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Founder of Thurgood Marshall Fund to Speak at UVI

dr joyce payne, founder of thurgood marshall fund

The University of the Virgin Islands will present its annual Alfred O. Heath lecture, with a keynote address from Dr. Joyce Payne an authority on women’s issues related to higher education and workforce participation.

 Dr. Payne will speak at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, in the Chase Auditorium in the School of Business Building on the St. Thomas Campus. She will address the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, 6 p.m., Friday, April 17, in the Great Hall, North West Wing. The topic of her presentation is “The Importance of Higher Education for Women and the Key to Success.”

Dr. Payne is a leader in gender education and has held positions as advisor to the White House on women’s education. Dr. Payne notably started the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) in 1987.  Named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice, the fund supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending 47-member schools, which includes public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

Dr. Payne’s career in education is extensive.  In 2008-2009, she served as executive director of the National Alliance for Public Trust, an organization committed to advancing leadership in American education institutions. She accepted this position following her retirement as vice president, Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges and Council of Student Affairs of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in cooperation with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Payne has advised White House officials on issues pertinent to women in education.  She was a senior staff member under the Jimmy Carter administration, on the President’s Advisory Committee for Women and the President’s National Advisory Council on Women’s Education Programs. She also advised the White House Conference on Families.

The Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series offers the public a setting in which to hear nationally and internationally recognized individuals discuss issues related to the challenges and opportunities faced by the global community. The series is the University's way of recognizing and celebrating the outstanding person and accomplished citizen that is Dr. Alfred O. Heath. As a UVI trustee emeritus and chair of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Heath is an ardent, longtime supporter of the mission of the University.

Previous Alfred Health lecturers have included acclaimed actor Charles Dutton, publisher and editor Susan Taylor, and attorney and presidential advisor Charles Ogletree.