Alabama State University has committed itself to building partnerships within its community, the metropolitan area and beyond to create opportunities for the community and the University.
On July 16, ASU President Quinton T. Ross Jr. and Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Commander and President of Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, entered into a Community-University partnership to continue to expand new programs and initiatives.
“Exposing and continuing to put ASU in a positive light not just in the community, but throughout the land is the mission,” Ross said. “We want to be an intricate part of this community, the River Region and throughout the state and the nation.”
Cotton, the first 3-star African-American ever to be assigned to Air University, said he wants ASU to have a seat at table when it comes to grants and other opportunities, especially collaborating with other HBCUs.
“One of the things I really want to do … is to better establish a relationship between the base and Alabama State University and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the area because I think there are some opportunities lost,” said Cotton. “I have a $500 million annual budget and I give away a lot of grants and I give a lot of exposure to universities across this nation to help us fight some problems in the our department and the Air Force in particular, and I would like to give our HBCUs an opportunity to play because we do a lot of work with some of your peers, Troy and AUM for example, as well as universities around the country.”
Cotton said some opportunities are twofold:
- It gives people exposure to the quality of work HBCUs can bring to the fight.
- It gives students who are at HBCUs an opportunity to see what the Air Force can bring to them.
“I need to get that exposure out so young African-American men and women can see what the Air Force can bring to the fight for them,” Cotton said.
Ross said the new alliance with Air Base is important.
“Strong alliances are vital, and ASU is clear on the importance of partnering with dedicated community leaders such as Gen. Cotton who share the University’s objectives to promote the preservation and long-term sustainability of HBCUs, Ross said. “There are so many ways that this partnership can work together. The sky is the limit.”
Ross said he sees possibilities in collaborating with other HBCUs under the new partnership.
“I think all of us realize that working together there’s competition, but we know that working together is for sustainability, particularly for historically black colleges,” Ross said. “So we just have to find ways to connect, to latch on to these opportunities to help us in terms of sustainability. There are probably less than 100 historically black colleges now, so we have to find a way to lift everybody up because we need it in a major way. So I’m excited about the opportunity.”
The new initiative is the result of ASU’s efforts to continue to build on the countless partnerships the University has made over the years with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, local businesses and individual citizens, Ross added.