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Lina McCord interns will promote black colleges


The 2007 Lina McCord summer interns will serve as goodwill ambassadors to promote the Black College Fund at annual conference sessions this summer. The interns include (from left) Kevin Walls, Megan Cotton, Andrea Sparrock, Jasmine Johnson, Toni Witherspoon, Eboni Lemon and Jarrett Lemieux.
A UMNS photo by Peyton Hoge.

By Linda Green*
May 22, 2007 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

Twenty-five students and former students of the black colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church will spend the rest of May and all of June thanking the denomination for supporting African-American schools.

Each year, students enrolled in the 11 historically black academic institutions are selected upon the recommendation of their college presidents to serve as goodwill ambassadors to promote and interpret the Black College Fund apportionment and its member colleges throughout the five U.S. jurisdictions of the church. These students serve as Lina H. McCord summer interns.

The 35-year-old program is supported by local church apportionments and promoted by the internship program, which was named for former fund executive Lina H. McCord. The Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns section of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry sponsors the program.

The 25 interns and ambassadors - former interns who serve as mentors for interns and promote the fund on short-term assignments - will travel to 32 annual conference sessions and attend Student Forum in Tacoma, Wash. They will thank people for paying apportionments, describe how the fund has changed their lives and encourage continued support of the fund.

More than 15,000 students attend the church-related historically black schools and universities. Those schools are Bennett College for Women, Greensboro, N.C.; Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C.; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta; Dillard University, New Orleans; Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas; Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.; Paine College, Augusta, Ga.; Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark.; Rust College, Holly Springs, Miss.; and Wiley College, Marshall, Texas.

Josefa Bethea, a 1987 graduate of Bennett College, will address the New Mexico Annual Conference on June 9 in Glorieta. The Black College Fund, she said, "was critical in my gaining an education."

"It served me as a student and as a graduate, and so (it) is important that I give back," she said. She served as a staff member at the college for six years and has served the church in various capacities at the general church level. 

"I support the church that has supported me," she said.

The intern program provides "a real connection between the Black College Fund and person in the pew" because it "puts a face to the program and allows contributors to see their money at work," she added.

"If there were no black colleges, we would have to invent them," said Cynthia Hopson, director of the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. "The kinds of ministries that go on at those institutions with students who have dreams but no means is nothing short of a miracle." Historically black colleges and universities are "doing cutting-edge research and turning out today's and tomorrow's leaders for business, industry, the church and the world," she said.

Interns and ambassadors - listed with their schools - will travel to the following annual conferences and church events:

  • Josefa Bethea, graduate of Bennett College for Women: New Mexico;
  • Brandon Boyd, Bethune-Cookman University: Tennessee;
  • Megan Cotton, Bennett College for Women: Troy, Student Forum, Western Pennsylvania, East Ohio;
  • Juliana daSilva, graduate of Rust College: New England;
  • Lillian Ferguson, graduate of Huston-Tillotson University: North Georgia;
  • Kia Fisher, graduate of Clark Atlanta University: Desert-Southwest;
  • Nilse Furtado, graduate of Rust College: Memphis;
  • Simone Furtado, graduate of Rust College: Student Forum, Central Pennsylvania, Kentucky;
  • Sheridan Gaines, graduate of Dillard University: Student Forum;
  • Latoya Glover, Huston-Tillotson University: West Michigan;
  • George Johnson, graduate of Dillard University: Iowa;
  • Jasmine Johnson, Dillard University: Southwest Texas;
  • Kibamba Kiboko, Wiley College: Illinois Great Rivers;
  • Jarrett Lemieux, Dillard University: Student Forum, Alabama-West Florida, Pennsylvania-Delaware;
  • Eboni Lemon, Clark Atlanta University: Detroit, Student Forum, South Carolina;
  • Ernest Mensah, graduate of Claflin University: New York;
  • Kenneth Neat, graduate of Claflin University: California-Pacific;
  • Kamari Odai, Rust College: North Central New York;
  • Andrea Sparrock, Bennett College for Women: Student Forum, Yellowstone;
  • Chastic Steele, graduate of Rust College: Mississippi;
  • Tia Woods, graduate of Paine College: West Ohio;
  • Kevin Walls, Claflin University: Student Forum, Missouri, West Virginia, Pacific Northwest;
  • Jessica Weatherspoon, Bethune-Cookman University: Baltimore-Washington;
  • Roberta White, graduate of Claflin University: Student Forum;
  • Toni Witherspoon, Philander Smith College: Arkansas, Eastern Pennsylvania.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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Resources

Black College Fund

Lina McCord Intern Program

United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry

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