Little Rock, Ark. (February 27, 2017) – Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., President of Philander Smith College, is part of a contingent of UNCF-member institutions presidents who will meet today with the Administration of President Donald J. Trump for a Listening Session coordinated by the UNCF Office of Public Policy and Governmental Affairs in partnership with the White House and key Congressional officials.
Since taking office, The White House has said the new administration is particularly interested in hearing from UNCF presidents on how it can better partner with the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as how HBCUs can help to revitalize their surrounding communities.
Additionally, the black college and university leaders will participate in an “HBCU Fly-In” on Tuesday, Feb. 28, coinciding with President Trump’s scheduled State of the Union Address. The bipartisan event will be hosted by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), and will also include Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). The daylong meeting is expected to include discussions about opportunity, strengthening relationships, the importance of HBCUs, as well as a luncheon and tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“As a UNCF-member president, I am grateful for this opportunity to have an audience with President Trump’s Administration. These are critical times for many of our HBCUs. The foremost goal for these meetings is to impress upon the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders the value and contributions of HBCUs to the nation,” said PSC President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. “This year, Philander Smith College is celebrating its 140th Anniversary. Because our institution has such a vital role in the landscape of higher education, we felt it necessary to be a part of these conversations seeking meaningful federal support of HBCUs.”
Thirty-seven historically black colleges and universities belong to the UNCF network of member institutions. Philander Smith College is the only UNCF-member institution in Arkansas.
Celebrating its 140th Anniversary, Philander Smith College – founded in 1877 – is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. For more information, visit www.philander.edu.