About Us

MGEF Crest

The Majestic Gents (“MGs”) were founded on April 4, 1979, it’s mission – ‘to portray the positive image of black men, exhibiting academic excellence, personal integrity and a touch of class’.  Over its 30+ year history, the MGs have been a positive and energizing presence both on campus and throughout the Rock Island and Quad Cities communities.  MGs have been active in student government and student affairs, have proven themselves both in the classroom and on athletic fields, and volunteered time and talents to many worthwhile causes.  Today, the MGs boast hundreds of members, men and women from various ethnicities and from many different countries.

In 2008, at the start of one of the largest economic recessions in the nation’s history, some of the same men that founded the Majestic Gents, along with other MGs, began discussions that would lead to the establishment of the MG Educational Foundation (“MGEF”).  The MGEF raises money and grants scholarships to deserving Majestic Gents currently enrolled at Augustana College.  The first MGEF scholarship was granted in the spring of 2011.


Board Member Bios

Chairman - Michael Clay

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Michael Clay – Chairman
BA Columbia College Chicago, IL 1982
Camera Operator – WGN Television
27 Years in Television Production

Michael Clay

Michael Clay, Chairman and a Founder of the MG Educational Foundation, attended Augustana College in 1979 where he along with a few other gentlemen started an organization the Majestic Gents, the inspiration for the foundation. In 1982 he received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Columbia College located in Chicago, Illinois.  Mr. Clay is an Emmy Award winning camera operator whose work is seen on WGN TV, ESPN, WLS TV Chicago (Windy City Live); along with providing services for Harpo Studios, Central City Productions, Live Nation Entertainment and numerous other programs and networks. His career in Television Production spans 30 years.

Through Mr. Clays own career and professional travels, he truly came to realize how important positive experiences are in the development of young people. As a man he focuses on young African American men, because he feels that there is a shortage of positive images so he strives to assist.  

MG Educational Foundation was formed because of Michael’s shared commitment to helping students with the financial assistance and mentorship needed to complete their college degrees.  His philosophy is “young people can use our help”.

Vice-Chairman - Tavares Williams


Tavares Williams – Vice Chairman

MA Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago 2011
BA Communications; Minor: Sociology, Augustana College 2007
7 Years Served in the Public Administration Industry

Tavares Williams

Tavares DeAndre Terry Williams, born February 1985, is a public administration and crisis management professional. Williams served as Marketing Specialist for Rock Island Metro (2006-2008) and is currently the External Relations Specialist for Suburban Bus Division of the RTA/Pace (circa 2008).

Tavares Williams (second youngest of 5) was born in St. Louis, MO, but was primarily raised in Blue Island/Robbins, IL. Williams attended Kolmar Elementary School (Midlothian) and Alan B. Shepard High School (Palos Hts.). Williams was an all-academic champion athlete in football (OT) and wrestling (HWT). In 2003, Williams was recruited by the Jim Barnes coaching staff to play football at Augustana College. Williams fulfilled the role as defensive nose tackle for the team for 2 years. Williams also participated in Augie wrestling and track.

During his term at Augustana, Williams was known as a leader in cultural diversity and an activist for cultural equality. He was active in social clubs, participating in the Black Student Union (Vice President -2005, President 2007) and pledging with the Majestic Gents (Line 25 - “Ginyus”, Co-President 2007). During his pledging process, Williams learned that an older cousin (Donnie Randle-El) had also attended Augustana and was a member of the Reincarnate-8 line (Line 20) of the revitalized Majestic Gents. Realizing the social disadvantage on campus for students of color, Williams turned his focus on financial and academic counseling for underclassmen to retain multi-cultural presence on campus. With the help of Constance Ghinazzi, Dean Evelyn Campbell and fellow Gent, Eric Rowell, a blueprint for leadership counseling was created in 2007.

Post-graduation, Williams remained in the Quad Cities for professional development and gave guidance for the relatively young Majestic-Gent actives. In the meanwhile, Williams along with the help of, then, R.I. Metro intern, Raphael Boyd (Augustana 2008), devised a bus route plan that gave the Augustana students safe access to and from the nightlife at The District in downtown Rock Island. The route plan was a major success for the city and the college, significantly reducing the rate of alcohol-related incidents involving automobiles. The route continues to serve the college and has since expanded to a multi-college operation that benefits Illinois and Iowa nightlife-areas of the Mississippi River.

In 2009, Williams enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago) and earned his Masters of Public Administration in Public Safety and Crisis Management in 2011. Tavares Williams plans to pursue a second masters in IT management and eventually develop a public crisis consulting firm.



Secretary - Jerome Phillips

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Jerome Phillips – Secretary
BA Augustana College Rock Island, IL 1983
Psychiatric Care Coordinator – Mount Sinai Hospital Chicago, IL
21 years in the field of Behavioral Health

Jerome Phillips is currently the Secretary for MGEF.  He graduated from Augustana College in 1983 with a Bachelor’s Degree in (Political Science and Minor in Business Administration).  He has been a part of the Behavioral Health field for the past 23 years.  Mr. Phillips currently is the Psychiatric Care Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital located in Chicago Illinois. (6 years) I personally experienced academic challenges early in my career at Augustana.  Those challenges included learning how to study, what to study, and time management.  Your college experience involves becoming acclimated to a great deal of freedom which I took for granted thinking that I would have time to catch up, but I found myself catching up until I graduated.  

The journey toward achieving your bachelor’s is the reward, for the task completed.  Reflecting back on the challenges, successes, and relationships are what make the journey the reward.  The diploma is the icing on the cake!! I completed my Masters Degree in 18 months and earned a GPA of 3.82, the path was paved by my Augustana experiences!!!

Treasurer - Damon Howell

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Damon Howell – Treasurer
BA Augustana College Rock Island, IL 2000
MS Governor’s State University, University Park, IL 2009
Internal Auditor, Cook County, IL
12 Years in Internal Auditing

Damon Howell

Damon Howell (Treasurer) graduated from Augustana College in 2000, receiving degrees in both Accounting and Business Management. Damon also served consecutive terms as Treasurer for the Majestic Gents (1999-2000). For more than 12 years Damon has worked in the field of Auditing for local government.

Most recently Damon received his Master’s Degree in Accounting from Governor's State University in 2009.

Damon is proud to be a part of MGEF as it works to provide scholarship assistance to students striving to obtain higher education. Damon believes strongly in the value of a good education, as it is the key to tackling many of life’s challenges and achieving your goals.


Board Member - Luther Rivers

MGEF Crest

Luther Rivers – Board Member
Augustana College, B.A. 1981. 
Double major: Speech and Communications.
Currently a Cook County Adult Probation Officer, 1990 - present.

Luther Rivers

Married 24 years to Jennifer Rivers and father to five children and four grandchildren.
Member of Salem Baptist Church.
Spiritual Foundation: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28
Hobbies are gardening, bicycling and God chasing.

Board Member - Clive Phinn

MGEF Crest

Clive Phinn – Board Member
BA Augustana College, Rock Island, IL 1987
Senior Director of Operations – Zurich Financial Services | Zurich Small Business | Farmers Insurance Co.
20 Years in the Insurance Industry

Clive Phinn

Clive Phinn is a current Board Member of MGEF. He was a part of the graduating class in 1987, from Augustana College, in which he obtained his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, with a Minor in Sociology, and Music. He has been in the Insurance Industry for the past 22 years. Mr. Phinn is currently the Senior Director of Operations for Zurich Small Business for the Central Region, and currently holds an Associate in Underwriting (AU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and a Licensed Broker designation. Clive also serves as Minister of Music at his home church for the past 13 years, and coaches youth baseball.

Achieving a degree from Augustana, opened up so many doors for me. With a degree, you can choose what lane you want to drive in, rather than have someone put you in the lane they think you should be in.

In being part of this Foundation, it gives me pride in trying to help someone who may have the potential but not the wherewithal to achieve a higher education degree.

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you do not see the whole stair case” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Board Member - Brad Wooten

MGEF Crest

Brad Wooten – Board Member
BA Augustana College Rock Island, IL 1989
MBA Northwestern University Evanston, IL 1996
Higher Education Administration – Oakton Community College
12 Years in Higher Education Administration
2010-2011 President Alumni Board - Augustana College

Brad Wooten

Brad Wooten who is a current Board Member for the MGEF graduated from Augustana College in 1989 with a degree in Business Administration.  He then continued on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in Evanston, IL . After working for 2 Fortune 500 companies, Brad made a career change into the field of higher education.  Brad taught at Concordia University and Triton College, before becoming an administrator--holding Associate Dean positions at Triton College and later, Joliet Junior College.  Since 2005 Brad has served as Dean of Social Sciences and Business at Oakton Community College. 

In addition, Brad is near completing his Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Community College Executive Leadership, at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  Mr. Wooten is a former president of the Majestic Gents while a student on Augustana’s campus, and also served as President of the college’s Alumni Board for 2010-2011. Brad Wooten has a firm commitment to higher education and helping others fulfill their potential through this channel.  He is involved in a number of organizations and is a prime example of a person striving to achieve, but never too busy to encourage and provide assistance to others in their pursuit of achievement.

Board Member - Gregory Hardy

MGEF Crest

Gregory Hardy – Board Member
BA Augustana College Rock Island, IL 1999
Regional Sales Manager - Allstate Insurance
10 years in Life Insurance Sales

Greg Hardy

Gregory Hardy is a current Board Member of MGEF. In 1999 he graduated from Augustana College and obtained a Bachelor degree in Political Science.  Mr. Hardy started his career with Allstate Insurance the day after he graduated from Augustana College.  He has been with Allstate Insurance for 13 years now. He currently is the Regional V.P. of Sales for Allstate Insurance in Texas. Gregory has a series 7, 24, 63, life insurance and health insurance licenses.  

Gregory is a strong believer in higher education.  Gregory joined MGEF because he has a desire to help students driven by education accomplish their goals.  Gregory believes if you “Do it today and you will never forget to do it tomorrow.”

Board Member - Milton Davenport

MGEF Crest

Milton Davenport – Board Member

BS Augustana College Rock Island, IL 2001
DMD Harvard University, IL 2005
Endodontics Specialist

Milton Davenport

Milton was born and raised in Harvey, IL, where he graduated from Thornton Township High School. He graduated Augustana College in 2001 with a major in Biology and minor in biochemistry. He then received his DMD from Harvard University in 2005. Upon graduating from Harvard, Dr. Davenport completed a 2-year residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago, specializing in endodontics (root canal specialist). Dr. Davenport owns and operates Advanced Endodontics of Chicago, a dental office in the Chicago loop area specializing in root canal therapy.

While at Augustana, Dr. Davenport served as president of the Magestic Gents for 3 years. He recently started his tenure as a board member of the MGEF and hopes to channel his efforts towards student mentorship.


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