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AT&T announces winner of Spirit of UNCF sweepstakes - Friday, January 8, 2010
More than 100 rival historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been going head-to-head for eight weeks in AT&T’s* "Spirit of UNCF” voting sweepstakes. With the final numbers counted, AT&T announced today Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La., received the most votes to take the top spot and reign as the first HBCU to represent the Spirit of UNCF.  AT&T created the sweepstakes to give HBCU students, alumni and supporters a new way to show their school spirit and build excitement for the upcoming airing of UNCF’s An Evening of Stars® Tribute to Lionel Richie. More than 21,000 nationwide voted by text and online for their favorite HBCU.

AT&T, for a third year, is sponsoring the broadcast of UNCF’s An Evening of Stars® as part of its continued commitment to educational programs that support African-American communities across the country.

"I want to congratulate Southern University and the countless number of supporters who made it possible for them to hold the lead position for four consecutive weeks, and ultimately win,” said Jennifer L. Jones, vice president Diverse Markets, AT&T. "It is an honor for AT&T to present this fun and relevant program that lends itself to bringing awareness to a worthwhile cause like UNCF’s An Evening of Stars®, which is a celebration of higher education and America’s rising stars – college students."

While Southern University is the contest winner, the nation’s HBCUs battled up to the end for the Spirit of UNCF title. A less than 100 vote spread is proof Central Ohio’s Wilberforce University did not go down without a fight for the number one spot before securing its second place ranking. The following HBCUs make up the remaining top five schools receiving the most votes: Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.), Tennessee State University (Memphis, Tenn.) and Langston University (Langston, Okla.). Combined, the top five HBCUs claimed 35 percent of the total sweepstakes votes.

The Spirit of UNCF crown makes Southern University eligible to take advantage of two incredible experiences: a campus-to-community technology education fair powered by AT&T Technology and an exclusive, Hollywood-styled red carpet campus viewing party, complete with a celebrity host from the 2010 UNCF An Evening of Stars® Tribute to Lionel Richie presented by Target. Both rewards will occur on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, on the Southern University campus to coincide with the national televised airing of An Evening of Stars® on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW affiliates and nationally on BET Networks and WGN.

"From the thousands who cast votes around the country for their favorite school, it is evident that the rich traditions and camaraderie among HBCUs is still alive today," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. "AT&T’s support of An Evening of Stars® ® helps to make it possible for us to do the work that ensures these institutions, as well as the students educated by them, are sustained for many years to come."

The other HBCUs that fought their way into the top 10 of Spirit of UNCF were:

6.    Grambling State University (Grambling, La.)
7.    Tougaloo College (Tougaloo, Miss.)
8.    Fisk University (Nashville, Tenn.)
9.    Oakwood University (Huntsville, Ala.)
10.    Miles College (Fairfield, Ala.)

An announcement will be made soon naming the lucky voter who will win a complete AT&T Technology makeover and VIP trip for two to the live taping of An Evening of Stars®.