GREENSBORO, N.C. – Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins will receive the “Trailblazer Award” on Saturday, June 8, from the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (HELF) for her longstanding commitment to education and leadership development. The award will be presented at a dinner as part of a three-day Leadership Institute for personal and professional development of rising leaders at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The event is being held on the beautiful campus of Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama.
In addition to receiving the Trailblazer Award, Dawkins will participate in a panel discussion titled “Women Who Lead and How They Lead in The HBCU Space.”
HELF was established in 2015 to provide bold, engaging and innovative learning and mentoring opportunities for current and aspiring leaders to ensure HBCUs survive and thrive as national models of achievement. The Leadership Institute is conducted twice a year, in June and in December. More than 100 future HCBU leaders have attended and been named HELF Fellows.
“Dr. Dawkins has been a trailblazer in many ways throughout her distinguished career and just led a successful fundraising campaign at Bennett College that raised over $9.5 million in under 60 days,” said Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr., president of Wiley College and co-founder of HELF. “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Dawkins and know, unequivocally, that she’s an excellent role model for young women of color. It is our honor to give her a Trailblazer Award.”
HELF co-founder Dr. George T. French, Jr., president of Miles College, agrees.
“Honoring Dr. Dawkins and her accomplishments embodies our mission to develop leaders by exposing them to innovative ideas, experienced and successful leaders and expert administrators from across the country,” French said. “She has the power to lead, inspire and lift as we create a sustainable network of talented leaders and help reframe the narrative about the continued growth and sustainability of HBCUs.”
Dawkins said she is honored to be recognized by HELF.
“I have received many awards over the years; however, this one is particularly special because it comes from my peers,” she said. “From the time I enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University as a freshman, I have been a stalwart proponent of HBCUs. I believe in their mission and can say without hesitation that they are vital to the fabric of U.S. higher education. I commend Dr. Felton and Dr. French for establishing such an important organization that will expand the pipeline of HBCU leaders, and I am humbled by their decision to honor me with a Trailblazers Award.”
About Bennett College: Founded in 1873 as a coeducational institution, Bennett College became women’s only in 1926. Bennett has a rich history of producing outstanding women leaders, including the first woman or African American to head the U.S. Peace Corps, the first African American mayor of the city of Greensboro, the first African American female district attorney in North Carolina and the first African American woman to serve as assistant attorney general in the state of Massachusetts – just to name a few. At Bennett, where students are taught how to become analytical thinkers, strong leaders and effective communicators, the top five majors are Journalism and Media Studies, Biology, Social Work, Psychology and Business Administration.