Clark Atlanta University Launches ELI Initiative for Future HBCU Presidents

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

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Today, 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). 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. Interested participants may apply online beginning April 15, 2021.

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. 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.

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

Dr. Louis Sullivan, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine, Past U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services and Chair of the Advisory Board for the HBCU ELI at CAU program added, “This is a visionary program that grew out of the Council of Past Presidents to ground prospective fellows in HBCU specific competencies.”

Before the Civil Rights movement, HBCUs offered Black Americans one of their only routes to a college degree. These institutions helped Blacks pursue professional careers, earn graduate degrees, and advance their education.

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.

“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.”

About The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI at CAU)

ELI equips high-potential leaders with tools and strategies that support the education and business goals of more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through ELI, the ability of HBCUs to survive and thrive is improved. In addition to granting thousands of degrees each year, HBCUs also boast illustrious alumni like Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others. For program updates and to apply for the inaugural cohort, visit Join the conversation on social media @hbcueli; #hbcueli.

About Clark Atlanta University

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869). Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement. CAU cultivates lifted lives that transforms the world. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter Lift Every Voice and Sing “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit

SOURCE Clark Atlanta University

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