The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) hosted representatives from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing publicly funded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other predominantly black institutions. The organization’s President and CEO, Dr. Harry Williams, joined by his wife, Dr. Robin Williams, and Victor Santos, director of Government Relations, participated in a number of events including Tuesday’s groundbreaking of the School of Nursing building, a tour of the state-of the-art Medical Simulation Center, a luncheon with V.I. government officials including Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach and several VI senators, and a keynote address to students on the Albert A. Sheen Campus. 

“To have Dr. Harry Williams here, the representative from the most prestigious advocacy group for HBCUs, makes this a very special day,” said UVI President, Dr. David Hall. As one of the organization’s 56 members, UVI has access to critical resources including the TMCF capital financing program which provided the loan for the construction of the School of Nursing building. Through its advocacy, TMCF assisted UVI in receiving pandemic-relief funding from the CARES Act and ensuring inclusion in the federal loan forgiveness program. “Having the types of relationships that Dr. Williams and his staff developed with Congress and with the White House made all of that possible,” said Dr. Hall. 

In his address to UVI students, Dr. Williams spoke about the history of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and how the organization came to be named after the first African American Supreme Court Justice who was also a two-time HBCU graduate. Calling out UVI TMCF student ambassador, Nadeje Barber, and others in the audience, Dr. Williams said, “You are part of that legacy, and you should be very proud about what you’re doing here at UVI because you are part of something big.” He added, “At the Thurgood Marshall College Fund we get up every day focused on how we can continue to support our institutions making sure you have the resources that are necessary so you can grow, thrive and do it in a way that will not only elevate yourself and your community but also your family and everyone around.”  

Speaking about his experience as a Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholar, UVI graduate Michael Bell (’23) said, “Thanks to TMCF, I was able to sharpen my leadership qualities and skills to become more confident in interacting with others. I firmly believe that my time at TMCF helped to set me apart from my peers which allowed me another amazing honor to be part of this year’s White House HBCU Scholar initiative, marking UVI’s first time being bestowed such a prestigious recognition.”  

Dr. Williams also spent time with students on the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas where he toured the 13D Research & Strategy Innovation Center and the recently completed Medical Research and Training Center which will serve as the classroom building for the future School of Medicine. Meeting with 20 students including Miss UVI, Mr. UVI, Student Government Association leaders, homecoming queen and king, student participants in the TMCF Leadership conference and various Cabinet members, Dr. Williams was able to provide updates on TMCF activities, answer student questions and share inspirational messages.  

“Hosting Dr. Williams and his delegation was a wonderful opportunity not only to showcase UVI, our talented students, faculty and our state-of-the-art facilities, but also to share our vision for the future of UVI,” said Dr. Hall. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with TMCF which has so ably represented our interests on a national level and supported our students financially and in many other tangible ways.” 

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund offers a variety of programs including college tuition scholarships, internships, networking and recruitment opportunities, conferences, and professional development programs for students. To date the organization has awarded more than $300 million in financial assistance to its students and member schools. The organization also provides career preparation, global studies and entrepreneurship programs for college students and recent graduates. In addition, TMCF is a national voice for HBCUs and predominantly black institutions seeking to influence public policy that supports these institutions.  

For more information on the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, visit   

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