The Thurgood Marshall College Fund Honors Education Pioneer Wayne D. Watson at 25th Anniversary Awards Gala

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NEW YORK (OCTOBER 19, 2012) - The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) will celebrate 25 years at its Anniversary Awards Gala taking place on Monday, October 29, 2012 at the Hilton New York. This highly anticipated annual event serves as the largest fundraiser of the year with expected attendance from A-list celebrities and leaders from corporate, government and educations fields. This year, TMCF will extend one of their highest awards to Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D., President, Chicago State University who will be honored with Education Leadership Award. This prestigious annual Awards Gala honors individuals for being pioneers and visionaries in their respective fields, but more importantly, individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping realize the theme of Developing Minds and Delivering Dreams to the nearly 300,000 students attending public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs).

The Education Leadership Award is the highest individual award presented annually to an extraordinary president or educational leader of a public HBCU or PBI, who has demonstrated outstanding business, academic and visionary leadership through unwavering action and highly effective management of his or her institution. The award represents the late Justice Thurgood Marshall’s commitment to equal opportunity for all men and women regardless of their race, creed, religion or origin.

“The recipient of this award serves as a role model for the next generation of leaders. Wayne D. Watson has led a life dedicated to education and building a platform that cultivates future generations of leaders, and it is for this reason that we are privileged to be honoring him,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF’s President & CEO.

Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D. was named the 21st president of Chicago State University (CSU) in October 2009. In the first months of his tenure, he worked tirelessly to provide leadership for the implementation of a reform agenda focused on streamlining operations, establishing accountability and transparency, and redefining the institution as a whole to lay the foundation for an institutional renaissance. Dr. Watson came to CSU after a distinguished 30-year tenure with the City Colleges of Chicago, one of the largest community college systems in the nation. Watson’s dedication to excellence in education includes a strong commitment to community service.

He currently serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Watson earned a bachelor of arts in education, a master of arts in teaching and a doctor of philosophy in education administration from Northwestern University.

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: