Senator Scott, Rep. Walker to Host Bipartisan HBCU Conference on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON – As part of Black History Month, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) will host the Second Annual HBCU Fly-in: “Advancing Opportunity and Entrepreneurship” with Chairman Mark Walker (R-NC), the chair of the Republican Study Committee. Senator Scott and Chairman Walker have invited the Presidents and Chancellors of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to participate in a daylong conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, February 27th.

Last year’s inaugural conference served as a platform for productive dialogue focused on opportunity, strengthening bilateral relationships, and celebrating the importance of our country’s HBCUs. This event will provide HBCU leaders, job creators, and policymakers with the opportunity to discuss innovative avenues for promoting educational achievement, bolstering cross-sector partnerships, and meeting the ever-shifting demands of the American workforce.

Other confirmed participants include U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Dr. Harry L. Williams, president & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Dr. Michael Lomax, president & CEO of the United Negro College Fund.

Benjamin Watson, NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens and recent Bart Starr award winner, has been confirmed as the conference’s speaker for the keynote luncheon.

HBCU Fly-in on Capitol Hill Information

House Administration Committee Room
1309 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Note: The Keynote Luncheon and Panel 3 will take place at the Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE. While media are welcomed to cover both, video cameras are not permitted inside of the Capitol Hill Club.

Invocation by Senate Chaplain Barry Black

DISCUSSION I: Willful Workforce: It’s about the jobs
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Julie Gehrki
Vice President of Programs, Walmart

Collis R. Jones
Vice President of U.S. Policy and Strategy, John Deere

Cynthia H. Bowman
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Bank of America

Kris Clemmons
Corporate Counsel, Starbucks

Moderator: Gerard Robinson
Executive Director for the Center of Advancing Opportunity

DISCUSSION II: Seizing Opportunities and Claiming Entrepreneurship
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Lisa Schumacher
Director of Educational Strategies, McDonald’s

Gozie Nwabuebo
Team Lead for HBCU Engagement, Google

Dr. John Hardin
Director of University Relations, the Charles Koch Foundation

Dr. Ruthie Reynolds
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CEED)

Dr. Tiffany Bussey
Director, Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center (MCEC)

Moderator: Shawn Yancy
FOX 5 DC News Anchor


12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Benjamin Watson, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
National Football League

Congressional HBCU Leaders

Dr. Michael L. Lomax
President & Chief Executive Officer, United Negro College Fund

Dr. Harry L. Williams
President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

The Honorable Mark Walker
Chairman, Republican Study Committee

The Honorable Tim Scott
United States Senator, South Carolina

The Honorable James Lankford
United States Senator, Oklahoma

The Honorable Terri Sewell
United States Representative, Alabama

Moderator: Ja’Ron Smith
Special Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Counsel. Executive Office of the President

All interested media should RSVP by emailing