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UNCF President and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax will be the Keynote Speaker at the Benedict College 154th Commencement Convocation

The Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium

COLUMBIA, SC., April 29, 2024, Dr. Michael L. Lomax will be the keynote speaker for the 154th Commencement Convocation at Benedict College on Friday, May 3rd at the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium. 

Lomax serves as the President and CEO of the UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization and the largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to underrepresented students. Benedict College is a proud member institution of the UNCF.

“We welcome one of the world’s biggest champions for HBCUs,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “Under Dr. Lomax’s stellar leadership, the UNCF raised more than $4 billion to help over 150,000 students earn college degrees.”

Annually, UNCF’s work enables 50,000 students to go to college with UNCF scholarships and attend its 37 member Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). At UNCF’s helm, Dr. Lomax oversees the organization’s 400-plus scholarship programs, which award more than 10,000 scholarships a year. He also launched UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building (ICB), which supports member HBCUs to become stronger, more effective, and self- sustaining. Benedict College has benefited greatly from the ICB program. Under Dr. Lomax’s leadership, UNCF has engineered partnerships with reform-focused leaders and organizations and worked to further advance HBCUs with Congress, the administration, and the Department of Education. 

Dr. Lomax began his civic career in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as the director of research and special assistant to then Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. While in this position, Lomax helped establish the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs, where he served as its first director.

In 1978, Dr. Lomax was elected to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and became the first African American to be elected as board chairman, a position he held from 1981 to 1993. In this role, he was responsible for a $500 million annual operating budget and 5,000 county employees. He also founded the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Arts Council, and the National Black Arts Festival.

To meet the needs of a vibrantly changing community, he oversaw the building of Georgia’s Interstate 400, a major highway on the outskirts of Atlanta; expanding and renovating the historic Grady Hospital; and building the new Fulton County Government Center. In 1988, he co-chaired the Democratic National Convention and was instrumental in bringing the 1996 Olympic Games to Atlanta. 

In 1994, Dr. Lomax began his tenure as president of the National Faculty, an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to bringing together arts and sciences higher education scholars with K-12 teachers.

From 1997 to 2004, Dr. Lomax served as the 5th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. During his tenure at Dillard, the student enrollment increased by nearly 50 percent, accompanied by dramatic increases in private funding and alumni giving. Dr. Lomax also led a $60 million campus program that improved the educational and everyday environments for students and faculty.

Among his many honors, Dr. Lomax was appointed to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities by President George W. Bush. He serves on the boards of Handshake, the KIPP Foundation, Cengage Group and Teach for America. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Senate and a trustee of the Studio Museum in Harlem. He was a founding member of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and previously served on the board of America’s Promise Alliance.

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About Benedict College

www.benedict.edu

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 25 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. The College also has a diverse faculty and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty. 

There are over 18,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 154 years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree. 

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.  For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research.  In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest

Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Studio Art Program, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

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