The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) is the nation’s only national membership association of all of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Founded in 1969, by the presidents and chancellors of HBCUs and other equal educational opportunity institutions, NAFEO is a one of a kind membership association representing the presidents and chancellors of the public, private, independent, and land-grant, two-year, four-year, graduate and professional, HBCUs and PBIs.
NAFEO is a voluntary, independent 501 (c ) (3) association which has as its purposes, “to articulate the need for a system of higher education where race, income, and previous educational levels ae not the determinants of either the quantity or the quality of higher education….to increase the active participation of Blacks at every level of American higher education.” For 52-years NAFEO has championed the interests of HBCUs in the legislative executive, and judicial branches of government, before international organizations, and with heads of state. NAFEO has taken and continues to take actions to prod public investments in public HBCUs such they are comparable to and competitive with public historically White colleges and universities (HWCUs); to access and leverage all possible resources to create excellent, diverse higher education systems across America, creating, funding, and sustaining programs for HBCUs their students, and other stakeholders, especially those buffered by racism, exploitation, and neglect of the economic, educational, and social institutions of America.
NAFEO Membership At a Glance
NAFEO is the 501(c) (3)-membership association of the nation’s 106 HBCUs and roughly 80 PBIs. NAFEO serves as “the voice for blacks in higher education.” NAFEO members enroll more than 700,000 students, 720,000 faculty, and 7 million alumni worldwide. HBCUs have a $15 billion short-term economic impact. They graduate 50% of African American public school education professionals; in excess of 40% of African Americans who earn advanced degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); 60% of African American health professionals; 52% of African Americans in agriculture and sustainability disciplines, and 44% of African Americans with Communications Technology degrees.
The History of NAFEO-The Voice of Blacks in Higher Education
1968, was plausibly the most historic year in modern American history. 1968 marked the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. It was the year that two Black athletes raised fists staging silent protests against racial discrimination in the United States at the 1968 summer Olympics; a malfunctioning garbage truck crushed to death Memphis sanitation workers Mr. Echol Cole and Mr. Robert Walker, spurring the I AM A MAN protests by AFSCME members; hundreds of students, seeking a greater voice in student discipline and curriculum protested in front of the administration building at Howard University; and the Poor People’s Campaign culminated in the Solidarity Day Rally for Jobs, Peace and Freedom. The little-known Supreme Court case of Green vs. the School Board of New Kent County ruled that ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, New Key County school systems still had not converted schools to desegregated systems. Shirley Chisholm of New York became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and feminists gathered in Atlantic City to protest the Miss America Pageant. Also, in 1968, Congress enacted The Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the Hart–Celler Act, which changed the way immigration quotas were allocated. It ended an immigration-admissions policy based on race and ethnicity, and gave rise to large-scale immigration, both legal and unauthorized. In that historic year, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) was conceptualized by HBCU and other equal educational opportunity presidents and chancellors, as, the nation’s only 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt membership and advocacy association of all of the richly diverse HBCUs and PBIs; “the voice for blacks in higher education” NAFEO was officially launched in 1969.
From 1969 to the present, NAFEO has been in the forefront of championing the issues and interests of its richly diverse member institutions, and their key stakeholders, as the advocacy association for the public, private, and land grant, two-year, four-year, graduate and professional HBCUs and PBIs.
The NAFEO Executive Team
Benjamin F. Chavis, Ph.D.
President & CEO
National Newspaper Publishers Association &
Chair, NAFEO Board of Directors
Lezli Baskerville, Esquire, HBS
President & CEO, NAFEO
Sylvia Quinton, Esquire, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Office and Chief Academic Officer
Joy West, Esquire
NAFEO Special Assistant
Chief, HBCU CommUniversity
(Community & Campus Development)
Derek Simms, Esquire
Chief, HBCU Technology Foundation & Strategic Alliances
Honorable Renee Baskerville, M.D.
Chief, NAFEO Health & Wellbeing Initiatives
Hope Leigh Sullivan, Esquire
Chief, NAFEO Global Initiatives/
Harnessing the Power of the African Diaspora
Lisa Irving Venus, Esquire
NAFEO Government Relations & Communications
NAFEO Vertical Farming with Terra Vega
Arthur Thomas, PhD.
NAFEO Presidential Fellow
President Emeritus Central State University
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education & Douglass College, Rutgers University Distinguished Alumna, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow, and Howard University School of Law Distinguished Alumna, and Lifetime Achievement Circle Inductee