Benedict College has brought a bit of show biz to its board.
Sheryl Underwood, a comedian and co-host of the CBS morning-show “The Talk,” came to campus Friday for her first meeting as a member of Benedict’s board of trustees.
Underwood, 49, said she wants to help the school raise money so its administrators can concentrate on academics.
“It’s fantastic that they’re going to let me utilize the resources I have in entertainment,” said Underwood, wearing a purple dress and purple heels that matched Benedict’s school colors. “So I’m calling out all you rappers – all the A$AP Rockys, all the Ace Hoods, everybody. Juicy J, my boy, you won an Academy Award. So come on and win an award, and give some money to Benedict.”
Underwood said she has donated an undisclosed sum to the school.
“I had some pocket change,” she joked.
An Omaha, Neb.-native, Underwood said she previously visited Columbia during her stand-up comedy tours, and has sorority and church friends in the city.
It was a sorority connection that brought Underwood from the West Coast to the board of the 3,000-student historically black college on the East Coast.
Underwood is the immediate past national president of Zeta Phi Beta. Benedict has two past national presidents of the sorority, long-time trustee Eunice Thomas and Barbara Moore, the school’s vice president for institutional advancement.
Thomas liked how Underwood ran Zeta Phi Beta during her four-year term that ended in 2012, including setting goals for community service and holding town halls on the Affordable Care Act.
“We are happy that she will be a fundraiser for Benedict College,” said Thomas of Columbus, Ga. “She is going to be involved in Hollywood with entertainers and with athletes, and within the state.”
Benedict president David Swinton said Underwood already is working on several fundraisers around Columbia. The university and its newest trustee also are talking about holding events in other parts of the country and “with people who we know she has close ties to.”