Clark Atlanta University, and higher education stakeholders, announced the launch of the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at CAU.

The groundbreaking initiative will serve as an incubator for recruiting and developing the future presidents of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“HBCUs have a clear value proposition and continue to be the standard-bearers of Black excellence across every sector of business and society,” said Dr. George T. French Jr., president of Clark Atlanta University. “Through ELI, we are committed to identifying dynamic leaders who can advance the growth and sustainability of our institutions of higher learning.”

“We invite leaders of industry – from Silicon Valley and Wall Street to non-profits, government, higher education and the creative class – to submit their applications and be a part of history.”

The first program of its kind, ELI will help preserve and strengthen HBCUs as a hub for education, opportunity and uplift in the Black community.

The effort is supported by The Rich Foundation, Inc., Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Toyota, Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), and a distinguished group of business leaders, educators and philanthropists.

ELI’s robust curriculum will immerse qualified candidates in the various components of effectively leading an HBCU.

This includes operations, budgeting, alumni relations, fundraising and development, as well as board governance and human resource management. Slated to begin in the spring of 2021, ELI’s best-in-class program will support the entire HBCU ecosystem.

“As someone who has experienced the unique challenges of leading an HBCU, I believe ELI is a true game-changer,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, former president of Bennett College and project director of the HBCU ELI at CAU.

“By filling the pipeline with qualified candidates, we can accelerate development and improve student outcomes, while also preserving the rich heritage that makes HBCUs so special.”

Through a virtual platform, inaugural participants will also receive coaching and ongoing mentorship from former HBCU leaders. The program seeks to identify qualified candidates to fill vacant HBCU presidencies and other executive leadership positions.

According to UNCF, HBCUs disproportionately enroll low-income, first-generation and academically underprepared college students, thanks to lower tuition rates and a diverse and inclusive environment.

HBCUs continue to equip Black students to compete globally, become entrepreneurs and close the wealth gap in America by accruing above-average household incomes.

In fact, while HBCUs account for just three percent of the country’s colleges and universities, they produce almost 20 percent of all Black graduates, 50 percent of America’s Black public school teachers and lawyers, and 80 percent of the country’s Black judges.

UNCF also reports HBCUs are responsible for producing over one-third of all Black PhDs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

HBCUs are among the top 10 producers of undergraduates who eventually earn doctorates in science and engineering and account for a large portion of medical school applicants as well.

Interested participants may now apply online at

Clark Atlanta University recently launched an incubator that will recruit and develop future presidents, specifically for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Clark Atlanta University)

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