Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Esq. Chief Executive Officer and President

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Esq.
Chief Executive Officer and President
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Prior to assuming the presidency of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Mr.
Taylor worked as a senior executive for IAC/InterActiveCorp—first as its Senior Vice
President of Human Resources and then as the President & CEO of one of IAC’s
operating subsidiaries, Before joining IAC, Mr. Taylor was a
Partner in the McGuire Woods law firm and president of that firm’s consulting business;
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA and he held several
senior human resources and legal executive roles with Viacom subsidiaries: Blockbuster
Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.
Mr. Taylor is the Past Chairman of the Society for Human Resource Management
(SHRM), one of the world’s largest professional associations with 235,000 members in
130 countries and has served on the boards of the Urban Leagues of Broward County and
Mecklenburg County, the University of Miami President’s Council, Johnson C. Smith
University and the Drake University Board of Trustees and the National YMCA
Employee Benefits Plan.
Mr. Taylor received his Bachelor of Science in Communications with general
honors from the University of Miami, Master of Arts in Mass Communications with
honors form Drake University and Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors form Drake
University Law School where he served as Research Editor of the Drake Law Review
and argued on the National Moot Court Team. He is a member of the Florida, Illinois
and Washington, D.C. bars and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
Dr. Norma Joyce Payne
Founder and Board Member
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Norma Joyce Payne currently serves as Executive Director of the National
Alliance for Public Trust, a new organization committed to advancing principled
leadership, inspired scholarship and trusted stewardship. She accepted this position
following her recent retirement as Vice President, Office for the Advancement of Public
Black Colleges and Council of Student Affairs of the National Association of State
Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) in cooperation with the American
Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). OAPBC is an information and
advocacy office that represents 40 of the largest and most prestigious historically black
public colleges and universities in the nation and the Council on Student Affairs serves as
the national voice for 213 public and land-grant universities.
Before joining OAPBC, Payne was the president of Global Systems, Inc. and was
a senior staff member under the Carter administration with the President’s Advisory
Committee for Women; President’s National Advisory Council on Women’s Education
Programs, and the White House Conference on Families. She taught at the former Federal
City College and at George Washington University and currently serves as a Senior
Social Scientist (consultant) with the Gallup Organization and as a member of the faculty
in the School of Agriculture at Alcorn State University.
An authority on women’s issues in relation to higher education and labor force
participation, Payne has published and presented a number of papers on “Women in
Administration in Higher Education”; “Women in Urban School Systems”; Women and
the Consequences of Power”; “Maintaining the Competitive Tradition” in Minorities in
Higher Education; “Hidden Messages in the Pursuit of Equality” in Academe; and “Black
Colleges in an Expanding Economy” in the American Council on Education’s
Educational Record.
Payne received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the former District
of Columbia Teachers College and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in
education from the former Atlanta University. She received a Presidential Medal from
Delaware State University in 2003 and has received honorary doctorates from Lincoln
University of Missouri, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Kentucky State University
and the University of the District of Columbia. She was inducted into the District of
Columbia’s Hall of Fame in 2001. She served on the Board of Trustees of the University
of the District of Columbia for nine years and served for two years as chair of the Board.
In 1987, she created the nationally recognized Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF),
designed exclusively for exceptional students at public black colleges and universities.
She serves on the board of directors of TMCF; the national board of AARP; chairs the
AARP Foundation board and has served on the distinguished Foreign Service
Performance Evaluation Board and the Advisory Equity Council of the U.S. Department
of State. She has traveled extensively in Africa, South America and Europe and most
recently in Vietnam.
Rebecca A. Bennett
Vice President, Chief Program Officer
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Rebecca Bennett is the Vice President of Programs for the Thurgood Marshall
College Fund (TMCF). She is responsible for managing and implementing Thurgood
Marshall College Fund's national programs including faculty development, scholarship
management, student leadership development, university capacity building, college
recruitment, research and publications.
Ms. Bennett also oversees the national program staff, which includes regional
career counselors, scholarship managers, program coordinators, and program
management staff. She is instrumental in guiding the Fund to implement its expanded
programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), leadership
development, and the development of new on-campus leadership programs.
Ms. Bennett has over 20 years of professional experience in program and
financial aid management. Rebecca began her career as a college recruitment manager for
the United Negro College Fund where she served as an admissions and financial aid
advisor for hundreds of students. She then went on to serve as the Assistant Director of
Scholarship Programs at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. Ms.
Bennett returned to the United Negro College to serve as the Executive Director for
Programs. Ms. Bennett has had an accomplished career in scholarship and program
management and HBCU capacity building programs. Ms. Bennett received her bachelor's
degree in Management Information Systems from Pace University and is pursuing her
master's degree in Business Administration from Mary Washington University in
Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Dr. Robert L. Ford
Professor of Chemistry
Director of the Center for STEM Education
and Outreach (C-SEO)
Texas Southern University
Dr. Ford also serves as the Chair of the TSU Faculty Senate Mentoring
Committee at Texas Southern University. Ford is GLOBE Partnership Coordinator for
TSU and represents the College on the University Research Council. He has served as
Associate Provost for Research at TSU, Vice President for Advancement and Research at
Fort Valley State University, and Vice Chancellor for Research at Southern University in
Baton Rouge. He recently completed a one-year stint as Interim Chair of the TSU
Chemistry Department. He represents TSU on the Greater Houston Energy Collaborative
and led the University’s Texas Emerging Technology Fund Initiative. He is a member of
the Advisory Board of the Greater Houston Area American Red Cross Southeast Branch
and founding Chairman of the Minority Serving Institution Research (MSIRP)
Partnership, where he currently serves as Treasurer.
Dr. Ford has expertise in project development and management, environmental
and sustainable development, group facilitation, and small business and entrepreneurship
development. He has international business and technology experience in South Africa,
The Republic of the Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Taiwan, Germany, and The Netherlands.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Southern University and
A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from
Purdue University at Lafayette, IN, where he was recently recognized as a Distinguished
Alumnus at both institutions.
During his years at Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY and Palo Alto, CA, Dr.
Ford worked in the areas organic charge transfer complex materials development for
improved photocopying applications (Webster Research Center) and flat panel display
device technology development based on multicolor colloidal systems (Palo Alto
Research Center). In the applied research arena, he conducted a feasibility study in the
Republic of the Gambia relative to agricultural waste to energy for electricity production,
and uranium enrichment processing in Germany and The Netherlands. Ford is currently
working to establish a Center for STEM Education and Outreach at TSU and he is
affiliated with the TSU National Transportation Security Center of Excellence focusing
on Petrochemical transport. His current graduate student is conducting research in
petrochemical fuels combustion and pollutant emissions. Current areas of research
interest include petrochemical transport, STEM education, and environmental
Dr. A. Anil Kumar
Chairman, Department of Physics
Professor of Electrical and Computer
Prairie View A&M University
A. Anil Kumar, Ph.D., heads the Department of Physics and is a Professor of
Electrical and Computer Engineering (PVAMU) at Prairie View A&M University in
Prairie View, Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. (Physics) from the Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore; a M.Sc. (Physics) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi;
and a B.Sc. (Physics Honors) from Osmania University, Hyderabad.
He works with multiple school districts on several issues: state and national
standards; implementation issues; relevance of science in the global economy; necessity
for increased enrollment in STEM disciplines; and teachers’ opportunities for funding
and professional development. For the past five years he has been directing Project
XLR8, a high school redesign project, funded by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund,
with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently working on a
monograph whose subject is redesigning education (which is more a redesign of mindsets
than that of schools).
Since he joined PVAMU in 1985, he has received and managed more than $2
million in research grants and proposals during ‘89-’08 from federal, state and private
agencies. He has contributed extensively to College level and University level research
by authoring proposals in a variety of disciplines including: education, manufacturing,
radiation, community and economic development with specific emphasis on workforce
development – education, and training and retraining. For the past six years, he has been
involved in Mentor-Protégé Program and small business mentoring activities. He has
three products based on his earlier research that have potential for technology transfer
and commercialization: (i) CSIM – Communication System Simulator: An in-house
developed simulation program for evaluating signal performance through noise; (ii)
CSPIFF – Circuit Simulation Program In presence of Fatal Faults: An in-house developed
simulation program for estimating the reliability and fault-tolerance of large scale
electronic systems; and (iii) Bone Conduction Headset: A duplex communication device
based on the bone conduction mechanism, with applications to space communications,
manufacturing plants, and persons with hearing impairments, among others.
His educational experience spans teaching, mentoring and advising from
freshman to doctoral level students. He affected major changes in the physics curriculum
and degree program making it more relevant to today’s world. As a member of the
Academy for Educator Development (Texas A&M University System’s Regents’
Initiative for Excellence in Education), he worked with several high schools on curricular
alignment, teacher training and collaborative proposal development. For this effort he
was one of five faculty members in the TAMU System to have received the
Distinguished Achievement Award from the Board of Regents. In March 2009, he was a
recipient of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Outstanding Achievement Award for
School Reform.
Kumar’s main interests outside of his work are: listening to and reading
orchestral scores of western classical music; reading science fiction and novels based on
law and courtroom scenarios; and volunteering to reach young children in the local
Dr. Joseph L. Graves, Jr.
Associate Dean for Research
Professor of Biological Sciences
Joint School of Nanosciences and
North Carolina A&T State University
Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. received his Ph.D. in Environmental, Evolutionary and
Systematic Biology from Wayne State University in 1988. In 1994 he was elected a
Fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS.) In April 2002, he received the ASU-West award for Scholarly Research and
Creative Activity. His research concerns the evolutionary genetics of postponed aging
and biological concepts of race in humans, with over sixty papers and book chapters
published, and had appeared in six documentary films and numerous television
interviews on these general topics. He has been a Principal Investigator on grants from
the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the Arizona Disease
Research Commission.
His books on the biology of race are entitled: The Emperor's New Clothes:
Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, Rutgers University Press, 2001, 2005 and
The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America, Dutton Press, 2004, 2005. A
summary of Dr. Graves’s research career can be found on Wikipedia, and he is also
featured in the ABC-CLIO volume on Outstanding African American scientists. In
November 2007, he was featured in the CNN Anderson Cooper 360 program on Dr.
James Watson.
He has served as a member of the external advisory board for the National Human
Genome Center at Howard University. In January 2006, he became a member of the
“New Genetics and the African Slave Trade” working group of the W.E.B. Du Bois
Institute of Harvard University, chaired by professors Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn
Hammonds. He is currently serving as chair of the Senior Advisory Board for the
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) at Duke University.
He has been an active participant in the struggle to protect and improve the
teaching of science, particularly evolutionary biology in the public schools. In 2007, he
became a member of the inaugural editorial board of Evolution: Education and Outreach,
published by Springer-Verlag. He has been a leader in addressing the under
representation of minorities in science careers, having directed successful programs in
California and Arizona. He is a member of the board of the Guilford Education Alliance.
From 2005 – 2009, he has been a leading force in aiding underserved youth in
Greensboro via the YMCA chess program.
Dr. Jessica Han
Assistant Professor
North Carolina A&T University
Researcher, Department of Biology
Dr. Jian (Jessica) Han received her Ph.D in Nutrition from The Pennsylvania State
University in 2001. She continued her postdoc training in Molecular
Neuropharmacology from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
and in Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She published a
number of peer-reviewed articles on iron metabolism in various research models and
disease conditions. Dr. Han is currently an Assistant Professor at North Carolina A&T
State University. Her major research interest is nutritional prevention of cancer. Her
current NIH SC2 grant proposal is on the genistein and iron interaction in breast cancer.
She is a member of undergraduate research committee at North Carolina A&T State
University. She is an active participant in several research collaboration teams such as 1)
Biocomputational Evolution in Action (BEACON project between North Carolina A&T
State University, Michigan State University, University of Texas, University of
Washington, and University of Idaho; and 2) the Regional Collaboration on Drug
Development and Nanopharmacology of the Joint School of Nanosciences and
Nanoengineering administered by North Carolina A&T State University and the
University of Carolina at Greensboro.
Mr. Jerry L. Drew
International Consultant
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Jerry L. Drew has spent more than thirty years of his professional career as a
strong advocate for international affairs on the African continent. He has worked for the
government, private industry, and a number of non-profit organizations raising funds for
advocating the cause of African interests in the U.S. He has used his executive
management skills to raise more than thirty-one million dollars for implementation of
numerous international programs and projects. Mr. Drew has an extensive network of
international contacts that he has utilized effectively in broadening his experience in
organizational development and strategic planning.
Mr. Drew served as the Vice President and Executive Director of the Washington
Office of the Africa-America Institute (AAI) from 1988 through 2001. Prior to his
executive service at AAI he worked as a research associate in the Department of
International Affairs of Howard University from 1983 thorough 1988 and directed the
Technical Assistance Program and the Emphasis Africa Program of Sister Cities
International from 1975 through 1979. Mr. Drew worked as a Foreign Service Officer
for the U.S. Department of State from 1968 through 1975. He has traveled extensively in
Africa, Latin America and Europe and most recently Asia.
Mr. Drew earned a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration from
Michigan State University in 1965 and obtained his J.D. from the University of Iowa
School of Law in l975. He had extensive international experience during his student days
as a summer exchange student in 1965 at the University of Nigeria-Nsukka and as a
summer law student at the University of Paris in 1975. He is proficient in French.
Mr. Drew was born in South Fulton, Tennessee and raised in Chicago, Illinois and
relocated to the Washington, D.C. area where he has resided since 1975. He served as a
board member on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center African Odyssey Program,
the D.C. Public School/Private Partnership Board, and the Business Advisory Committee
for the D.C. Public School Partnership Board, the Pacifica Radio Foundation, and the
WPFW-FM Radio Station Board Chair. He has also served as a member of numerous
international and national organizations, including TransAfrica, the African Studies
Association, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, the National Association
of College and University Attorneys, and the Subcommittee on Africa of the Society for
Public Administration.