Thanks (for nothing)

Walter M. Kimbrough
2 min readMay 29, 2023

I’ve recently realized how often people cite Dr. Lomax “thanking” President Trump as proof that he was a consequential force in HBCU funding. But his thanks was nowhere near a ringing endorsement.

People get the quote from this article where it says “Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, thanked Trump and the thousands of advocates who lobbied Congress to support the bill.”

The UNCF press release provides full context. Before even mentioning Trump, Lomax clearly indicates bipartisan support PLUS pressure by HBCU alumni and advocates to get this done. If the President had placed this in his budget, this would not be needed (KEY POINT).

The UNCF statement is December 19, 2019. On March 3, 2020, Dr. Lomax delivered the State of the HBCU address in Washington. For all the newfound Google HBCU experts out there, I was in the room. In fact, I introduced Dr. Lomax. Dr. Lomax at one point reminds the audience that it doesn’t help when those in power say HBCUs were “going out, and we saved them.” In fact, Trump declared in Davos, “I saved HBCUs.” Here is a clip of the quote he references.

But this is the key point I have been making. Trump zeroed out the funding which became the FUTURE Act in his budget proposal. Lomax says, “Now we appreciate President Trump for signing legislation THAT WAS NOT IN HIS OWN BUDGETS like the FUTURE Act. Lomax then brings the full context: “… at the same time however we have also objected to the administration’s efforts to eliminate supplemental equal opportunity grants and slash the federal work study program and TRIO.” Listen:

Noting Dem candidates Lomax says, “So far, we have yet to see those kinds of commitments from the Trump campaign, or in the President’s 20–21 budget. But we know the President wants the bragging rights for having done more than any other president to support HBCUs.” The entire speech is found here.

So yeah, he thanked him. But in context it clearly isn’t acknowledging a spectacular effort. So as Dr. Lomax said…



Walter M. Kimbrough

12th president of Philander Smith College. 7th president of Dillard University. Now in an Intermission.