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FAMU Alumnus Named Executive Director of White House HBCU Initiative
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnus George Cooper, Ph.D., has been selected to join the new leadership team for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Cooper will serve as executive director.

“I am honored to join the Obama Administration as executive director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  As executive director, I am committed to promoting excellence, innovation and sustainability of HBCUs,” said Cooper.  “I look forward to working with Secretary Duncan, federal agency heads, HBCU leaders, The President’s Board of Advisors, other higher education and HBCU advocacy groups, and private sector partners.  Our success will help assure that our Nation has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.”
As part of the leadership team for the White House Initiative on HBCUs, Cooper will work with the presidential appointed HBCU Board of Advisors and assist Secretary Arne Duncan as a liaison between the executive branch and HBCUs across the country.  He will serve as the constant voice of the HBCU community at the Department of Education and help to shape policy and deploy resources to better serve the students, faculty and families of the greater HBCU community. He will also work with 32 federal agencies that support HBCUs through federal grants and contracts. 
“We recognize that to accomplish President Obama’s ambitious goal of America again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, Historically Black Colleges and Universities cannot merely survive, but must thrive over the next decade and beyond,” said Deputy Press Secretary Cameron French in a statement.  “[This] announcement underscores the commitment that President Obama and Secretary Duncan have to achieving this important goal.”
Cooper was a senior fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), where he reviewed key federal legislation important to HBCUs.  Previously, Cooper served four years (2008-2012) as the 10th president of South Carolina State University (SCSU) where he provided institutional leadership for the orderly and progressive development of the university.  During his presidency at SCSU, he also served as chairperson of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, Council of 1890 Universities (2010-2012). 

Cooper spent 17 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (formerly the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service).  Cooper served five years (1985-1990) at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) as vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of animal science, and executive assistant to the president. Cooper served as dean of the School of Applied Sciences and associate professor of animal science at Tuskegee University.  Along with a vast array of professional expertise, Cooper has served on a number of boards including recently serving as a member of the Orangeburg, S.C. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; co-chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, HBCU and Limited Resource Institution Academic Advisory Group (2011); member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (2010-2012); and co-chair of the USDA/1980 Task Force (2010-2012). 

Cooper received his bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry from Florida A&M University, master’s degree in animal science from Tuskegee University, and a doctoral degree in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois – Urbana.

The Obama Administration also announced that Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., will serve as deputy director of the initiative.

For more information on the HBCU Initiative please visit: http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/whhbcu/
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