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Students promote Black College Fund at annual conferences

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A UMNS photo courtesy of the Black College Fund

Some of the 2006 Lina McCord Interns pose for a photo before receiving training about interpreting the Black College Fund.

May 2, 2006

By Linda Green*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Twenty-one students representing the United Methodist Church’s 11 historically black colleges and universities are spending most of their summer traveling to annual conferences to promote awareness of their schools.

Each year, students enrolled in the schools are selected on the recommendation of their college presidents to serve as goodwill ambassadors to promote and interpret the Black College Fund throughout the church’s five U.S. jurisdictions.

The 34-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.

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Simone Furtado

The 21 interns and ambassadors — former interns who serve as mentors for interns and promote the fund on short-term assignments — will travel to 45 annual conference sessions, visit with local churches and United Methodist men’s and women’s groups, and attend college and youth events.

The students, all church members themselves, will thank people for paying apportionments and describe how the fund has changed their lives. More than 15,000 students attend the church-related historically black schools and universities.

One of those students is Simone Furtado, a rising senior at Rust College, Holly Springs, Miss. The biology major said the Black College Fund of the United Methodist Church is important because it helps so many who would not be able to attend college without it. “I am one that has been helped through the Black College Fund.”

She expressed delight at getting to spend her summer attending annual conference sessions and other meetings to “let people know where their money is going. I am an example of how the fund is important because, if not for it, I would not be able to attend college,” she said.

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Cynthia Bond Hopson

The students will put a face on that Black College Fund apportionment dollar, said Cynthia Bond Hopson, director of the fund. The interns will help people “understand the schools’ unique mission and make an investment in the students,” she said. “Many people who hear them have never visited these schools, don’t know where they are or understand their mission,” she added.

The 2006 Lina McCord summer interns and their itineration schedules are:

  • Kevyn Amos, Claflin University graduate: Missouri Annual Conference.
  • Brandon Boyd, Bethune-Cookman College: Kansas East, Memphis, New York, and Nebraska annual conferences.
  • Berlin Lens Charles, Philander Smith College: Detroit, North Indiana, Central Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware annual conferences.
  • Llewon Felder, Clark Atlanta University: Baltimore-Washington and North Texas annual conferences.
  • Lillian Ferguson, Huston-Tillotson University graduate: West Virginia, Virginia and Rocky Mountain annual conferences.
  • Kia Fisher, Clark Atlanta University graduate: Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference.
  • Milse Furtado, Rust College: Kentucky and Tennessee annual conferences.
  • Nilse Furtado, Rust College graduate: Western North Carolina Annual Conference.
  • Simone Furtado, Rust College: New Mexico, Dakotas, and East Ohio annual conferences.
  • Sheridan Gaines, Dillard University graduate: California-Pacific Annual Conference.
  • Coker George, Huston-Tillotson University: Red Bird Missionary, Alabama-West Florida annual conferences and Student Forum.
  • Latoya Glover, Huston-Tillotson University: Rio Grande, Oregon-Idaho and Mississippi annual conferences.
  • George Johnson, Dillard University and Wiley College: Troy, Louisiana and Holston annual conferences.
  • Joseph Jones, Philander Smith College and Clark Atlanta University: Arkansas Annual Conference.
  • Ernest Mensah, Claflin University graduate: Minnesota, West Michigan. New England, Wisconsin and North Carolina annual conferences.
  • Kamari Odai, Rust College: North Central New York Annual Conference;
  • Jeffrey Thomas, Paine College graduate: Youth Harambee.
  • Jessica Weatherspoon, Bethune-Cookman College: Student Forum and Wyoming, Oklahoma Indian Missionary and North Georgia annual conferences.
  • Leigh Ann Williams, Claflin University: Oklahoma and Iowa annual conferences.
  • Roberta White, Claflin University graduate: Desert Southwest Annual Conference.
  • Doris Worley, Wiley College: Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.

For more information, visit on the Web or contact the Black College Fund, Division of Higher Education and Ministry, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007; phone: (615) 340-7378.

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

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or

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