bannon, senior counselor and strategist; Stephen Miller, senior adviser for policy; Kellyanne Conway, counselor; Omarosa Manigault, assistant to the president and director of communications for the office of public liaison; and Ja’Ron Smith of the Domestic Policy Council.

 Last week, President Jackson sat down with local media to discuss plans for this meeting.

**Click HERE to watch a clip of his reflections.**

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Keisha Boyd
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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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