Education technology company Cengage has announced that it has appointed executives from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Beyond12 to their board of directors.
In a press release, CEO Michael E. Hansen said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), and Alexandra Bernadotte, founder and CEO of Beyond 12, were instrumental to the company’s outreach to underserved, Black communities.
“Both Dr. Lomax and Ms. Bernadotte are experienced education leaders who are dedicated to transforming the system and increasing access to education for all students, especially underrepresented, lower-income and first-generation learners,” he said. “They bring a wealth of firsthand, operational experience, as well as an appreciation of our mission at Cengage: to help all learners enrich their lives and pursue their dreams through education. We are incredibly pleased to add them both to our Board of Directors.”
According to the Society for Research and Development, a history of unequal investment in educational opportunities for Black children and youth has come to the forefront in the COVID-19 era, and it seems that Cengage’s new appointments are looking to address that iniquity.
The timing, then, could not be more germane to the cause, and this is evidenced by Bernadotte’s statement in response to her new position. Bernadotte, who founded Beyond 12 to help Black students pursue their post-secondary degrees, helps more than 100,000 students every year.
“The pandemic has shone a light, and in many cases, exacerbated, the inequities that exist in education. But it also presents an opportunity for us all to be bold, and create a system that is more accessible, affordable, relevant, and just for all students, allowing them to succeed and thrive,” she said.
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), meanwhile, has a history with Black education that needs no exposition. However, under Dr. Lomax’s tenure with the non-profit organization — which he first assumed back in 2004 — the UNCF has raised more than $3 billion in scholarship funds and helped more than 110,000 Black students complete their higher education and find their careers.
Dr. Lomax’s involvement with Cengage, then, adds yet another layer to his noble causes.
“Cengage’s approach to education content – combining quality learning materials with innovative delivery methods – is cutting edge, not just for HBCUs and other colleges and universities, but for every level of education,” he said.