Thanks to all who attended, this year’s summit shattered records with more than 1,000+ Black higher education leaders and supporters in attendance.



Designed to reach across traditional lines of responsibility and present 360-degree views of key issues in higher education, our five guiding pillars support advancing the missions of Black colleges and universities and strengthening Black higher education as a whole.


Black colleges and universities have been key levers in the development and uplift of the Black community. The United Negro College Fund was established in 1944 as a membership organization of HBCUs, committed to helping each achieve their critical missions.

At this year’s summit, we redoubled our efforts to support all Black colleges and universities as they pursue transformation and sustainability.

UNITE offered sessions on Institutional Excellence, designed for institutional leaders, partners and champions committed to adapting new and promising strategies leading to effective partnerships, streamlined processes and enhanced skills and capabilities.

By embracing Institutional Excellence, we ensure Black colleges and universities are equipped to meet the demands of today’s learners, preparing them for a future of limitless opportunities.


Institutional Transformation. Executing strategies that lead to institutional resiliency.

Executive Leadership. Increasing the effectiveness of Black college presidents and executive leadership.

Financial Sustainability.
Investigating approaches to improved fiscal systems, business models, endowment management, facilities planning and resource stewardship. 

Fundraising and Advancement. Securing resources and partnerships that help our institutions fulfill their missions.


For more than a century, HBCUs have deployed countless compelling strategies to support Black college students. Their unparalleled outcomes in graduation rates, career trajectories and social impact for the Black community and the country speak for themselves.

But this doesn’t mean our job is done. In all we do, we must continue to place students first.

UNITE sessions on Student Success were designed to help those most responsible for ensuring every student is better positioned to fulfill their dreams and aspirations

We showcased opportunities to teach, innovate, share thought leadership and revisit time-proven approaches so all students can maximize their higher education experience.


Teaching and Learning. Enhancing curriculum, instruction and professional development for Black colleges and the faculty and staff who lead them.

Enrollment Management. Investigating promising practices in student marketing, admissions, retention, coaching and financial aid.

Mental Health. Presenting Unapologetically Free: Centering Mental Health on Black College Campuses, a national campaign launched in 2023.

Learner Voice. Elevating the perspectives and aspirations of Black college and university students.


The future, as they say, is now. Right now.

Seismic changes in remote learning, big data, and institutional research, assessment and evaluation are all on the horizon and leaders who seize the moment and new ideas will shape the future of Black higher education.

When HBCUs reflect intentionally on their existing practices, implement innovations with the latest technology, and track progress using data-driven approaches, they create the conditions for all of their stakeholders to thrive.

UNITE sessions on Research and Innovation were held for those with one eye on the changes to come, and the other on what we must do today to prepare for their timely arrival.


Knowledge Management. Improving data, knowledge and information systems to drive institutional improvement.

Digital Solutions. Featuring the development of HBCUv, an HBCU-led online learning platform that creates the conditions for students, educators and staff across Black colleges and universities to learn, develop and flourish.

Research and Assessment. Understanding and expanding the pathways that lead to educational attainment.

Innovation in Action. Leveraging novel, groundbreaking ideas to shape the future of higher education.


HBCUs have always had an outsized impact on social and economic mobility for the Black community. 

From the beginning, HBCUs have collaborated with business and industry to strengthen institutional operations while prioritizing practices that helped their students develop fulfilling, life-affirming and community-sustaining careers.

Through collaboration between educators, industry leaders, and strategic partners, we strive to enhance career pathways that support skill development, student engagement and transition to the world of work.

UNITE offered sessions on Economic Mobility for champions committed to furthering economic independence for Black college students and the Black community.


Workforce Skills. Aligning programs and curricula to the skills needed in the 21st century workforce, including the development of entrepreneurship competencies.  

Career Pathways. Securing the supports and onramps that enable successful transition from college to career.

Industry Collaboration. Cultivating alliances between institutions and industry leaders to create the conditions for a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive workforce.

STEM Initiatives. Advancing STEM learning, research and curriculum development, along with helping HBCUs commercialize the technologies and intellectual property developed by their faculty and students.


No matter the scale and accomplishments of our individual institutions, we’re all just fish in a large pond. We all operate in the roiling waters of our larger society, where systems beyond an institution’s control can impact the well-being and effectiveness of its students, faculty, and communities.

We can only compel the Systems Change needed for our institutions by making waves as a group.

UNITE sessions on Systems Change were offered for those seeking to leverage expertise and networks – both inside and outside of higher education – to positively influence the success of our students and institutions.

By harnessing our efforts, we ensure Black colleges and universities are positioned to influence systems that can accelerate their progress.


K-12 Partnerships. Connecting primary and secondary to higher education to propel student achievement and success.

Climate Action. Advancing HBCU impact on environmental research, scholarship, innovation, advocacy, curriculum enhancements  and community engagement.

Federal Programming. Deepening HBCU participation in federal research, policy and administrative programs.

Community Empowerment. Fortifying relationships among institutions and their home communities to embrace common causes, unified goals and aligned strategies.

Are you interested in investing in the knowledge exchange of HBCU thought leaders, expert practitioners and strategic partners?


Powered by the United Negro College Fund, UNITE is the nation’s premier annual gathering for accelerating strategies for Black higher education and support for the institutional transformation of Black colleges and universities.

UNITE is organized each year by UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building, whose mission is to partner with Historically Black Colleges & Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions to help them propel student success, community impact, and the advancement of educational equity and racial justice.

UNITE 2023 included pre-conferences, plenaries and breakout sessions focused on institutional transformation, executive leadership, enrollment management, STEM initiatives, mental health, climate action, community empowerment, federal programming, industry collaboration, fundraising and advancement, K-12 partnerships, career pathways, and more. Please check out the videos below and find more from UNITE 2023 and 2022 on our YouTube channel.

We hope to see you at UNITE 2024 in Atlanta: SAVE THE DATES: JULY 28 to AUGUST 1


Meet Jabez Roberson – Claflin University



A Tribute to Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole



HBCU History is American History

Meet Amari Franklin – Clark Atlanta University


HBCUv – The Future of Black Higher Education