William H. Gray III (pictured above), former congressman and the first African American chairman of the House Budget Committee, has resigned as president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund Inc. (UNCF). “I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with a dedicated group of college presidents, corporate board members, and staff to provide resources and educational opportunity for hundreds of thousands of students. It is now time to retire, spend more time with my family, and conclude my parish ministry,” says Gray who, for more than 25 years, served as pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia where his father and grandfather were pastors.
Under Gray’s 12-year reign, the UNCF raised $1.54 billion, more than half of the $2.2 billion raised in the organization’s 60-year history. Currently, 65,000 students are supported by the UNCF at more than 950 colleges and universities. Gray established the UNCF Corporate Scholars Program, which works with corporations such as Coca-Cola, UPS, Sprint, CVS, Ford, and Bank One. He also reduced administration costs by relocating the organization’s headquarters from New York to northern Virginia, and implemented a $280 million campaign to assist member institutions in upgrading campus facilities.
Howard University’s School of Communications has been named after John H. Johnson, publisher and chairman of Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. (No. 5 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $424.7 million in sales), the largest black-owned publishing company in the nation. Johnson was honored at Howard’s 136th Opening Convocation for his career achievements as well as his recent $4 million donation to the School of Communications. Under the Johnson Publishing umbrella are Jet and Ebony magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a majority ownership in Liberty Life Insurance, and a book division.