Tougaloo College Hosts Universities Studying Slavery Fall Symposium

John Rosenthall ‘70

Tougaloo College and the Tougaloo College Research and Development Foundation (Research Foundation) will host Universities Studying Slavery’s Fall Symposium, October 24-26, 2018. Universities Studying Slavery (USS) is a consortium of thirty-eight Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) and five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) examining their association with slavery and seeking means to respond and repair. Efforts to examine PWI association with slavery started in 2003 when Brown University President Ruth Simmons chartered a presidential panel to examine Brown’s association with slavery. Since that time, more than fifty universities have researched their involvement with slavery. With research findings in hand, these PWIs are considering how to respond to their findings and repair their involvement.

Tougaloo College joined USS earlier this year to insert additional African-American researchers’ and scholars’ voices into the national conversation on slavery repair and reparations. With USS members seeking to repair for their association with slavery, Tougaloo has suggested that the most appropriate repair option is to strengthen HBCUs and help them maintain financial sustainability through research and contract partnerships. Any reasonable repair option should bestow a tangible benefit on all descendants of enslaved individuals. No institution touches and supports more descendants of enslaved people than HBCUs. The suggested repair option will be discussed during the Symposium.

Should the USS approve the recommendation to support research and contract partnerships between HBCUs and their members, the College or the Research Foundation will form and manage the partnerships. In addition, the College or the Research Foundation will maintain a fee generating role in each partnership. In either case, partnership formation and management will produce another income stream for the College. Symposium registration can be found at Additional information about Universities Studying Slavery can be found at

About the Research Foundation 

The Tougaloo College Board of Trustees approved the Research Foundation in 2016.

The Research Foundation’s mission is to support the research and development mission of Tougaloo College and that of other HBCUs. The Research Foundation meets that mission by forming research and contract partnerships between HBCU and research entities. According to Research Foundation President John Rosenthall, class of 1970, “there are many PWI research institutions that receive more research and contract funds from a single federal agency than the amount all HBCUs receive from the entire federal government.” Rosenthall also stated “Tougaloo faculty and students have as much talent as students and faculty at other institutions but lack the opportunities. Through partnerships with research institutions and government contractors, our goal is to provide additional research and contract opportunities for our faculty and students. Overhead and profits from research grants and contracts can help the College hold the line on tuition and provide upgrades to help the College maintain its competitive edge for high achieving students.”

The Research Foundation is producing results for the College. It has won a $250,000 cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy to support ten HBCUs in their research aspirations. The agreement includes scholarship support for 20 Tougaloo students each semester and a paid summer internship for the 20 Tougaloo students. The Mississippi Legislature awarded the Research Foundation $1 million for the interior repair and upgrades to the Mansion. Additionally, the Research Foundation has enhanced the College’s relationship with Mississippi State University and established new partnerships with Deloitte and Optimal Solutions and Technologies (OST), government contractors. The partnerships with Deloitte and OST call for the submission of ten proposals a month to federal agencies to conduct research or perform contracts. These proposals should produce projects that provide additional opportunities for our faculty and students, and additional income for the College.

When the Research Foundation concept was initially proposed, it was presented as an opportunity for alumni with research or contract experiences and interest to partner with the Research Foundation to pursue, capture and complete federal research and contracts. For additional information about the Research Foundation, or to examine partnership opportunities, contact Research Foundation President John Rosenthall at