The Thurgood Marshall College Fund named Harry L. Williams its new president and CEO in a surprise announcement Monday during its 30th anniversary awards gala at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in northwest D.C.
Williams, a TMCF member who currently serves as president of Delaware State University, assumes his new post in February.
“Our 30th anniversary gala was an elegant affair that exceeded my hopes and dreams as I pass the baton of leadership to Dr. Williams,” said Johnny Taylor Jr., who announced his departure in June after seven years of leadership at the organization. “Looking back on all we have accomplished since 1987, I am infinitely optimistic because I know the best is yet to come for TMCF and for our 47 member-schools.”
The sold-out black-tie event attracted more than 1,500 people, including 400 students from historically Black colleges and universities.
The gala also honored Roger Ferguson as CEO of the Year. Ferguson, former vice chair of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, is president/CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association.
“Education has made all the difference in my life, and I believe that nothing equals its power to transform,” Ferguson said. “That’s why I have such great respect for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and its mission, and I am humbled to be recognized by an organization that has made such a difference in our society over the past 30 years.”
In addition, Richard Lincer, partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, received the Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award.
Guest presenters included Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), actors Jussie Smollett, Vivica A. Fox and Darryl M. Bell, Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber, “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier, and NBA great Bob Lanier.
Internationally acclaimed vocalist Glennis Grace also performed, sponsored by Strada Education Network.