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FAIRFAX, VA (March 1, 2012)- Hundreds of seniors at historically black colleges and universities that are members of UNCF(United Negro College Fund) will be able to graduate on time, thanks to a $1 million gift from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) to the UNCF Campaign for Emergency Student Aid (CESA).

UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, launched CESA in 2009 to help recession-impacted students at risk of having to interrupt their studies and delay their degrees due to unpaid tuition balances, text books and room and board fees.  In supporting the UNCF Campaign for Emergency Student Aid, LCEF stepped up again to help students walk across the finish line. Overall, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has donated a total of $1.75 million to CESA to help seniors graduate.

The Lowe’s donation has helped students like Johnson C. Smith seniors Ronald Wilson Jr., a Computer Information Systems student, and Bishop Walker, a political science student.

“I am so grateful to be named a Lowe’s Scholar through the UNCF Campaign for Emergency Student Aid.  Their commitment to education is a priceless investment that I hope more corporations will step-up and follow,” said Ronald Wilson Jr, a graduating senior at Johnson C. Smith University.  “By receiving this scholarship, it has lifted the burden of worrying about how I would pay for my tuition and has allowed me to focus on my academics and future goals and aspirations. Because of the support from Lowe’s, I will walk across the stage and graduate on May 6, 2012.”

“Lowe’s support of UNCF’s Campaign for Emergency Student Aid  is a lifeline to students whose college education is threatened by the tough economy,” said UNCF president and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D.  “Thousands of students at UNCF member colleges have seen family contributions reduced or eliminated due to job loss and pay cuts.  The credit crunch has squeezed private student loans off the market.  Many of these students wouldn’t have been able to graduate this spring without support provided by Lowe’s.”

Bishop Walker, a graduating senior in political science at UNCF member institution Johnson C. Smith University, called his CESA scholarship “a blessing from God.”

“It is helping me get closer to achieving my dreams of going to divinity school, becoming a minister to inspire the hopeless and helping to build stronger families, stronger communities and ultimately a stronger more competitive nation ,” he said.  “I come from a single parent household and the downward economy has impacted my family. It is great to know that organizations and corporations like UNCF and Lowe’s care.”

“An education is a priceless gift that benefits the whole community,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By providing these vital dollars to students who have worked so hard to achieve their goals, we are not only investing in their future – but the future of communities across the country. We know these students will do great things with the tools and support they’ve been given to achieve their dreams.”

Donations to UNCF’s Campaign for Emergency Student Aid can be made by visiting on Campaign for Emergency Student Aid to help young adults to stay in and graduate from college.

Through its member institutions and scholarship programs, UNCF has helped more than 400,000 students earn their degrees and launch their careers. Each year, UNCF supports the education of more than 60,000 students by awarding 10,000 scholarships and providing financial support to its member colleges and universities.


UNCF-the United Negro College Fund-is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization.  To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at


Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The company’s signature education grant program, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education®, has donated nearly $5 million in grants to K-12 public schools every year since its inception in 2006. Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers support local community projects and our national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. In 2011, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $32 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  To learn more, visit