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Lomax Urges HBCU's to Strive for Excellence Instead of Resting on their Laurels

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.




(Feb. 11, 2010) -- United Negro College Fund president and CEO Michael Lomax '68 chided historically black colleges and universities who rest on their laurels instead of striving to be more competitive in the 21st century.

"Some of our colleges are too focused on what they used to do and not focused enough on doing what they must do to remain competitive and produce the powerful results they need to today," Lomax said during the Founders Day Convocation on Feb. 11 in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. "Where they can be true to their heritage and their missions, they must also be dynamic."

Lomax spoke to nearly 1,500 students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni as part of the College's weeklong 143rd Annual Founders Day Observance. Along with a week of events such as a town hall meeting and symposia on black men, concerts and the 22nd "A Candle in the Dark" Gala, the convocation celebrates the founding of Morehouse by the Rev. William Jefferson White in 1867.

"Founder's Day is one of the most significant acts at the College each year," said Weldon Jackson '72, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "Today is a day we recommit ourselves to the unselfish pursuit of excellence."

"Our founder...built a legacy that remains unharmed by time, " added President Robert M. Franklin '75.

Lomax lauded the work of the nation's 105 historically black colleges and universities, including Morehouse. But he also urged them to do more, including doubling the number of black college graduates annually, from 130,000 each year to 260,000.

"Just think what a difference that would make, particularly if half of those graduates were men," he said.

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