LITTLE ROCK — Twenty-five of the nation’s most passionate Historically Black College and University (HBCU) administrators, faculty, staff, alumni and enthusiasts including Kentucky State University Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal Director Dr. Crystal A. deGregory were inducted into the sixth cohort of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.) during its most recent leadership institute. The leadership institute was held at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas Dec. 7-10.

The Leadership Institute of H.E.L.F. affords its fellows with access to and engagement with sitting and former HBCU presidents, senior HBCU administrators, HBCU thought leaders, corporate leaders and executive recruiters. The Leadership Institute is designed to encourage the development of professional relationships, collaborations and communities of practitioners.

“Unapologetic commitments to those things which are black — including historically black colleges and universities — can be unpopular and sadly detrimental in places and in spaces which demand the shirking of all things black, except toxic respectability,” said deGregory. “H.E.L.F. is an invaluable space for the affirmation of HBCUs and for those who believe in them.”

Presenters included members of H.E.L.F.’s leadership team: Dr. Herman J. Felton Jr., Dr. Melva Williams and Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, as well as Reginald Bean, vice president of culture and stewardship at Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Harvard University professor Dr. Marla F. Frederick; Dr. A. Zachary Faison Jr., Esq., general counsel and vice president for external affairs at Tuskegee University; Huston-Tillotson University President Colette Pierce Burnette and Virginia Union University President Hakim J. Lucas.

Since the first H.E.L.F. Leadership Institute at Miles College in June 2015, H.E.L.F. has established a model and practice which has resulted in over 125 individuals who have made a personal and professional commitment to HBCUs. For more information about H.E.L.F., visit