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ULM and President Ron Berry receive Hattie Corbin Award for Excellence in Education

Published June 24, 2024


CAPTION: (L-R) Executive Director of ULM Foundation Susan Chappell, ULM President Ron Berry, ULM Alumni Board member Mario Payne, AgriOvum CEO Allan Corbin, ULM Director of Alumni Affairs Medria Buford, ULM Foundation Board member Glen Corbin

MONROE, LA – ˶ and President Ron Berry received the prestigious Hattie Corbin Award for Excellence in Education. “The Hattie Award” is given to individuals, educational programs, and institutions aimed at uplifting disadvantaged students around the country. The award includes a monetary gift to further those aims. This year’s gift included a $10,000 donation to ULM’s TRIO programs, which are designed to assist first-generation and income-eligible students in reaching their full academic potential.

"The Hattie Award" was presented during the African American Alumni Reunion Brunch by Mario Payne on behalf of AgriOvum, LLC. AgriOvum is a poultry hatchery support services company located in Alabama. AgriOvum serves some of the largest poultry hatcheries in North America. Its Founder and CEO, Allan Corbin received a B.S. in Agricultural Business from ULM in 1984, and his wife, Jennifer Hendricks Corbin, received her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from ULM, also in 1984. Their son Mario Payne completed his B.S. in Computer Information Systems in 2006 and sits on the Alumni Board of Directors. Accompanying the presentation was family member and ULM Foundation board member, Glen Corbin, B.S. Business Marketing 1985.

The Corbin family has a unique connection to ULM. Their son Mario was taught by ULM President Ron Berry, and President Berry's high school math teacher was Mario’s grandmother, Mrs. Mordessa Corbin.

“The kindness and generosity shown by the Hattie Corbin family are deeply appreciated and will significantly aid in furthering the mission of the ULM TRIO Programs,” said Dr. Catherine Estis, ULM TRIO Executive Director.

TRIO Programs play an integral role on the ULM campus by providing a highly structured environment that supports motivated students in overcoming obstacles, ultimately resulting in a higher number of students achieving their academic goals. ULM is home to three TRIO Programs—Educational Talent Search (ETS), Student Support Services (SSS), and Child Care Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS).

“The ULM TRIO Programs make a direct impact in the lives of first-generation eligible students by ensuring successful navigation toward achieving a college degree. This generous donation will enhance our ability to support these students and help them overcome barriers,” added Dr. Estis.

The African American Alumni Reunion Brunch was held by BNLU/ULM. According to BNLU/ULM President Lavelle Hendricks, “BNLU/ULM is a group of alumni beloved by NLU and ULM who were given an affordable and equitable education that we are thankful for, and incumbent on giving back through time, service, and monetary donations to make a difference for our university.”

About Hattie Corbin

The Hattie Corbin Award for Excellence in Education is presented in honor of education pioneer Hattie Corbin. Mrs. Corbin, born in 1910, began traveling via buggy in the late 1920s to receptive local plantations teaching African American children the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics. Struggling to complete her own education, she successfully attended Grambling State University and finally completed her post-graduate work at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Prior to integration, she became the Supervisor of Colored Schools in Franklin Parish. After integration, she was selected as the first African American Supervisor for Elementary Education for all of Franklin Parish.