Education: The Greatest Equalizer

Isac Manns | May 10th, 2012
Governor Beverly Perdue at the UNCF luncheon

Governor Beverly Perdue at the UNCF luncheon (Photo by Alana Allen)

United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is an educational assistance organization that provides college tuition for 39 historically black colleges and universities. Founded on April 25, 1944, UNCF is still providing funding for students today.

UNCF is enabling more than 60,000 students to attend college this year. North Carolina has five UNCF member institutions: Bennett College, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College.

Governor Beverly Perdue was the keynote speaker at the 2012 United Negro College Luncheon on Friday March 23, 2012. The purpose of the luncheon was to reach out to those who would help fund the North Carolina UNCF. Governor Perdue delivered a heart-warming speech that encouraged and praises young students who will have the opportunity to receive funding from UNCF. “It’s a fundamental truth: education is the great equalizer; education is the great difference maker.

That’s what makes the support and sponsorship of UNCF so important” she says. Due to UNCF efforts, students will be able to graduate from prestigious schools and will acquire jobs in every profession. Many students will be leaders in our communities and on the national stage, and many only reach that potential because of UNCF. Governor Perdue concluded in saying, “I believe education is about nothing less than the future we want for all our children, and as long as the work of UNCF goes on, the tide of equality will continue to rise.”

Delrisha White, a journalism and mass communications major at Bennett College delivered an empowering message to future donors and fundraisers. She spoke about her challenges of paying for a college education. A California native and raised in foster care, she wanted to attend a historically black college or university, and the state of Calif. didn’t have any. Her college dream soon turned into a reality of financial aid distress during her freshmen year when she found herself in a $5,000 deficit after applying for $10,000 in loans.

That year, she received an emergency UNCF scholarship to help and by her junior year of college, she was able to apply for more support from UNCF that covered her tuition, student housing, transportation and the opportunity to travel abroad to Shanghai, China. She says if it wasn’t for UNCF, she would had faced withdrawing from school and returning to California.

Stories like Delrisha White are very common and UNCF tries to support students with emergency funds to prevent the last resort of leaving school. It is important to support students who are striving to have a college education; even in 2012 there are students who are the first ones to attend college. Like the famous UNCF motto says, “A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Waste”, and this national organization lives by it purpose.
To donate to the United Negro College Fund or learn about its impact in North Carolina visit

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