The Truth Staff
The third annual United Negro College Fund Toledo Mayor’s Luncheon was held on Friday, May 12 at the Glass City Center and the more then 500 guests were treated to speeches, information about the UNCF and crowd-pleasing entertainment by local high school students.
While this was the third annual such event, it was only the second in-person luncheon, the first was held virtually because of the pandemic.
Alexis Means of abc13, a graduate of Hampton University, a historically black college of university (HBCU), served as the moderator for the event, while Owens Corning staff Kam Hutchinson and Don Rettig led off the event addressing Owens Corning’s emphasis on equity and inclusion.
Owens Corning was one of the major sponsors of this year’s event and Hutchinson serves as director of Talent Acquisition and Rettig as director of Community Affairs.
The Scott High School Marching Band brought their instruments and filled the banquet room with a vibrant welcome and the Rogers High School Choir performed the very appropriate “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, which got the lunch crowd to their feet.
Alan Bannister, a HBCU graduate of Kentucky State and now vice president of Business Development for Remington Road Group, and Jordyn Taylor, current HBCU student at Howard University, spoke of their HBCU experience.
The event’s keynote address was delivered by Roderick Smother, PhD, president of Philander Smith College, an HBCU.
Throughout the afternoon, the audience was encouraged to donate using their electronic devices and the response exceeded the luncheon’s goal of raising $5,000 during the lunch hour.
The UNCF is now in its 80th year of raising money to assist Black students access their higher education dreams. Since 1944, UNCF has raised more than $5 billion and helped graduate more then 500,000 students from colleges and universities around the nation.
“We work to make sure minority students have an opportunity to go to and through college,” says Steve Miller.
The UNCF supports 103 HBCUs and 37 member college and university institutions and while that is only three percent of all two and four-year colleges and universities, they educate almost 20 percent of all African American and minority student graduates – as well as over 25 percent of STEM related degrees.
The organization awards 10,000 scholarships annually worth a total of $100 million and administers more than 400 fellowships, internships and student and faculty development programs. UNCF Toledo has raised close to $200,000 for scholarships in the last two years alone to support local Toledo students.
And the UNCF has done all of this over the past eight decades because “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”