The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) hosted its 30thAnniversary Awards Gala Monday night in support of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The sold-out event, held this year at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, is one of DC’s largest non-political fundraisers. More than 1,500 people – including members of Congress, higher education and business leaders, celebrities, and over 400 of the nation’s most promising HBCU students from around the country – participated in the night’s black-tie gala.
In a surprise announcement, TMCF Board member and current President of Delaware State University, Dr. Harry L. Williams, was named TMCF’s new President & CEO, starting February 2018.
“Our 30th Anniversary Gala was an elegant affair that exceeded my hopes and dreams as I pass the baton of leadership to Dr. Williams,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., current TMCF President & CEO. “Looking back on all we have accomplished since 1987, I am infinitely optimistic because I know the best is yet to come for TMCF and for our 47 member-schools.”
Taylor, who announced his departure in June after seven years of leadership at the organization, also served as the surprise Gala host for the evening. The crowd was captivated by internationally acclaimed vocalist Glennis Grace, who performed the timeless classics, “Run to You” and “I Have Nothing.” Grace’s stunning performance was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Strada Education Network.
The 30th Anniversary Awards Gala honored Roger W. Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA with the CEO of the Year Award; Richard S. Lincer, partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP with the Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award; and Dr. Harry L. Williams, current president of Delaware State University, with the Education Leadership Award. VIP guest presenters included Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), actors Jussie Smollett, Vivica A. Fox, and Darryl M. Bell, Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber, “Entertainment Tonight” Co-Host Kevin Frazier, and Hall of Famer and NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier.
“Education has made all the difference in my life, and I believe that nothing equals its power to transform,” said Roger. W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO of TIAA and TMCF CEO of the Year. “That’s why I have such great respect for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and its mission, and I am humbled to be recognized by an organization that has made such a difference in our society over the past 30 years.”