Tom Joyner Foundation Leads HBCU Presidents On Historic Trip to Cuba

L. to r: Raymond Burse, Cynthia James-Hammond, Lester Newman, Tom Joyner, Thomas E. Joyner, Jr., Tashni-Ann Dubroy, John Rudley and Texas State Sen. Royce West in Havana, Cuba on the Foundation's historic mission.

L. to r: Raymond Burse, Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, Lester Newman, Tom Joyner, Thomas E. Joyner, Jr., Tashni-Ann Dubroy, John Rudley and Texas State Sen. Royce West in Havana, Cuba on the Foundation’s historic mission.

Tom Joyner, chairman and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO, led a group of HBCU presidents to Havana, Cuba for an historic series of meetings.  


DALLAS, June 6, 2016  – Tom Joyner, chairman of the Dallas-based nonprofit that helps support historically black colleges and universities, led an historic trip to Havana, Cuba where he led a group of HBCU presidents who explored global exchange and research opportunities for students and faculty in Cuba.

Joyner, the nationally syndicated radio personality, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., the foundation’s president and CEO, lead the four-day mission that took place from May 28 to June 1. Presidents of the following HBCUs participated: John Rudley, Ph.D., Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas; Raymond Burse, Ph.D., Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky.; Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, Ph.D., Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C.; and Lester Newman, Jr., Ph.D., Jarvis Christian University, Hawkins, Texas. Michael O. Adams, Ph.D., director, Executive Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Administration also participated.  During a series of presentations, conversations, and meetings, the group visited with representatives from the Ministry of Education, the University of Havana and the Superior Polytechnic School Institute.

“This trip was a major step forward in helping these HBCUs learn about how they could play a role in the new Cuba,” said Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO of the Foundation. “I think the representatives of these schools picked up some very valuable information that they’ll be able to use to create some new opportunities for their students and faculty.”

Joyner said he is in the midst of planning a second mission to Cuba in the fall. The participants of the program said the experience offered them firsthand experience of what is going on in Cuba.

HBCU Presidents Describe Trip As Major Step in Building Relationships

“It’s important for us to partner with your education system, providing opportunities for student and faculty exchanges,” Jackson-Hammond said. “The more knowledge we have about Cuba, the more we can build relationships. It is better when we personally try to understand each other rather than relying solely on the media or what we hear about Cuba.”

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Jarvis Christian’s Newman added, “This venture was truly a learning experience.  It brought to light the impact of the trade embargo on the Cuban culture and lives of the Cuban people.” Shaw’s Dubroy said, “One of Shaw University’s goals is to strengthen the collegiate journey by exposing our students to the positive aspects of multi-cultural experiences. Partnering with countries like Cuba in a global exchange program will heighten the authenticity of our academic programs.”

HBCU participants interested in traveling will have to pay their own round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport. Once in Havana, Joyner and Cuban experts lead the administrators and educators in a series of interactive discussions and tours.

Anyone interested in learning more about the next Foundation Cuba Mission, please contact Jachel Redmond at