Since taking office at LeMoyne-Owen College in January 2021, I have focused my presidency on what I call the 4 Rs: recruitment, retention, revenue, and relationships to achieve the vision stipulated in the College’s strategic plan, Destination 2023. That work began with hosting one-on-one visits with faculty, staff, and students to empower and uplift the campus while building relationships. It also meant being intentional about relationships with: the alumni (meet and greets, participation in alumni programming, 807 Telethon); the faith community (one-on-ones with faith leaders, Faith Forward dinner conversations, Sunday Stops) ; and developing partnerships with the Memphis corporate and private community at-large (Bank of America, Kroger, Lowe’s, Truist, City of Memphis, Shelby County Health Department) .
My administration is keenly focused on improving recruitment and retention. Our new processes have yielded positive preliminary results. The addition of an Office of Student Success that includes full time advisors for the population that represent our highest attrition (freshmen and sophomores), identifying early alert systems, developing learning communities in the residence hall, and overhauling the recruitment process from application to enrollment will help the College achieve the fall 2023 recruitment goal. Last year new enrollment increased 48% and retention increased 9%.
The College has expanded and improved its footprint. We renovated the Student Center, established a food pantry and are slated to open the Cyber Café in the fall. The Myron Lowery Communications Center will be a hub for all things communications to include a radio station, a podcast studio, a classroom, and more.
We bolstered academics by identifying the first Program of Distinction (Cybersecurity), developed an entrepreneur certificate program partnership with the City of Memphis, and added five Fulbright Scholars to our faculty. We’ve also entered into several memorandums of understanding, including one with the New York Institute of Technology to create a pipeline for graduate study in Cybersecurity. We are currently pursuing accreditation of 3 new programs: Music, Social Work and Computer Science. Our Business and Economic Development program’s accreditation was recently reaffirmed through 2027 with no notes or conditions.
Communications and marketing took giant leaps forward by developing relationships with media to improve the College’s profile and brand recognition. The College has been featured in numerous stories in print, online and on television. The Memphis Business Journal published an article on the College’s raised profile this semester. A PBS documentary about the school will premiere in September during HBCU Week. Digital LED walls and message boards have expanded the College’s ability to market and communicate with the campus. A total overhaul of the website is currently underway. That will increase the College’s brand recognition, improve recruitment and expand our ability to communicate with national and international audiences.
Lemoyne-Owen underwent a million plus dollar technology upgrade across campus and in all classrooms, expanded the campus’ footprint through new land and buildings, and refreshed the website.
Our new strategic plan is a campus-and community-wide effort that is currently underway. We have entered into a partnership with the United Negro College Fund to complete that process that began last year. A campus masterplan is also underway that will lay the groundwork for further resurgence of the institution.
This is the yearly kick-off of LOC’s fundraising efforts. The annual 807 Day Telethon is an initiative of the President. Donations help LOC make a significant impact in the lives of its students through scholarships, retention, and recruitment. Each year LOC connects with alumni, corporations, faculty, staff, and the Memphis community.
Please mark your calendar to attend and support the 807 Day Telethon on August 7. We hope to exceed last year’s record-breaking fundraising total. Co-hosts and call center volunteers are needed. Alumni giving increased 40% after the first telethon in 2021.
807 FUNDRAISING IMPACT
2021 TOTAL: $127,028.39
2022 TOTAL: $132,449.29
2022 Website Link: www.loc.edu/807day/
Tennessee State University (TSU) president, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover invited me to TSU to meet Oprah Winfrey and to discuss future joint projects between LOC and TSU. President Glover also introduced me to a USDA lead who will make an introduction that will bring student scholarships and research opportunities and degree program enhancement support for Cybersecurity as we look to grow our first Program of Distinction.
President Glover, her AVP for Research and I will meet at LOC next month to begin to lay the groundwork for the following projects that will advance LOC:
Dr. Vernell Bennett Fairs breaks down the role of an HBCU College President on Ep 254 of #verballyeffectivepodcast.
ENA ESCO, LOC Alumna & HOST
“When Trevia and I met, we shared a common interest in supporting educational and business opportunities that lead to better outcomes for Memphis. We are actively discussing how we can help support and guide entrepreneurs both at the college and in the community. We agree that education is the great equalizer.”
Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs
Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs: helping female leaders reach next level.We are actively discussing how we can help support and guide entrepreneurs both at the college and in the community.
The first annual Women’s Conference was a day full of education, empowerment, and uplift. The full day of events ended with a session by actress and author, Malinda Williams.
LOC history is Memphis history. We celebrated the living legacy of the countless Black Memphians and graduates who inspire, encourage, and uplift us all to make Memphis the best it can be.
Text box item sample content