University kicks off the academic year ready to transform

Dr. Henry Ponder, who has served as president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, helped the University kick off the University’s 2015 Faculty and Staff Institute on Monday, August 10. His topic of discussion focused on governance and its impact on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“Today, when we survey the landscape of governing agencies for higher education, it appears that the “deck” is stacked against HBCUs,” Ponder said. “Whether this appearance is real or not does not matter. Whether we like it or not, those agencies are here to stay. The survival of HBCUs will depend on how successful we are at meeting their requirements. It is my hope and belief that HBCUs will become strong because our leaders will do what their predecessors did, make bricks without straw.”

Ponder, who is known in academia, has an extensive wisdom and knowledge about HBCUs. He has served as the president at three HBCUs: Benedict College, Fisk University and Talladega College.

Following Ponder’s message, faculty and staff were engaged in workshops, panel discussions and professional development seminars throughout the week in preparation for the 2015-2016 academic year. Another highlight of the institute included a presentation from Erica Miller, who was nominated by President Barack Obama as the assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education.

Ms. Miller is the daughter of the late Mr. A. Melvin Miller, J.D., who was a alumnus of Saint Augustine's University and served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees. Mr. Miller also served as chairman of the Board from 2007-2008 and interim president of the University from March 1999 to November 1999.