Thurgood Marshall College Fund Awards Gala Hits New Heights in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, Nov. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the first-time ever, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) held its Annual Awards Gala in Washington, DC, bringing together over 1,400 distinguished guests to its signature fundraising event that supports students attending public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Emmy and Grammy Award winner comedian and actor Dr. Bill Cosby served as host of the evening - keeping the audience entertained throughout the night as he joked with Redskins running back Alfred Morris [Cosby is a die-heart Philly Eagles fan], teased hip-hop artist Lil Mama, and kept founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, MC Lyte on her toes.

Founder Joyce Payne, PhD celebrates TMCF 25th Awards Gala with Susan Taylor and Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D.

Gallup, the polling company, was the Presenting Sponsor of the annual awards gala event. Other sponsors and supporters included MillersCoors, the Charmer Sunbelt Group, Costco, Walmart, Altria, Wells Fargo, the NBA, The Hill, Moet Hennessy, News Channel 8 and the Hershey Company.

The black-tie gala event made its debut in D.C. at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Veterans Day opening with a salute to our Nation's veterans including General Dennis L. Via and Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg (Ret.), who were amongst the VIPs in the audience. Broadway's original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday serenaded the audience, which included 500 student attendees, who had just completed the four-day TMCF Leadership Institute, with two of her classics; and, Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri delivered a special message to the students - encouraging them to 'dream big' and stay true to themselves.

Other VIP guests included Senator Michael Brown (DC), Susan Taylor, Former Editor-in-Chief Essence Magazine, HBO's Jermaine Crawford, FoxNews Kelly Wright and Juan Williams, Calvin Klein's first African-American fit model, Stephanie Duncan, Grammy and Golden Globe Winner Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis,

"Our scholars are living proof of why higher education is such a good investment," said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. "The generosity of our gala attendees, corporate sponsors, individual donors, and media partners will allow TMCF to continue 'Developing Minds, Delivering Dreams' for HBCU students."

Along with Taylor, TMCF Board Chairman and Gala Chair, Jim Clifton and the board of directors hosted 1,400 of their closest friends, Congressional Members, Fortune 500 executives, government agency leaders and HBCU Presidents/Chancellors. Congressman John Lewis held a special VIP book signing for his new book, "March Book One" (courtesy of Barnes and Noble). TMCF also presented its 2013 awards to honorees Janice Bryant Howroyd (CEO of The Year Award), Larry Waters (Community Leader of the Year Award), Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D. (Educational Leadership Award) and Johnson & Johnson (Corporate Leadership Award).

"The TMCF Gala is always an exciting time but this year was very special," said Clifton. "Moving this event to the Nation's Capital where the spirit of Justice Marshall lives, was the right thing to do so that we can continue to advocate and raise funds to support public HBCUs and the 300,000 students attending our 47 member-schools."

The Who's Who of Washington, DC, to include John McCabe, DC Superior Court Judge; Angela Stribling, host of NewsChannel 8's Let's Talk Live and best known as Host of BET's Screen Scene, the network's premier entertainment news show; Allison Seymour, morning anchor for WTTG's MyFoxDC5; Maureen Bunyan, veteran television news broadcaster and a primary anchor for WJLA's ABC 7; Joseph Akers, President of National Association of Black Law Enforcement, Muriel Howard, President of American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Bob Butler, President of the Board of National Association of Black Journalists, Karen Kerwin, President of Center of Education Reform, and Kenneth Cooke, Chairman of Board, NABA came out to welcome TMCF to DC.

"The success of this year's event certifies that Washington, DC is the place to be," Taylor continued. "I am positive that this black-tie gala has surely surpassed the city's expectations and will become one of its staple, must-attend events from this day forward because the word is already out for 2014!"

To donate to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and for sponsorship opportunities for the 2014 Gala, visit or contact Jennifer Wider at or 202-507-4851.



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. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow. For more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

CONTACT: Tangie Newborn 301-526-9017 Source:Thurgood Marshall College Fund