Livingstone kicks off campaign
By Laurie Willis
Livingstone College’s administrators, faculty, students and staff, plus members of the Rowan County community, will converge at the college’s Events and Hospitality Center Tuesday for the institution’s annual United Negro College Fund Kick-Off Celebration.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature N.C. Rep. Lorene Coates, honorary chairperson. Coates was chosen to serve in that capacity by Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. because she supports the college, and is well known and respected.
Deborah Johnson, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement, is Livingstone’s UNCF director. She has worked with the United Negro College Fund for 11 years.
Johnson said she expects the campaign to meet its $220,000 goal despite economic woes.
“Even with the economy the way it is, I believe we will be successful,” Johnson said. “I believe that because people have a desire to help those who are striving to get an education. They know the UNCF is a way for our young people to be successful and become the leaders society needs them to be.”
The $220,000 goal was set by UNCF officials. Faculty and staff are expected to raise $15,000 of that, and they started opening their wallets ó and hearts ó at a campus kickoff Oct. 1.
Already, just under $13,000 has been raised on campus.
“We are required by UNCF to have a campus campaign,” Johnson said. “We always encourage faculty and staff to give and are grateful to them for their contributions. Their donations are significant because when we’re asking others to give to our campaign, it’s important for them to know we have contributed.”
Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund is the nation’s oldest and most successful organization that raises money for predominantly black institutions of higher learning. It supports 39 member institutions and provides scholarships and internships for students at about 900 institutions, as well as faculty and administrative professional training.
Many who benefit from UNCF generosity are first-generation college students who wouldn’t be able to attend college otherwise.
Livingstone College benefits by receiving more than triple the $220,000 it plans to raise, plus scholarships and other technical support and assistance, Johnson said.
Tuesday’s kickoff will include refreshments and promises to be fun.
“I’m looking forward to an exciting event on Tuesday night,” Johnson said. “The money raised for the United Negro College Fund is vital to the college and our students because it provides a financial opportunity for all who desire to attend college and earn a college degree.
“If you have never participated in the UNCF campaign before, take a bold step and invest in a student’s education, which is a great commodity,” she said. “Remember, ‘A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.’ “