Johnny C. Taylor
A Drake alumnus works to make the world of higher education an accessible, better place. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., GR’91, LW’92, is the father of a newborn daughter, but he’s already responsible for helping nearly 250,000 students pay for their college education.
As president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Taylor helps ensure that funds are available for students in 47 public historically Black colleges and universities and six law schools, all of which were created prior to 1964 for the primary purpose of educating African-American students.
“I do this because my personal vision is to help change the world one leader at a time,” says Taylor. “That’s my vision for this organization, and that’s why I do what I do.”
A PURPOSEFUL PROFESSION
Taylor manages 50 employees working in four offices, including dual headquarters in Washington, D.C. and New York. The fund has given $100 million in scholarships and financial aid to students and member institutions over 23 years. Taylor, who became president and CEO in April, estimates 97 percent of the 235,000 students enrolled in these schools benefit from direct or indirect financial support.
“We essentially do three things,” says Taylor, who started his career in Washington, D.C. as a lawyer for several large companies. “We provide scholarships to students, we advocate with the government on issues affecting [historically black] colleges and universities, and we help our member schools become better academic institutions.”
DEDICATED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Saying the job requires a lot of travel would be an understatement. Taylor spends two days a week in Washington, D.C. and three days in New York, before heading home to Charlotte, NC, on weekends.
“But I love what I’m doing,” says Taylor. “When you ultimately know you are truly, truly affecting peoples’ lives, it just makes all the difference in the world.”
—Aaron W. Jaco, AS’07, JO’07