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Gadsden State among HBCCs to be accepted into Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Gadsden, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College is among six in the Alabama Community College System to be accepted into the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which will give students additional access to scholarships and professional development opportunities.

“It is with great pleasure that Gadsden State enters into a partnership with such a prestigious organization,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president. “It is an honor to work with TMCF in the advancement and empowerment of Historically Black Community Colleges in Alabama. We appreciate the organization’s commitment to education in our country as well as the great impact they are making on those who call Gadsden State’s service area home.”

TMCF announced a resolution today that establishes Gadsden State and five sister colleges as members. Joining Gadsden State are Bishop State, Drake State, Lawson State, Shelton State and Trenholm State. Named after the U.S. Supreme Court’s first Black justice, TMCF is a nationally recognized nonprofit member organization that supports more than 50 historically black colleges and universities.

Gadsden State and its fellow HBCCs are the first community colleges to be inducted into the TMCF in the country. To date, TMCF has provided more than $300 million in scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to its member schools and students.

“Adding community colleges to our membership is part of an intentional move toward a more inclusive talent strategy,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of TMCF. “HBCCs play a critical role in local and regional economic development by offering workforce upskilling and reskilling programs. HBCCs across the country offer associate degrees and industry-recognized certificates and credentials that can launch students into the workforce to fill skilled positions that offer good pay without the requirement of a bachelor’s degree. HBCCs also offer students the ability to obtain core academic credits that can be transferred to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree.”

According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by ACCS, the 24 institutions within the system add $6.6 billion to Alabama’s economy, supporting one out of every 27 jobs in the state. Locally, Gadsden State’s operations, student spending and alumni productivity generated $207.9 million in added income in 2020-21 for the economy in the service area (Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Etowah and St. Clair counties). One out of every 41 jobs in the Gadsden State service area is supported by the activities of the College and its students.

“Alabama’s community colleges exist to be a pillar of community for students of all backgrounds to be able to have the resources to reach success, and these national relationships help bolster the advantages and access student have to significant opportunities that support their pursuit of excellences,” said Jimmie Baker, ACCS chancellor. “The connections students and Alabama’s HBCC leaders will have through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund are bound to strengthen the avenues the colleges provide to residents who trust our colleges with the training they desire for their future.”

Gadsden State’s Valley Street Campus is the only HBCC in the service area having earned the designation in 1997. The campus began in 1960 as the Gadsden Vocational Trade School, a private vocational training school for African Americans. In 1962, it became a state institution, and a decade later, it was renamed Gadsden State Technical Institute. It eventually merged with Gadsden State Junior College and is now known as the Valley Street Campus. It offers education and training through the Construction Technology Program, HVAC Program, Licensed Practical Nursing Program, Dental Assisting Program, Medication Assistant Program, Certified Nursing Assistant Program, Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program and several academic courses.

For more information about the Valley Street Campus and the programs and services it offers to Gadsden State students, visit