I was honored to speak on a panel to over 150 high school boys, primarily African American, gathered at the University of Saint Thomas’ John Roach Auditorium as part of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Empower Me Tour today. Our topic: Mastering the Power of Your Image and Manhood to Achieve Success. Our first question to the gathered young men, “how many of you know how to tie a necktie? Guess what, yawl gon’ learn TODAY.”  The necktie has such important symbolism, we wanted to show the boys that in a literal sense, a shirt and tie are important tools for shaping your image going forward. IMG_5530More importantly,  it’s a symbol of your connection, a tie to your past and our heritage of greatness; we’re bonded forever by our commitment to each other. We didn’t leave until every young man in the room knew how to tie a neck tie.

As co-chair of the UNCF’s Minnesota campaign for the next two years,  I’m excited to help the most needy of students get TO and Through college.  In Minnesota alone the UNCF awards over $1 Million a year in scholarships to local students.  As a UNCF member college alum, Clark-Atlanta University, I know first hand how important UNCF’s work is; I would not have been able to attend college without its support.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities represent only 3% of the nations colleges but produce nearly 20% of all African Americans who obtain a bachelors degree; there isn’t an educational system in the world that can compare. Recently the New York Times featured one of our member colleges, Xavier University, which sends more African American students to medical school then any other school in the country. Click below to learn more, and please give to the UNCF at uncf.org

New York Times Magazine article


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