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Talladega College president named one of 10 most dominant HBCU leaders in 2020

Talladega College - Dr Billy Hawkins tw.jpg

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins

TALLADEGA -- Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins has been named one of the 10 most dominant Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) leaders for 2020 by the HBCU Campaign Fund.

The Fund is a national nonprofit that advocates for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs.)

According to the Fund’s website, the top 10 leaders were chosen for their influence and their continuous progress moving their institutions forward.

Hawkins was ranked No. 1 on the list of 10. 

“I really appreciate the recognition,” Hawkins said. “It truly is an honor to top the list, but I want everyone to know Talladega College’s success is not only because of me. I would like to thank the faculty, staff and board of trustees for their continuous support and dedication.”

Hawkins has served as president of Talladega College since Jan. 1, 2008. 

During his tenure, he has stabilized finances, increased fundraising, expanded academic offerings and successfully guided the college in reaching record-breaking enrollment increases.

On Jan. 31, a ribbon-cutting will be held for the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which will house six critically-acclaimed Hale Woodruff  murals, including the renowned Amistad Murals. 

To construct the museum for Woodruff’s murals, which are valued at $50 million, Hawkins secured Talladega’s largest-ever financial gift, a $1 million donation fromalumnusDr. William R. Harvey. 

A 45,000 square foot, state-of-the-art residence hall also opened in January of last year on campus. Additionally, Hawkins secured a $1.5 million contribution from Gov.  Kay Ivey and the state of Alabama for the museum project. 

“People from around the state, country and globe are now noticing Talladega College,” Hawkins said. “It’s been wonderful to experience.”

Prior to his arrival, Talladega had lost both its accreditation and its membership in the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

“Things were looking bleak when I first arrived, but it’s been an incredible turnaround,” Hawkins said. “Now we are proud of the fact that our student enrollment has reached a record high and continues to grow. We are really excited to see what the future holds for Talladega College.”

Hawkins spearheaded a similar transformation at Texas College, where he also served as president.

Before joining Texas College, Hawkins served as provost, vice president for academics and professor of education at Mississippi Valley State University. 

He began his career as an educator in the Lansing, Michigan, public school system.

Hawkins also served as vice president for academic affairs/professor at Saint Paul’s College; acting dean, associate dean and assistant dean/professor in the College of Education at Ferris State University; and director of the educational opportunity program at State University of New York at Morrisville College.

Hawkins earned a bachelor’s degree in teacher education from Ferris State University, a master’s degree in education administration from Central Michigan University and a doctorate in education from Michigan State University. 

He completed his postdoctoral study at Harvard University.

Reach Daily Home staff writer Laci Braswell at