Michael Bell, Dr. Harry Williams and Nadeje Barber pose for a photo.

TMCF President Tours UVI

Thurgood Marshall College Fund President Tours UVI, Meets with Students & Government Officials

In November, the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)
hosted representatives from the Thurgood Marshall
College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest
organization exclusively representing publicly funded
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
and other predominantly black institutions. The
organization’s President and CEO, Dr. Harry Williams,
joined by his wife, Dr. Robin Williams, and Victor
Santos, director of Government Relations,
participated in a number of events including the
groundbreaking of the School of Nursing building, a
tour of the state-of-the-art Medical Simulation
Center, a luncheon with V.I. government officials
including Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach and
several VI senators, and a keynote address to
students on the Albert A. Sheen Campus.

“To have Dr. Harry Williams here, the representative
from the most prestigious advocacy group for HBCUs,
makes this a very special day,” said UVI President, Dr.
David Hall.

Dr. Harry Williams
Dr. Harry Williams

As one of the organization’s 56 members, UVI has
access to critical resources including the TMCF
capital financing program which provided the loan
for the construction of the School of Nursing building.
Through its advocacy, TMCF assisted UVI in receiving
pandemic-relief funding from the CARES Act and
ensuring inclusion in the federal loan forgiveness
program. “Having the types of relationships that Dr.
Williams and his staff developed with Congress and
with the White House made all of that possible,” said
Dr. Hall.

In his address to UVI students, Dr. Williams spoke
about the history of the Thurgood Marshall College
Fund and how the organization came to be named
after the first African American Supreme Court Justice
who was also a two-time HBCU graduate. Calling out
UVI TMCF student ambassador Nadeje Barber and
others in the audience, Dr. Williams said, “You are part
of that legacy, and you should be very proud about
what you’re doing here at UVI because you are part of
something big.”

He added, “At the Thurgood Marshall College Fund we
get up every day focused on how we can continue to
support our institutions making sure you have the
resources that are necessary so you can grow, thrive
and do it in a way that will not only elevate yourself
and your community but also your family and
everyone around.”

UVI Medical Simulation Center Tour
UVI Medical Simulation Center Tour

Speaking about his experience as a Thurgood
Marshall College Fund scholar, UVI graduate Michael
Bell (’23) said, “Thanks to TMCF, I was able to sharpen
my leadership qualities and skills to become more
confident in interacting with others. I firmly believe
that my time at TMCF helped to set me apart from my
peers which allowed me another amazing honor to be
part of this year’s White House HBCU Scholar initiative,
marking UVI’s first time being bestowed such a
prestigious recognition.”

Dr. Williams also spent time with students on the
Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas where he
toured the 13D Research & Strategy Innovation Center
and the recently completed Medical Research and
Training Center which will serve as the classroom
building for the future School of Medicine. Meeting
with 20 students including Miss UVI, Mr. UVI, Student
Government Association leaders, homecoming
queen and king, student participants in the TMCF
Leadership conference and various Cabinet
members, Dr. Williams was able to provide updates
on TMCF activities, answer student questions and
share inspirational messages.

“Hosting Dr. Williams and his delegation was a
wonderful opportunity not only to showcase UVI, our
talented students, faculty and our state-of-the-art
facilities, but also to share our vision for the future of
UVI,” said Dr. Hall. “We look forward to strengthening
our partnership with TMCF which has so ably
represented our interests on a national level and
supported our students financially and in many other
tangible ways.”

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund offers a variety
of programs including college tuition scholarships,
internships, networking and recruitment
opportunities, conferences, and professional
development programs for students.

To date the organization has awarded more than
$300 million in financial assistance to its students
and member schools. The organization also provides
career preparation, global studies and
entrepreneurship programs for college students and
recent graduates. In addition, TMCF is a national voice
for HBCUs and predominantly black institutions
seeking to influence public policy that supports these


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