Education Briefs: Livingstone president inducted into CIAA Hall of Fame

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

SALISBURY — Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins was inducted into the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association 2022 Class of the John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame on Feb. 25 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

He announced his retirement two weeks prior to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament, held in Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 22-26.

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams also announced on Friday during the semi-finals that the CIAA was creating a scholarship in Jenkins’ name.

Jenkins is the longest-tenured president among the CIAA-member institutions and currently serves on the CIAA’s Board of Directors.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Jenkins said when McWilliams informed him he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for his 28 years with the CIAA.

The CIAA recognizes inductees for their excellence in the conference, significant contributions in the community, leadership within CIAA athletics and commitment to the conference mission.

“When I first joined, I was the youngest member on the board. And now as I depart, I’m the oldest member on the board,” Jenkins said during  the induction ceremony. “And just to have my colleagues who are younger than I to see something in me to the point where they voted me into the Hall of Fame is something that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.”

Jenkins is credited with saving the historically black college in Salisbury from losing its accreditation and with raising its net assets value by $15 million. 

The host noted that Jenkins has two buildings named after him. Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina has a science building that bears his name and Edward Waters University in Jacksonsville, Florida, named an athletic field after Jenkins. He is a past leader at both universities.

“I think its surreal,” Jenkins said, especially considering he didn’t want to go to college after graduating from high school. He ended up earning both his master’s and doctorate degrees in biology from Purdue University.

Being a 28-year-old black male with a Ph.D. attracted many offers, but he chose to return to his alma mater, where he could serve as a role model. He was an assistant professor for 11 years before making history by becoming the first alumnus to become chancellor there.

“We have to remember that these HBCUs were established at the time to educate the children of the just-freed slaves. This is war and it’s a war against ignorance. Many of our students are not able to perform on certain standardized tests – not because of their intellect but because of exposure. If we get that exposure, they will be able to perform well and be able to command their rightful place in the global society,” Jenkin said when asked about the future of HBCUs.

Jenkins was joined at the induction by his wife, Dr. Faleese Moore Jenkins, their children and grandchildren and his brother and sister.

Dr. Beverly Downing, a 1978 Livingstone College graduate, was also inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame for her work as a women’s basketball coach at St. Augustine’s University. She played basketball and softball at Livingstone and was the first woman inducted into the Livingstone College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

The CIAA is the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference and is now touted as the third highest attended basketball tournament among all National Collegiate Athletic Association divisions. 

Catawba College receives First-gen Forward Designation national honor

SALISBURY — The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort.

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the center’s research and resources. A person is considered a first-generation student if their parent or guardian did not earn a bachelor’s or higher degree. About 35% of Catawba’s first year class qualifies as first-generation students.

“We are honored to receive the First-gen Forward designation from NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success,” said Jared Tice, senior vice president for the college experience and dean of students at Catawba College. “This designation formally recognizes Catawba College’s long tradition and recent strategic initiatives of serving first-generations students and families.”

First-generation students may choose to enroll in a first year seminar designed especially for them and taught by first-generation faculty members. A first-generation honors society, Alpha Alpha Alpha, was initiated and Catawba was deliberate in selecting a first-generation faculty member and housing director in Student Affairs as the co-advisors. Catawba also offers the Catawba Promise Opportunity Scholarship for qualified students to increase access and residency experiences for first-generation students.

Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for early-June and will participate in monthly calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.