According to via jbhe.com, the state of Maryland approved a new scholarship program in memory of slain Bowie State University student, 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III. In May 2017, Collins was fatally stabbed on the University of Maryland, College Park campus just days before he was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State. Police classified the murder as a hate crime because the attacker was a White man who allegedly went after Collins because he was African American.
In an effort to honor Collins legacy, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan approved legislation to establish the 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship, which will be funded by the state with $1 million annually. Recipients must be eligible for in-state tuition, a member of a Reserve Officer Training Corps, part of an underrepresented group in the ROTC, and must attend a historically black college or university.
The scholarship will be split between Bowie State and Maryland’s three other historically Black universities: Morgan State University, Coppin State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
While college helps to build your network and contacts for current and future opportunities, the strength of the HBCU community is one that provides a unique connection for its students and graduates.
Just ask millennials Luke Lawal and Brittany Ireland, who are proud HBCU alums and the leaders behind the popular site, HBCU Buzz.
“I realized that after going to college no matter where you go you can pinpoint an HBCU graduate,” says HBCU Buzz founder Lawal.
Graduating from Bowie State University in 2012 with a degree in bio-chemistry, Lawal works at a lobbyist firm on Capitol Hill and admits that it was the unique HBCU connection that helped him to grow connections at his current job.
“My general counsel is a Howard grad and we connected before I even got the job via LinkedIn,” says Lawal. “Whether I went to Bowie or he went to Howard, you generally just gravitate towards wanting to help and that’s one of the biggest benefits of graduating from an HBCU.”
His idea to launch HBCU Buzz came in 2009 during his undergraduate years, where he held a marketing position in the Student Government Association (SGA). With this position, the Maryland native traveled to different black colleges across the nation and got an inside view of how things were run on different campuses.
“When I was at Florida A&M I just remember visiting some of the SGA offices and talking to their students and I realized they have a lot of different techniques that us in the north just aren’t aware of,” he says. “So I was trying to figure out why we hadn’t connected with them and why we weren’t publicizing what other HBCUs were doing.”
It was then that his idea for a blog site came about. After spending much time at Howard University and eventually being contacted by BET to help with their Rip the Runway show, Lawal linked arms with Ireland, who was serving as Howard University’s homecoming fashion show coordinator.
“I asked him about HBCU Buzz and I was so excited and loved the idea,” says Ireland, who graduated from Howard in 2013 with a degree in public relations and a minor in sports management. “Immediately we were a team.”
The two locked arms and officially launched the site in March 2011, with Ireland working her way up from event coordinator, to director of PR and now president of the site.
Since it’s launch in 2011, HBCU Buzz has grown from a blog site that covers campus events, news, sports and fashion, to a brand that partners with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HBCUs for Obama, and political activists to host on-campus events across the nation.
With a growing readership that consists of more than 81,000 followers on Twitter, 55,000 on Instagram and 20,000 on Facebook, Lawal and Ireland make it clear that the secret to growing the HBCU Buzz brand is its strong connection to the community.
A college education is viewed one of the essential stepping stones to a fulfilling career – but its cost traditionally does not come cheap. In particular, the tuition of some of the nation’s many historically black colleges and universities range across the board but the rewards of a college degree often outweigh the costs. While tuition costs and school population sizes are strong determining factors when considering which school to attend, one website, HBCU Lifestyle, has listed which HBCU graduates would earn the most in salary after earning college degrees.
Here are the top 10 HBCU’s by starting average salary: