2020 Power of Giving - Day 2 Full Program

The virtual program includes the panel “Funding Opportunity and Resilience at HBCUs and Community Colleges” moderated by Smithsonian Regent David M. Rubenstein with participants Dr. David A. Thomas, president of Morehouse College; Dr. Suzanne Elise Walsh, president of Bennett College; Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College; and Ebony A. Thomas, a Bank of America Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Initiatives executive.

Former Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. leads a conversation about the digital divide, teacher diversity, and social/emotional/academic development (SEAD) in the segment “Educators’ Perspectives on Equity Practices in the Face of Dual Pandemics” with Michele Hand, a rural Texas K/1 interventionist, and Dr. Manuel Rustin, a social studies teacher from Pasadena, CA.

With a Smithsonian Welcome by Steve Case, Chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, and Symposium Welcome and Closing Remarks by Dr. Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director.


About the Speakers (in order of appearance)

Dr. Anthea M. HartigDr. Anthea M. Hartig
Elizabeth MacMillan Director
National Museum of American History

Dr. Anthea M. Hartig is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She began her tenure in 2019 as the first woman to hold the position since the museum’s opening in 1964. Hartig oversees more than 250 employees, a budget of over $40 million, and a collection that includes 1.8 million objects and more than three shelf-miles of archives. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hartig has put in place two task forces: one on collecting around the current crisis and the other a digital response team to create new content, particularly in the area of K-12 education. An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is dedicated to making the nation’s richly diverse history accessible and relevant. She is currently leading the museum in crafting a vibrant new strategic plan. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification granting women the right to vote, the museum presented new exhibitions in 2020 that are powerful contributors to the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, including “Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage” and “Girlhood (It’s Complicated).” Hartig was previously executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society.

Steve CaseSteve Case
Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents

Steve Case is an entrepreneur, innovator, and philanthropist. In 2005, he launched Revolution, a DC-based investment firm that partners with visionary entrepreneurs at every stage of the entrepreneurial lifecycle, with a focus on investing in companies based outside of Silicon Valley. Revolution has invested in disruptive companies that are leading the way in their fields such as sweetgreen, Tempus, CLEAR, and DraftKings. Through the firm’s Rise of the Rest initiative, Case has become a thought leader on encouraging a more equitable distribution of venture capital throughout the country. Prior to starting Revolution, Case was the co-founder of America Online, Inc. (AOL) playing an integral role in building the world's largest Internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of the internet. As members of the Giving Pledge, an effort started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, Case and his wife, Jean Case, have publicly affirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. In addition, Mr. Case co-chaired the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and served on President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He is also author of The New York Times bestselling book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future (2017).

David M. RubensteinInterviewer
David M. Rubenstein
Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents

David M. Rubenstein is a co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group and a regent of the Smithsonian Institution. He also is chairman of the boards of trustees of the Kennedy Center and the Council on Foreign Relations; a fellow of the Harvard Corporation; and a trustee of the following: the National Gallery of Art, the University of Chicago, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Constitution Center, the Brookings Institution, and the World Economic Forum. He is a director of Lincoln Center and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a president of the Economic Club of Washington. Previously, he served as chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents and the Duke University Board of Trustees, and was co-chair of the Board of the Brookings Institution. Rubenstein is an original signatory of the Giving Pledge and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. He is host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations, and author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians (2019) and How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers (2020).

Dr. Eduardo J. PadrónPanelist
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón
President Emeritus
Miami Dade College

Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón is president emeritus of Miami Dade College, a national model of student achievement and the largest degree-granting institution in America. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, Time magazine included him among the “10 Best College Presidents” in the US and in 2011, The Washington Post recognized him as one of the eight most influential college presidents nationwide. Padrón is the recipient of the Carnegie Corporation’s Centennial Academic Leadership Award and the Hesburgh Award, the highest honor in US higher education. He is also an Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Six American Presidents have selected him to serve on posts of national prominence. He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Urban Institute, the Spencer Foundation, and the International Association of University Presidents. He is the past chairman of the Business-Higher Education Forum, the American Council on Education, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Dr. David A. ThomasPanelist
Dr. David A. Thomas
Morehouse College

Dr. David A. Thomas is the 12th president of Morehouse College. He took office in 2018, ushering in a new era of progressive leadership for the nation’s largest and most prestigious liberal arts institution for men. With more than 30 years of experience in the business of higher education, Thomas is a visionary leader who is nationally respected as an expert in organizational change. He is the former dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and has served as a business school professor at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Under Thomas’ leadership at Morehouse, the college has increased enrollment and philanthropic giving. Morehouse made history in higher education in May 2019 when a chief executive officer that he invited to serve as Commencement speaker surprised the graduating class by offering to pay off their student loans. He is the co-author of three books: Race, Work & Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience (2019); Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools (2009); and Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America (1999).

Ebony A. ThomasPanelist
Ebony A. Thomas
Senior Vice President, ESG and Public Policy
Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Initiatives Executive
Bank of America

Ebony A. Thomas is senior vice president of ESG and Public Policy and the Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Initiatives executive responsible for delivering Bank of America’s $1B,four-year initiative to accelerate work to help drive racial equality and economic opportunity for people and communities of color. Thomas works to identify and build partnerships with internal and external community leaders, business leaders, local elected officials, and others in the communities Bank of America serves to drive economic opportunity and upward mobility through programmatic initiatives. Previously, Thomas was a global human resources executive leading teams in enterprise diversity recruiting strategy and market and site HR. In addition to her executive career, Thomas serves as a board member at Central Piedmont Community College and is a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Business at Howard University in Washington, DC. Thomas’ service to these organizations is rooted in her commitment to transform approaches to student achievement, career success, and improving generational socio-economic status in underserved communities. Thomas is a proud graduate of North Carolina A&T State University.

Dr. Suzanne Elise WalshPanelist
Dr. Suzanne Elise Walsh
Bennett College

Dr. Suzanne Elise Walsh is the 19th president of Bennett College, one of two historically Black colleges for women in the United States. Prior to that role, she served as the deputy director for postsecondary success with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There, Walsh led the foundation’s efforts in institutional transformation strategies, Completion by Design, and was integrally involved in the viability and sustainability of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the current postsecondary education environment. Walsh’s previous work also includes service at two other prominent foundations: Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis, where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative, which was aimed at increasing college productivity by bringing about fundamental change in the way higher education does business; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development. Walsh got her start in higher education working at Cuyahoga Community College where she led efforts focused on workforce and economic development. She recently co-authored a chapter on “Community Colleges and the Ladder of Student Success” in the book, 13 Ideas that Are Transforming the Community College World (2019).

Dr. John B. King Jr.Interviewer
Dr. John B. King Jr.
President and CEO
The Education Trust
Former US Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration

Dr. John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close educational opportunity and achievement gaps. King served as US Secretary of Education in the Obama administration. Prior to that role, King carried out the duties of Deputy Secretary, overseeing policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, innovation, and agency operations. King joined the department following his post as New York State Education Commissioner. King began his career as a high school social studies teacher and middle school principal.

Michele HandPanelist
Michele Hand
K/1 Interventionist
Stanton-Smith Elementary School
Whitehouse, TX

Michele Hand provides intervention services to kindergarten and first-grade students at Stanton-Smith Elementary School in Whitehouse, TX. She is a Teaching Policy Fellow with Teach Plus Texas and currently serves her district as a Whitehouse Education Foundation grant advocate, Stanton Smith’s 2019–2020 Teacher of the Year, district representative for the gifted and talented, and professional development facilitator. Hand previously taught first, second, and third grade in Texas’ Whitehouse and Crowley Independent School Districts as well as Louisiana and Canada. Hand graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.

Dr. Manuel RustinPanelist
Dr. Manuel Rustin
Social Science Teacher
John Muir High School Early College Magnet
Pasadena, CA

Dr. Manuel Rustin is a high school history teacher enjoying his 17th year in the classroom. He currently teaches United States History, American Government, Economics, and a Hip Hop Studies social science elective. In addition to teaching, Rustin serves as chair of the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee on the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission, a body that directly advises the State Board of Education on matters pertaining to curricular frameworks and resources. Rustin is a recipient of the Milken Educator Award as well as the Pasadena NAACP Ruby McKnight Educator Award. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership at UCLA and received his master’s in teaching and curriculum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.