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Award Presented During Organization’s 12th Annual Leadership Institute & Recruitment Fair

NEW YORK (OCTOBER 18, 2012) - The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) will host its 12th Annual Leadership Institute & Recruitment Fair on October 26-30, 2012, during which the organization will honor an accomplished Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) alumni for their exemplary record and lifetime acheivements. This year’s recipient of the Alumni Leadership Award is General Dennis L. Via, a distinguished military graduate from Virginia State University (class of 1980). Via holds a Master's Degree from Boston University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (class of 1991) and the U.S. Army War College (class of 1999). The award will be presented on Monday, October 29, 2012 at the closing luncheon for the conference.

General Dennis L. Via is the first-ever signal officer in the history of the Army to be promoted to a four-star general, a rank held by only 9 other Army officials. General Via assumed duties as the 18th Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Aug. 7, 2012. The AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness to ensure dominant land force capability for the U.S. Warfighter and our allies. The magnitude of this assignment is reflected in the facts that the AMC is responsible for one out of every six contracting dollars in the Department of Defense. It has more than 69,000 employees and a presence in all 50 states and 144 countries.

The General's command assignments include the 82nd Signal Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; 3rd Signal Brigade, III Armored Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; 5th Signal Command, United States Army Europe and 7th Army, Mannheim, Germany; and the United States Army Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command and Fort Monmouth, Fort Monmouth, N.J. His key staff assignments include Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Staff, Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy; Operations Officer, J-6, Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, Washington, DC; Division Chief, Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, United States Army, Washington, DC; Principal Director for Operations, Defense Information Systems Agency/Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, United States Strategic Command, Arlington, Va.

His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster; Defense Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Joint Service Achievement Medal; and the Army Achievement Medal. He is authorized to wear the Master Parachutist Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.

“Because General Via is a product of the HBCU system, he reflects the educational and leadership standard of excellence cultivated at these prestigious schools,” says TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “The TMCF Alumni Leadership Award recognizes those who fully demonstrate the concept of ‘pay it forward’ to their alma maters and within their communities.”

General L. Via’s exemplary leadership accomplishments and triumphs serve as a model for the nearly 300,000 students attending TMCF’s 47 public member-schools in their goal of achieving a higher education. Past recipients of the award include Lieutenant General Russel L Honore’, Commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, U.S. Army; Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., Chairman and CEO of TWD, Inc.; Carl W. Turnipseed, Executive VP of the Financial Services Group, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Xernona Clayton, Founder, Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc.; Earl G. Graves, Sr., Chairman & Publisher, BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine; and the first recipient Dr. William E. Cox, Founder, Black Issues in Higher Education.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. TMCF helps students with a clear intention and the motivation to succeed and acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities—access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.  TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit: www.ThurgoodMarshallCollegeFund.org.