Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D.
Since 2004, Dr. Michael Lomax has served as president and CEO of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to African American students and a leading advocate of college readiness: students’ need for an education, from pre-school through high school, that prepares them for college success. Under his leadership, UNCF has raised $1.5 billion and helped more than 92,000 students earn college degrees and launch careers. Annually, UNCF’s work enables 60,000 students to go to college with UNCF scholarships and attend its 37 member historically black college and universities (HBCUs).
“HBCUs are impactful institutions that are ALWAYS punching above their weight. Further our institutions have consistently had to prove their mettle through resiliency and resourcefulness,” said Lomax. “We want our institutions to be vibrant, vital and strong. We want our partners, federal and otherwise, to invest at level that is not simply surviving — but thriving. Among the many contributions that HBCUs have made to this country, HBCUs are the engines that help power and deliver much-needed economic and workforce diversity. By that standard alone, our institutions are worthy of substantial federal investment.” – March 5, 2019, UNCF State of the HBCU Address
Before coming to UNCF, Dr. Lomax was president of Dillard University in New Orleans and a literature professor at UNCF-member institutions Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. He also served as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in Atlanta, the first African American elected to that post.
At UNCF’s helm, Dr. Lomax oversees the organization’s 400 scholarship programs, which award 10,000 scholarships a year worth more than $100 million. He also launched the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, which helps UNCF’s 37 member historically black colleges and universities become stronger, more effective and more self-sustaining. Under Dr. Lomax’s leadership, UNCF has held true to its motto—A mind is a terrible thing to waste® — and has fought for college readiness and education reform through partnerships with reform-focused leaders and organizations. He serves on the boards of the KIPP Foundation and America’s Promise and also co-chaired the Washington, DC, mayoral education transition team and the search committee for a new DC school chancellor.
Dr. Lomax additionally serves on the boards of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History and Culture and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He founded the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to celebrating the work of artists of African descent.