Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Program with Potential

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Program with Potential

Article excerpt

University of Louisville program addresses the needs of the African American community, while simultaneously supporting the school's academic mission

The University of Louisville in Kentucky believes it has found a wayto tackle issues affecting African Amen cans in a way that benefits both the university and the community. The university announced earlier this year that through its "Our Highest Potential" program, it is creating up to eight new endowed chairs or professorships in academic areas that match the university's strengths with African American community needs. The areas include urban law issues affecting the minority population; peacemaking and conflict; early childhood education; cardiovascular research; cancer research; entrepreneurship and small business development; Pan-- African studies; and logistics and distribution.

The particular areas were selected because they address significant issues in the Black community and support the university's academic mission.

Nat Green, a local businessman and a member of the university's board of trustees, has been a prominent player in getting the program off the ground. His goal is to get the African American community in Louisville involved in all aspects of the university, not just as students, student-athletes, faculty and employees, but also as a group involved in the financial planning and fund raising for the university.

"The African American community can and should be included in financial planning for the university," says Green. "We need to find ways to involve them. The university is committed to making them understand how the university raises its money and then helps the community."

Green also hopes that once the Black community sees the university's commitment to the community, the trickle-down effect will result in drawing more Black faculty and the best and brightest African American students. As education has always been emphasized in the Black community, Green believes the program is a natural fit.

One endowed chair, the Bettie L and Charlie Johnson chair in Logistics and Distribution, already has been established with a $1 million gift from the Johnsons. Charlie Johnson is the owner of Active Transportation, one of the largest minor"ned trucking businesses in the United States, as well as Automotive Carrier Services. …

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