United Negro College Fund holds luncheon in Tampa

02/15/08 Seán Kinane
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Today the second annual Bay Area Black History Month luncheon was held at the Westin Harbor Island Hotel in Tampa. Gov. Charlie Crist spoke at this fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund.

According to its 2006 statistical report, the United Negro College Fund supports 65,000 students, including nearly 6,000 in Florida. Floridians contributed more than $3-million to the fund in 2006, and Gov. Crist applauded the amount that was donated Friday.

Crist listed several important African-Americans throughout history, including Norbert Rillieux, who invented an improved way to refine sugar cane. Crist has promoted the production of ethanol from sugar cane as a way to reduce greenhouse gasses, even though a study published in the Journal Science last week said that the use of ethanol could nearly double the greenhouse gas emissions as compared the gasoline it would replace.

Crist, who has endorsed Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain, encouraged everyone to vote in the 2008 elections and alluded to the possibility that Sen. Barack Obama has a chance to become the country’s first African-American president.

Money raised in Florida by the United Negro College Fund stays in the state to support students at three member colleges, Bethune-Cookman, Florida Memorial and Edward Waters.

Gwen Miller, chair of the Tampa City Council, congratulated the donors for helping to enhance the quality of education to United Negro College Fund recipients.

WMNF spoke with some of those who attended the luncheon to find out why they support the United Negro College Fund.

Jerome Coleman works at Alliant Testsystems. He said he would hate for young people to “miss out on education to better their lives.”

Sandra Helen Wilson is a professional educator at Hillsborough Community College and a retired Hillsborough County commissioner. Florida needs to do a better job of funding higher education, she said.

Photo credit: Seán Kinane/WMNF

Learn more:

United Negro College Fund – UNCF

Alliant Testsystems

Science article on ethanol creating about twice greenhouse gases as gasoline

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