CU's Call Me MISTER Program Receives Support from Verizon

February 1, 2012

David Alston, President Michelle Howard-Vital, Provost Ivan Banks, and Call Me MISTER students with Tim Smith, Verizon Region President, PA/DE at presentation event in Carnegie Hall

David Alston, President Michelle Howard-Vital, Provost Ivan Banks, and Call Me MISTER students with Tim Smith, Verizon Region President, PA/DE at presentation event in Carnegie Hall

On February 1, The Verizon Foundation provided Cheyney University with a $10,000 grant to support the Call Me MISTER program.  These funds will be used to provide four deserving students, representing a cross-section of Pennsylvania, an opportunity to pursue a degree in Education at the University. 

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is part of a national initiative designed to encourage more African American males to dedicate their lives to becoming role models in the field of education.  Cheyney has done so through its Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Towards Effective Role Models) program.  This program was established in 2008 at Cheyney University with a seed grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the efforts of State Representative James Roebuck.  Supplemental funding for this grant, which was completed in 2010, has come from individuals and corporate philanthropy as well as from foundations.  The legendary Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr. serves as Honorary Chair of Call Me MISTER at Cheyney University, the only location for the program in Pennsylvania.  

Today,  representatives from Verizon joined Cheyney University President, Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital, to announce this partnership support.  In a statement, Dr. Vital states, “Verizon has been a valued supporter of Cheyney University.  Their investment in the future of our students, most of whom will likely remain in the Commonwealth, is a true investment in the future of Pennsylvania.”  Further, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Mr. Larry Green, acknowledged the importance of the grant, which will allow the University to recruit and attract high-achieving students into the field of education.  Current national data shows that African American male teachers are almost non-existent in the United States.  “Given the overwhelming disparity between the makeup of urban K-12 students and their teachers, Call Me MISTER is designed to infuse urban education with African American male teachers who also can serve as role models and mentors.  Scholarship support is essential to attracting African American males to attend college in pursuit of a degree in education.  That is why Verizon’s contribution is so critical,” says Mr. Green.

 “Verizon is proud to help improve the quality of education for youth throughout the state by empowering the community with innovative tools, resources and opportunities,” said Timothy Smith, Regional President of Verizon Pennsylvania & Delaware. “We’re investing in programs, such as our partnership with Cheyney University and its Call Me MISTER program, to reach today’s young students … who will then become tomorrow’s positive role model and leader for the next generation.”

Further, Dr. Larnell Flannagan, Dean of Cheyney University’s School of Education and Professional Studies, expressed his gratitude toward the Verizon Foundation, which has shown its support of this invaluable program  “The current state budgetary climate has been such a challenge at the very time that Call Me MISTER as a producer of diverse teachers is so urgently needed.  MISTER is unique to Pennsylvania and Verizon’s support will help us to recruit qualified candidates from all corners of the state ,” says Dr. Flannagan.

For more information on Cheyney University’s Call ME MISTER program, please contact the department at
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About Cheyney University of Pennsylvania - Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. It is also the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE.) Now celebrating its 175th Anniversary, Cheyney University’s mission is to provide confident, competent, reflective, visionary leaders and responsible citizens.  Cheyney University upholds its tradition of academic excellence while maintaining a historical commitment to opportunity and access for students of diverse backgrounds. Today, the University offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 disciplines and graduate degree programs. For more information, please visit the website at

About The Verizon Foundation - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education, health care and sustainability.  . Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit