According to cnn.com, Oprah Winfrey now has the largest endowment ever at all-male HBCU Morehouse College in Atlanta after donating $13 million.
Winfrey visited Morehouse on Monday for the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, the release said. The program started in 1989 and the fund stands at $12 million. Monday’s donation of $13 million pushed her total investment to $25 million.
“Seeing you young Oprah Winfrey scholars here today has moved me deeply,” Winfrey said Monday before announcing her donation. “I am so proud of you, I’m proud of everybody in attendance at this school who is seeking to know more clearly who you are, the value you hold and how you will share that value with the rest of the world.”
Oprah Winfrey returned to Morehouse College to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program. Her $12 million donation to the scholarship program over the years has paid for the education of nearly 600 scholars. A portrait was unveiled in her honor today. pic.twitter.com/AE3Qell0Mk
Winfrey’s donation comes after billionaire Robert Smith promised to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 Morehouse graduates in May. Smith donated $34 million to the school last month, making good on his promise.
“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”
According to hbcubuzz.com, Atlanta’s Spelman College recently received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to support its continued growth in STEM education.
The Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, which will be affiliated with the Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration, is the first center of its kind and will serve as the hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities at the women’s college.
“The Center aligns with the College’s strategic priorities and ensures that our students are empowered and equipped to enter competitive STEM fields,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Spelman president. “We are honored to be awarded this grant, and to have the support of the Department of Defense in assisting Spelman in fulfilling its mission to diversify STEM.”
To quote the article:
Spelman is one of six “model institutions for excellence” designated by the National Science Foundation for its significant track record of recruiting, retaining and graduating minority women in the sciences.
Over the past three academic years, the percentage of students pursuing STEM majors at Spelman has grown significantly. In 2017, 26 percent of Spelman students received degrees in STEM compared to 16 percent at other HBCUs and 17 percent at other liberal arts colleges.
The Center seeks to address minority under-representation in the sciences, particularly in computer science, mathematics and physics, explained Tasha Inniss, Ph.D., associate provost for research.
The Center will offer three main access points for students and faculty, including research support, academic enrichment and professional development through mentorship opportunities. In addition, the grant will allow the College to introduce an annual Women in STEM Speaker Series, designed to increase knowledge among faculty, staff, and students about emerging areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.
The Center also will encourage year-round research collaborations between faculty, students and DoD personnel, which is expected to increase the capacity of faculty to do research, said Dr. Inniss.
Good Black News just learned from Hip Hop Wired that rapper Future is working to support students trying to advance their education with college scholarships via his FreeWishes Foundation.
Last week the Atlanta hip hop artist visited his alma mater, Columbia High School, in Atlanta, GA. He and his artist Guap Tarantino surprised undergraduates with an unscheduled performance, specially designed merchandise and a check for $10,000 in the school’s name. Future will continue to pay it forward with a new initiative coinciding with his new “Legendary Nights” tour.
“Prospective students around the country can now enter to win a college scholarship in the amount of $2,000.00 via his FreeWishes College Scholarship. 17 scholarships will be awarded in total and gifted at each tour stop. Along with the scholarship, lucky recipients will also receive 2 tickets to the Legendary Nights Tour and an exclusive “I Am A Dreamer” sweatshirt.
Students interested in applying for the grant must follow FreeWishes’ social media feed (@freewishesfoundation) and submit a 500- word essay detailing “How Receiving This Scholarship Would Be A Dream Come True” to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon of each tour date.”
According to jbhe.com, Julius Davis, an associate professor and mathematics education researcher at Bowie State University, has been selected for the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship by the University System of Maryland.
The award will provide him with a grant to establish a Center for Research and Mentoring of Black Male Students and Teachers.
“It’s humbling and an honor to receive such an award. It feels great to know that the University System of Maryland thought that it was worth the investment to create a center for research and mentoring of Black male students and teachers at a historically Black university,” said Dr. Davis. “It’s great to be on the cutting-edge by trying to create a center focused on Black male students and teachers. We’ll be creating it from the foundation up.”
The center’s main goal is to support a pipeline of Black males joining the ranks of Maryland’s educators, especially those who specialize in teaching high-demand fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Dr. Davis plans to recruit 25 to 50 local students to participate in the center’s workshops, mentoring programs, and field trips throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.
Good Black News recently read an inspiring story at cleveland.com about Dr. Carl Allamby, 47, a career auto mechanic who figuratively changed lanes and recently graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University. Allamby, who grew up in East Cleveland, is currently doing his residency in emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital.
After returning to school to take business classes and falling in love with medicine via a required biology course, Allamby’s chemistry teacher told him about a new program at Cleveland State University called Partnership for Urban Health that sought to recruit and train doctors, especially minority doctors, to practice urban communities. The program offered intense undergraduate classes, help preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test, and then, if successful, a spot at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
“There are so many times throughout the different hospitals where I will walk in and [a black patient] will say, ‘Thank God there’s finally a brother here,’” Allamby said.
“We absolutely need more black doctors, he said, noting mistrust that has a long history, including the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, where black patients were victimized.
“I think you remove a lot of those barriers when there is a person there who looks like you,” he said.
Research shows that black patients fare better with black doctors. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research last year found that black men, who have the lowest life expectancy of any American demographic, were more likely to share details with black doctors and to heed their advice. Having a black doctor was more effective in convincing them to get a flu shot than a financial reward.
According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is branching out to find and preserve recorded sermons by Black preachers.
The Restoration Project was originally established to identify, acquire, preserve, record, and catalogue the most at-risk music from the Black gospel music tradition from the 1940s to the 1980s. In addition to preserving in digital format these gospel recordings, the archive includes press photos and press packets, taped interviews, informal photographs, tour books and programs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and sheet music.
Now the project is looking to digitize sermons that were recorded on vinyl. Some records were just a Black preacher preaching for two and a half minutes on each side and they sold half a million copies – even during the Great Depression.
“All Black preachers sing, and all Black singers preach,” notes Robert Darden, a professor of journalism, public relations and new media at Baylor and the director of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project.
“That got me thinking – nobody has been collecting the Black preaching from the Civil Rights movement, other than Dr. King. All these incredible heroes who were preaching around the rest of the country, there’s not a collection of their work. So, I met with the other folks in the Black Gospel project, and we agreed that in addition to the music, we ought to be trying to collect preaching.”
Support The Project
The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project is made possible by men and women with a zeal for preserving history. Support will help the project continue its important work. All donations are used solely to support the work of the project. Two funds have been established to support the project:
The University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL has introduced the Holmes Scholarship program with the aim to increase the number of teachers from underrepresented groups.
Nine students have accepted full tuition scholarships. In return they agree to teach in schools in northeast Florida once they graduate.
Jarred Jackson, one of the nine students who received a Holmes Scholarship stated that “it’s exciting to me that I can give back to my community as a positive role model. Knowing that I can go in the school system and affect a child’s life is very exciting.”
The University of North Florida enrolls just over 14,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,000 graduate students, according to the latest data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 9 percent of the undergraduate student body.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For some time now, we here at GBN have struggled with the fact that while our operating directive is always to present positive stories, there are so many issues that affect our communities that don’t fit that philosophy, but would love to find a way to present that doesn’t stray from our core mission. It recently dawned on us that the steps we as individuals and societies take to solve problems, large or small, could perhaps be our way in. Solutions can only come first through awareness and acknowledgement of the issue, learning about it, discussing it, then figuring out ways to act that may help solve it.
In that spirit, we introduce “Let’s Talk About It” – a new GBN feature we will occasionally present about problems that need ideas for solutions. Our first entry is a share from, appropriately enough, The Conversation, a website GBN has partnered with to bring to you exactly this type of content.
First up: How can we as a community begin to solve the black student debt crisis? Should we follow the lead of billionaire Robert F. Smith, who single-handedly relieved the debt of Morehouse College’s graduating class of 2019, and task the wealthiest among us to pitch in and help out? Or are there other ways for us to alleviate this issue? Read below, and if you’d like, let’s discuss!
-Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-in-Chief
by Mako Fitts Ward, professor at Arizona State University
When billionaire Robert F. Smith decided to pay off the student loans of the graduating class of 2019 at Morehouse College, he suggested that others follow his lead.
“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community,” Smith declared in his commencement speech.
But is there even enough black private wealth in the United States to pay off all black student loan debt?
As a scholar in social transformation and African American studies, I’m intrigued by this question. It provides an opportunity to examine black wealth, higher education and the possibilities for alleviating debt, which in turn opens the door to new economic opportunities.
That’s a lot of money, and he’s done it before. Before his gift to Morehouse, Smith donated $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater, in part to support African American and female students at Cornell University’s College of Engineering.
Other black celebrities have also stepped up to fund education. Powerhouse couple Beyonce and Jay Z gave more than $1 million in scholarships to students who lived in cities they were touring in 2018.
Rapper Nicki Minaj gave 37 “Student of the Game” scholarships. LeBron James, through his foundation, promised to pay for 2,300 students to attend the University of Akron – at an estimated price tag of $100 million. Oprah Winfrey has donated more than $400 million to educational causes.
When the PBS NewsHourasked educators from different parts of the country to share their picks for some alternatives, they offered books that shift the perspective from a white girl’s point of view to people of color. The stories, many of them more contemporary than “To Kill A Mockingbird,” tackle the multitude of ways racism affects different marginalized groups in the U.S.
In their own words, educators select 12 books, including a popular nonfiction pick, that are great reads and help continue the discussion around racial injustice in school and in life.
The overall top pick: Angie Thomas novels
“The Hate U Give” is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. It takes up issues of racial injustice and identity, both of which resonate with many students — and it feels particularly timely in the wake of countless police shootings of unarmed black men and women. One of my students said she thinks this is a book everyone should read, and I agree. It also models for students how they can stand up and speak out against injustice.
— Adison Godfrey, English teacher in Pennsylvania
I would like to nominate Angie Thomas’ book, “On the Come Up.” The main character Brianna faces an unjust suspension when a rogue white officer body slams her to the floor in retaliation to a search and seizure shake-down upon entering the metal detectors at her school. This mimics incidents that made national news about white officers body-slamming girls in class.
It sheds light on the skewed suspension of more students of color. More importantly, it shows the youthful response to the archaic mindset of prejudice that keeps black Americans stuck in a post-slavery, Jim-Crow America. Using social media to spur on the injustice of treatment — the same way television was used during the 1960s civil rights movement when white and black freedom riders were beaten.