Historically Black Colleges and Universities Join Silicon Valley Trailblazers for 2nd UNCF’s HBCU Innovation Summit

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UNCF conference empowers next generation of African-American innovators to compete in the tech-workforce and innovation economy

UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) will join its partners including the Association for Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to host the second National HBCU (Historically Black College and University) Innovation Summit at Stanford University and San Jose Marriot Hotel, November 13 - November 17, 2014. The Summit is an outgrowth of the UNCF-based HBCU Startup and Innovation Initiative launched as part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Tech Inclusion Initiative two years ago; and represents a major milestone in the development of the HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (I.C.E.) Center – a centerpiece of the UNCF’s STEM platform.

The Summit will be held jointly with the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) and the Stanford Center for Professional Development and in partnership with other Silicon Valley stakeholders including Google, Facebook and CODE2040. Summit participants, HBCU faculty and administrators representing over 20 different HBCU institutions will also discuss how best to align their on-campus R&D efforts with industry to build innovation ecosystems that add value to local and regional economy. The Summit will provide an overview of the power of innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship to impact campuses, local communities, and the American economy.

The theme of this year’s Summit is Defining Pathways for Success in the Tech Industry, and the agenda will focus on identifying best practices for computer science education and training, tech-workforce development as well as university-based innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship. The summit and the HBCU ICE platform also represent collaborative solutions to Silicon Valley’s self-acknowledged tech-workforce diversity problems, and will help to move the dialogue forward around diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley.

“In this historic gathering of our colleges and universities, all have come with a shared vision to redefine and articulate a renewed value proposition for HBCUs as hubs and nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship that will conduct the highest levels of research; translate intellectual property into goods and services that have value in the innovation economy; and create jobs and opportunities for our community and the global economy,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF.

Participating UNCF Member institutions include Bennett College, Bethune-Cookman University, Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Participating HBCUs include Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, , , Chicago State University, , Fayetteville State University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Harris-Stowe State University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T, Prairie View A&M University, University of the Virgin Islands, and Virginia State University.

The Summit is led by Chad Womack, PhD, a Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine alum who serves as the UNCF National STEM Director and Executive Director of the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative. According to Dr. Womack, “The HBCU Innovation Summit is transforming the narrative around the value of HBCUs in the context of the 21st century innovation economy and economic competitiveness. It is a positive expression of self-worth and value that goes beyond the present day circumstances and challenges that HBCUs face to articulate a vision for how our institutions, faculty and students can claim equity and ownership in the 21st century innovation economy.” Dr. Womack continues, “The ultimate objective is to build a vibrant innovation and venture ecosystem that fosters opportunity and deal flow across the HBCU landscape in a manner that connects our institutions to global innovation economy.”

John M. Lee, PhD, who heads the Office of Access and Success at the APLU, and oversees the HBCU portfolio of land-grant institutions, agrees. “The future of HBCUs lies within innovation and entrepreneurial approaches to grow and expand their mission. HBCUs can’t just rest on our historical successes. Our institutions must embrace the opportunities that an expanding higher education market provides, “says Dr. Lee who is also a proud graduate of Florida A&M University.

In addition to Presenting Sponsor UNCF, supporting Summit sponsors include the Chevron, Oracle, Facebook, Google, Sodexo, the Association for Public and Land Grant Universities, STEMconnector, GhostNote Agency, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Texas Instruments and Apollo Education Inc. Summit Partners include NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), Stanford Center for Professional Development, CODE2040, Facebook, Google, JumpStart Inc., VentureWell (formerly NCIIA), the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and STEMconnector.

About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF provides $100 million in scholarships to more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at http://www.UNCF.org

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