JSU interim president Dr. Rod Paige, center, is pictured with 2016 Miss Huston-Tillotson, CarShandra Hollins, and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. (Photo special to JSU)

JSU interim president Dr. Rod Paige, center, is pictured with 2016 Miss Huston-Tillotson, CarShandra Hollins, and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. (Photo special to JSU)

Spanning several decades, Dr. Rod Paige, Jackson State University’s interim president, has been a beacon in the world of education. In commemoration of his stalwart support and innovative contributions to the academic arena, Paige received the UNCF 2016 Excellence in Education Award last month at the 28th annual UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala inside the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston.

“I am pleased to be the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Education Award,” said Paige. “To be recognized by UNCF, an organization that understands the value of education as much as I do, is truly a great honor. As a community, we must not forget how far we’ve come but also the necessary steps in continuing the fight for a quality education for all.”

Each year, UNCF honors members of the community who use education to provoke change and transform lives. Paige was the sole recipient of the Excellence in Education Award, and Pamella Ellis, founder of Smahrt Girl Foundation, received the John and Drucie Chase Young Builders Award.

The event boasted nearly 500 guests, including visionaries and leaders in civics and education, corporate sponsors, and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. Attendees and awardees were even treated to a performance by Prince protégé and music icon Sheila E.