Gates Foundation exec speaks at Livingstone
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
An official with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will deliver the keynote address during commencement exercises at Livingstone College on Saturday.
Commencement begins at 10 a.m. in Alumni Memorial Stadium. In the event of bad weather, exercises will be moved to Varick Auditorium.
Since 2005, Joe Scantlebury, senior policy officer in the U.S. Program Advocacy Division for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has helped the organization diversify its U.S. Program Advocacy partners in key states and currently manages its Civil Rights and Equity Organization portfolio.
Before joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Scantlebury was a staff attorney for the Youth Law Center and helped establish the Legal Action Center National H.I.R.E. Network, a national ex-offender employment clearinghouse and employment advocate, and served as its first director.
Scantlebury was also executive director of STRIVE/East Harlem Employment Service, a dynamic international workforce development agency. He has served as a Special United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, an impact litigator for the U.S. Department of Labor and an associate at Eisner, Levy, Pollack & Ratner, a law firm in New York City that focuses on labor and employment law.
Scantlebury has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and was one of the first Cornell Tradition Fellows. He has a law degree from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Snow Fellow.
He is a member of the board of directors of the National Poverty Law Center, a member of the Youth-in-Transition Funders Group Steering Committee and a mentor to a number of students and young professionals.
He is also an active participant in the Neo-Catechumenal Way movement in the Catholic Church.
This year’s graduation will feature 15 members of Livingstone’s groundbreaking Bridge Program, which is for students who have academic deficiencies in high school.
They must successfully complete an intense summer program that includes classes in English, math, history, computers and theater, as well as early morning workouts, before being provisionally admitted as freshmen.
Last year’s graduating class had seven Bridge students.
“The Bridge Program is vital to the success of many of our students at Livingstone College,” said Director Sylvester Kyles. “Last year we had our first-ever Bridge graduates, and it was a really big deal. This year we have more than doubled the number of Bridge graduates, and that’s a testament to the vision and leadership of President Jenkins as well as how hard the Bridge students work. I am confident this program will continue being one of the most successful ones at the college, and I cannot wait to see the faces of the Bridge graduates — as well as all of our graduates — when they walk across the stage and receive their degrees.”