The partnership was orchestrated by Rodney Baker, senior admissions recruiter, who met Mrs. Monica McCluney, national director of strategic alliances and corporate relations for the UNCF in 2011 when the Empower Me Tour (EMT) came to Dallas at Paul Quinn College.
The tour platform was created to empower a movement among young people, motivating them toward academic excellence, personal responsibility and fiscal health through relevant program content and celebrity engagement. Now in its fourth year, the tour delivers holistic touch points, engaging young people at crucial life stages through self-efficacy, personal finance, college readiness and career success messaging.
Baker believes that life is all about making connections, establishing relationships and building a network and saw an opportunity to share the EMT with current and prospective students by hosting it on campus.
"Once making the connection with Mrs. McCluney, I followed up with her in regards to establishing a partnership with Education is Freedom," Baker said. "That was a success, and we stayed in contact."
Education is Freedom (EIF) is a dedicated team providing comprehensive college access services and producing life changing results.
Baker discussed possibilities with McCluney of hosting the tour at the university several months ago when he found out it was scheduled for early spring next year.
"Mrs. McCluney met with their presenting sponsor, Wells Fargo, and they approved," Baker said. "Thanks to Dr. Mary Hendrix, vice president of student access and success, we will now host the UNCF Empower Me Tour on our campus."
There will be a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on July 24th at the Alumni Center where McCluney will present an overview of the tour to university administration. Also in attendance will be Education is Freedom administrators, key staff members and student leaders.
"This partnership will show the university is vested in diversity in this area of East Texas and to further the dialogue of the President's Initiative of Globalization," Baker said. "The EMT program content areas are financial education, college readiness, career readiness, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, service and philanthropy."
Baker is hoping to build greater awareness of A&M-Commerce to surrounding areas by hosting the Dallas, Texas tour date of this national event in Commerce. More than 1,000 event attendees are expected, and there will be many sponsor engagement opportunities, access to college and career services, workshops, and celebrity panel discussions.
"This is an absolutely exciting event that will expose the region to our beautiful campus, students and staff. We are eager to work in support of the United Negro College Fund and the Empower Me Tour," said Stephanie Holley, dean of enrollment and retention. "I am especially thankful to Rodney Baker for the work he has done to create this wonderful opportunity with UNCF and for the students we will serve as a result."
The UNCF Empower Me Tour will be held at A&M-Commerce Saturday, February 23, 2013.