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Walker and Sen. Scott Host Engaging Discussion with Presidents and Chancellors at the HBCU Fly-In Event, Earn Praise of Attendees

March 3, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) hosted an engaging and productive discussion with Presidents and Chancellors from 89 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on Tuesday in an event called the HBCU Fly-In.

Despite some reported disappointment with the level of discussion at an event the previous day hosted at the White House, the HBCU Fly-In left Presidents and Chancellors impressed and encouraged. The attendees also noted being uplifted by the wide Republican support for year-round Pell Grants.

"I was very impressed with Representative Walker and Senator Scott,” Aaron Thompson, Interim President of Kentucky State University told The State Journal following the event. “The genuineness they were bringing to the table made me feel like they were going to do something to benefit these valuable institutions. They were much more than willing to visit.”

Inside Higher Ed reported: "Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough in a Medium post said the Oval Office trip scuttled other plans to meet with the heads of several federal agencies in addition to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. That meant 'there was very little listening to HBCU presidents,' he said."

"That was a common refrain among presidents in attendance at the HBCU “Fly-In” hosted by Walker and Scott."

"But Kimbrough spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill, speaking in depth with congressional leaders," the New Republic reported. "'[Tuesday] actually was really good,' Kimbrough told me after huddling with lawmakers at the Library of Congress. He praised the daylong HBCU summit—hosted by Senator Tim Scott and Representative Mark Walker, both Republicans—where House Speaker Paul Ryan voiced support for expanding Pell Grants."

“The HBCU Fly-In offered a significant opportunity for HBCU leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with federal policymakers and the corporate world about the crucial issues our institutions and students face," Marsha V. Krotseng, Ed.D., President of Bluefield State College said in a statement. "My thanks to Congressman Mark Walker and Senator Tim Scott for this historic convening of HBCU presidents and for opening doors that we hope will lead to productive and lasting partnerships. I was proud to be a participant in initiating these important conversations."

"The HBCU Fly-In gave me a wonderful opportunity to connect with the HBCU Bipartisan Congressional Caucus and the Republican Study Committee and provide valuable insight into issues facing HBCU law schools," Chancellor John Pierre from Southern University Law Center said in a statement. "I had an opportunity to provide congressional leaders with information as to why HBCU law schools are invaluable assets in ensuring that the American Bar Association (ABA) achieves one of its most important goals; diversifying the legal profession."

“I have always valued the importance of HBCUs. With more than 100 HBCUs across the nation – and eleven here in North Carolina, they are an integral part of our higher education system,” Walker said. “On a more personal note, my wife, Kelly, is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University and has found success as a nurse practitioner, which she attributes in part to the strong education she received. I believe it is as important as ever to have Republicans engage with HBCUs. On Tuesday we made big strides to bring bipartisan support to HBCUs and create an open dialogue to address issues they face. I look forward to continuing to work together for the betterment of our students. This is not the first step, but it certainly is not the last.”

A full list of the attendees and the schools they represent can be found here. A full list of the schedule, speakers and panelists, which includes Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO, United Negro College Fund and Kelly Walker, wife of Rep. Mark Walker and HBCU graduate can be found here.

Below are some of the photos from the event:

Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) take questions from HBCU Presidents and Chancellors.

Representative Mia Love (R-Utah) addresses attendees during a listening session with Walker, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), Scott, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Rubio addresses attendees.

Walker speaks at lunch inside Library of Congress. 

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gives the keynote address at lunch.

Kelly Walker, wife of Rep. Mark Walker and graduate of HBCU Winston-Salem State University addresses attendees at lunch.

Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) leads a panel discussion entitled"Bridging the Gap: From Classroom to Corporate World" featuring Peter Brooks of Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems Sector, Brett Cohen of Elbit Systems of America, Dr. Vernon Ross, Jr. of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Ted Colbert of The Boeing Company, and Will Whitley of Michelin North America.

Walker listens as Lonnie Bunch, the Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) addresses HBCUs Presidents and Chancellors at the NMAAHC before a private tour of the museum.