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UNCF Announces 2009 Annual Award Recipients

Earl G. Graves Sr., Caroline Kennedy, John H. Jackson, and Ann Best to be honored at UNCF's 65th Anniversary Dinner

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - UNCF - the United Negro College Fund - today announced that it would honor Earl G. Graves Sr., founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, and Caroline Kennedy, who has been active in supporting reform of New York City's public schools, at UNCF's 65th Anniversary Dinner in New York on March 5. The Dinner will be held at 6:00 pm at New York's Sheraton New York Hotel and Tower. Graves will receive UNCF's Frederick D. Patterson Award, named for the Tuskegee University president who founded UNCF in 1944. Kennedy will receive UNCF's President's Award.

Proceeds from the Dinner, which is expected to attract a capacity crowd of over 1800, will support the education of the more than 60,000 students who receive UNCF scholarships and attend the 39 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that belong to UNCF. Previous honorees have included former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and America's Promise co-founder Alma Powell, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, film stars Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, and baseball great Henry Aaron.

UNCF will also inaugurate a new honor at the New York Dinner. The Ones To Watch Award will pay tribute to recent graduates of UNCF member HBCUs whose careers are marked by both great accomplishment and the potential for decades of further service. The first "Ones to Watch" award recipients are Dr. John H. Jackson, president and CEO of The Schott Foundation for Public Education, and Ann Best, deputy superintendent for human talent for the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

"This year's award recipients make a very strong statement about UNCF's past, its present, and its future," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF's president and CEO. "Earl Graves' accomplishments, and his commitment to minority education, are symbolic of the combination of success and service that have always been the hallmarks of the education that HBCUs offer their students. Caroline Kennedy's outstanding work on behalf of the students who attend New York City's public schools are an urgent reminder that in the 21st century economy, every American needs an education that starts in pre-school and doesn't end until college graduation. And the awards to John Jackson and Ann Best remind us that today, as during UNCF's entire history, HBCUs help some of America's brightest young men and women become America's next generation of leaders."

Earl G. Graves Sr. will receive UNCF's Frederick D. Patterson Award for his career of accomplishment, and for his commitment to minority education and philanthropy. In addition to founding Black Enterprise, Mr. Graves is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and author. He was a member of the inaugural class of the Fortune magazine Hall of Fame and has been named by Fortune magazine as one of the fifty most powerful and influential African Americans in corporate America. An HBCU graduate, he has been a longstanding supporter of UNCF and has strongly advocated that HBCU graduates support their alma maters.

Caroline Kennedy will receive UNCF's President's Award for her work on behalf of New York City's public schools. An education advocate, attorney, writer, editor, and philanthropist, Ms. Kennedy is Vice-Chair of The Fund for Public Schools, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving New York City's public schools by attracting private investment in school reform and encouraging greater involvement by all New Yorkers in the education of our children.

Ones To Watch Award recipient John Jackson, a graduate of UNCF member institution Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, served seven years at NAACP as Chief Policy Officer and National Director of Education prior to joining the Schott Foundation. Dr. Jackson currently leads the Foundation's efforts to ensure a high quality public education for all students regardless of race or gender. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Race, Gender and Public Policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to serve as Senior Policy advisor in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education in 1999. He has a Master of Education and Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois. He also has a Master of Education and a Doctorate of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ones To Watch Award recipient Ann Best, a graduate of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, a UNCF member institution, joined Teach for America (TFA) after graduation and taught kindergarten in Houston public schools for four years. Following her service as a teacher, she became executive director of Teach for America-Houston. In February, 2009, she became Deputy Superintendent for Human Talent in the Houston Independent School District.

For tickets or additional information regarding UNCF's 65th Anniversary Awards Dinner, please contact the UNCF Benefit Office at (212)-843-1751 or email uncf@hgnyc.com. For more information about UNCF, please visit www.uncf.org.

About UNCF

UNCF - the United Negro College Fund - is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."(R) Learn more at www.UNCF.org.

SOURCE UNCF

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Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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