ATLANTA (December, 15, 2021) – The HBCU Executive Leadership Council (HBCU ELI) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) today announced the recipients of the inaugural Dr. Fredrick S. Humphries Leadership Award. The award was created to recognize the exemplary record of individuals who advance the mission and sustainability of HBCUs. The ceremony took place on CAU’s campus during the second day of the programming to celebrate the first community of Fellows from December 1st–3rd.

This year’s inaugural recipients as announced by Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, HBCU ELI Project Director and former President of Bennett College include the program’s founding members:

  • Louis Sullivan, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine; Past US Secretary of Health & Human Services
  • Johnny Parham, Jr., Retired Executive Director, Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • Ronald A. Johnson, Former President, Clark Atlanta University
  • Samuel D. Jolley, Former President, Morris Brown College, Chair of the Council of HBCU Past Presidents

“Congratulations to this year’s Humphries Leadership Award honorees. We salute you for your engagement with HBCU ELI and for your record of service, academic excellence and commitment to providing life-changing opportunities to our first cohort of Fellows,” said Dr. Dawkins. “Your efforts are critical to preserving the legacy of HBCUs for generations to come.” 

Frederick Stephen Humphries served as President of Tennessee State as well as Florida A&M University (FAMU). He was also President and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Known for his charismatic leadership style, Humphries more than doubled enrollment at FAMU, transforming the school into the largest single-campus HBCU. During his 16 years at its helm, FAMU outperformed Ivy League schools in recruiting National Achievement Scholars. 

During the luncheon, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms provided welcome remarks, including personal reflections on how her experience at FAMU prepared her to lead through challenging times. Bottoms was named HBCU ELI’s first honorary Fellow earlier this year. Following a video tribute, Mr. Laurence Humphries, Jr. spoke about his late father’s career and how education can improve the success of Black students beyond the classroom. Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier, HBCU ELI Program Coordinator and President Emerita, Savanna State University, served as facilitator for the luncheon.

“The Humphries Leadership Award stands as a reminder that everything we do on behalf of HBCUs must  be executed with a spirit of excellence,” said recipient Dr. Louis Sullivan.  “It’s all about fostering community, promoting the next generation of leaders, and supporting the vibrant innovators who will come after us.”

Donors from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Microsoft, The Rich Foundation Toyota Foundation, The UMC Black College Fund and CAU President Dr. George French, were also recognized for their commitment to HBCU ELI. The 26 inaugural HBCU ELI participants bring experience from a broad cross-section of professions, from the private sector, academia, medicine, and law, among others. Over half of the Fellows are women, making it one of the nation’s most diverse cohorts.  

The luncheon was preceded by an HBCU ELI panel featuring current Presidents from Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown College and Spelman College, which was also streamed online to the public.

"HBCU’s have long been intertwined with building strong communities, mutually inspiring and informing one another. Today we’re making history by empowering and educating future leaders to continue this journey," said President George T. French, Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University. "CAU is proud to serve as the hub for one of the nation’s most inventive— and progressive – programs with competencies designed to meet the unique needs of HBCU’s."

To view event images, click here. The second group of HBCU ELI Fellows will be announced in January 2022. 

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 more information, visit https://www.cau.edu/hbcueli/. Join the conversation on social media @hbcueli; #hbcueli.


Media Contact:
Jolene Butts Freeman, 404-456-8371
Lalohni Campbell, for HBCU ELI