UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax Receives Honorary Doctorate from Morehouse College


President Biden delivers commencement address and the contributions of UNCF and HBCUs are highlighted during the ceremony

Dr. Lomax and Biden

President Biden and Dr. Lomax share a moment during Morehouse Commencement
President Biden and Dr. Lomax share a moment during Morehouse Commencement

Dr. Lomax at Morehouse

Dr. Lomax posing with his portrait which is being displayed in the Morehouse International Hall of Honor
Dr. Lomax posing with his portrait which is being displayed in the Morehouse International Hall of Honor

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — UNCF (United Negro College Fund) proudly announces that Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Morehouse College. The degree is bestowed to those who have made outstanding contributions to society through humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.

Dr. Lomax was honored on May 19, 2024, during Morehouse’s live-streamed 140th commencement ceremony, which featured President Joseph R. Biden as the commencement speaker. This recognition celebrates Dr. Lomax’s dedicated leadership and impactful contributions to promoting higher education in the African American community. The ceremony highlighted Dr. Lomax’s diligent advocacy for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which helped these institutions reach their highest fundraising goals.

“We are immensely proud of Dr. Lomax and his unwavering commitment to educational excellence,” said UNCF Board of Directors Chair Milton H. Jones, Jr. “This honorary doctorate from Morehouse College is a testament to his visionary leadership and tireless advocacy for students of color.”

Upon receiving his honorary degree, Dr. Lomax Dr. Lomax thanked the university for shaping his journey and underscored his commitment to expanding educational opportunities for underprivileged students. He emphasized the importance of giving back to the community and the role of education in transforming lives.

“This was a special personal moment for me, and I am eternally grateful to my alma mater Morehouse College. But more importantly, it was an opportunity for all of us at UNCF to amplify our HBCUs as Morehouse welcomed President Biden to the campus as their commencement speaker and awarded him an honorary degree,” said Dr. Lomax.  

“This was an event that attracted global attention, and it came at a time when US and global colleges and universities have been demonstrating and protesting the war in Gaza and Israel.  At this challenging and heartbreaking time in history, the world cannot easily find common ground.  The combatants cannot find peace, and so many innocent civilians are victims of brutality and violence,” Dr. Lomax said.

“Morehouse did not solve the problem, but they provided an opportunity for the president to address the war and speak directly to students who are going out into a dangerous world and will have to solve the problems that older generations have failed to address.  I cannot tell you how impressed I was by the Morehouse students who expressed their views thoughtfully and powerfully.  They also let the president speak and make the case for the United States’ position and approach,” noted Dr. Lomax.

During Morehouse’s Baccalaureate services on Saturday, May 18, Dr. Lomax’s official portrait was unveiled. This portrait will hang in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel—the world’s most prominent religious memorial honoring the Morehouse alumnus. The picture, displayed in the Morehouse International Hall of Honor, features more than 200 original oil portraits of distinguished leaders in the global, civil, and human rights nonviolent movement.

Since 2004, Dr. Lomax has steered UNCF to become the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and educational support for African American students. Under his leadership, UNCF has raised over $5 billion, providing financial assistance to more than 500,000 students and supporting 37 HBCUs.

Dr. Lomax congratulated the first graduating class of Lomax Scholars who earned need-based scholarships of up to $10,000 for exemplary academic performance at HBCUs.

Dr. Lomax’s career spans decades and is marked by notable achievements in academia and public service. Before joining UNCF, he served as president of Dillard University in New Orleans and held positions at Emory University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. Additionally, Dr. Lomax remains a driving force in various civic and educational organizations, including the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and the KIPP Foundation.

The ceremony is now available to view on Morehouse’s YouTube channel.

For more information about Dr. Lomax and his work with UNCF, please visit UNCF.org.


About UNCF 

UNCF (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, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. 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 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on X (formerly Twitter) at @UNCF.


CONTACT: Roy Betts United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF) 240.703.3384 [email protected] 

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