UDC News


November 15 , 2007


Contact:          Mike Andrews
                        (202) 274-5685



University of the District of Columbia Brings Together Fortune 500 Companies to Participate in Corporate Partners Board



            Washington, DC – Stanley Jackson, Acting President of the University of the District of Columbia inducted thirteen representatives of some of the top businesses in the country as initial members of the President’s Corporate Partners Board for the University at a November 9th ceremony.  The Board is charged with supporting the University’s quest to become and serve as a sustaining pre-eminent center of academic excellence, and to create a sense of urgency that demonstrates the DC corporate support of the University.


            The Corporate Partners Board, believed to be the first of its kind at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the United States, opens exciting possibilities for growth at the only public institution of higher learning in the nation’s capital, according to President Jackson.


            “What you are doing today,” said Jackson in addressing the members of the new board, “is help us to grow into an institution that is known and respected.  You have agreed to become advocates who can validate the need for the University in the growing of our city.” 


            Marie Johns, retired president of Verizon, Washington DC and one of the charter members of the Board, explained during the installation ceremony that the Board should play an important role in building the University.


            “I am a District citizen who knows that we ought to have a great local university in the nation’s capital,” said Ms. Johns.  She shared her belief that the University of the District of Columbia can be that institution.


            The Board was envisioned as a new opportunity for the University to make a more solid connection with the business community, according to Dr. Bobby Austin, UDC’s Vice President for University Relations and Communications and innovator of the Board. 


            “Our University has for many years provided the human capital powering the engines of economic growth in the District.  Participation in this Board reflects their recognition of this fact,” commented Dr. Austin.  “This is a logical progression for both the University and the business community, and a wonderful opportunity for everyone concerned.”


            The Board has already established goals for their future work with the University.  Board members will work for opportunities within their organizations and other businesses for greater familiarity with the mission, goals, opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of the University while at the same time demonstrating support for the school.  Members will assist in identifying the trends, requirements and needs of business, industry, and the University’s present and future roles in preparing students to meet those needs. 


            Curriculum development and course expansion will also be an important goal of the Board, as will assisting in the professional development of both students and faculty.  The Board has also committed to assisting in raising funds for the University via the UDC Foundation.


            Members of the Board include:


D. Michael Bennett

Vice President

BAE Systems


Paul A. Brathwaite


The Podesta Group


Lynda M. Dorman

Executive Director and Vice President

BET Foundation, Inc.


Danny Friend

Regional Higher Education Manager

Johnson Controls, Inc.


Muriel Garr

Vice President

Sun Trust Bank


Marie Johns



Delores Johnson-Cooper

Director, Supplier Diversity



Rayford B. McFarland

Founder and CEO

21st Century Expo Group


Joseph M. Perta

Vice President

Bernstein Global Wealth Management


Reba Pittman Walker


Washington Convention Center Authority


Gloria Pualani

Corporate Director, SSEBP/Government Relations

Northrop Grumman Corporation


Michael Session

General Manager

Hyatt Dulles at Washington Dulles International Airport


Robert Turner, Jr.

Vice President – Industry Services

Xerox Corporation


            Individual members of the Board were selected as active or retired corporate senior executives with budgetary authority or influence.  Each has demonstrated a strong advocacy voice to increase outreach and public awareness of the University, and support the growth of the school through access opportunities for internships, faculty exchanges and research.  Knowledge sharing of fundraising strategies and national resources to impact and strengthen financial resources is another criterion for Board membership.  (NOTE: a photo of the Board follows this release)







            The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities.  The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia.  The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro.  For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.