A former Ferris State University student, educator and administrator will see a Talladega
College building dedicated in his name Friday, Aug. 14. The HBCU (Historically Black
Colleges and Universities) institution will celebrate at the Billy Hawkins Student
Activity Center, to honor its 20th president.
Hawkins came to Ferris in the early 1970s from Kent, Ohio, and graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in Teacher Education from the College of Education and Human Services. He taught in the COEHS program and held administrative posts that served as the foundation for his educational leadership career, which is approaching 40 years of service. Hawkins was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Ferris in 2017.
Hawkins became president of Talladega College, in 2008, in a time of turmoil for the institution. The plans for renovation and growth Hawkins directed saw the college double its enrollment to 601 students in one semester, with record-high enrollment reports each of the last two years, now at more than 1,200 students.
“As a result of his leadership, the college is once again recognized as one of the most well-respected HBCU’s in the nation,” said Talladega College Board of Trustees Chairman Isaiah Hugley.
The college enjoys its listing in the Princeton Review’s roster of best colleges in the Southeast, U.S. News and World Report’s most innovative colleges and Kiplinger’s “Best Value Colleges.” Talladega College recently had a 10-year reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which included accreditation of their Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.
The 47,000 square-foot Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center is the latest facet of a campus beautification project that will serve as a home for Talladega Tornadoes athletic events and other student activities. The William R. Harvey Museum of Art opened earlier this year, and a 45,000 square-foot state-of-the-art residence hall opened in 2019 on the Talladega campus.