Tag: HBCU

Oprah Winfrey Donates $13 million to Morehouse College

Oprah Winfrey at Morehouse (photo via twitter.com)

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.”

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.”

HBCU Spelman College Receives Funding to Build Education Center for Women in STEM

Spelman College (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

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. 

To learn more, go to: https://hbcubuzz.com/2019/09/spelman-receives-funding-to-establish-a-center-of-excellence-for-minority-women-in-stem/

 

Spelman College Receives $30M Donation from Trustee Ronda Stryker to Help Fund New Arts Center

via jbhe.com

Spelman College, the historically Black educational institution for women in Atlanta, has received a $30 million donation from trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband William Johnston, The gift is the largest from a living donor in the 137-year history of the college.

The gift will be used to help fund the construction of the Center for Innovation and the Arts on the Spelman campus. When completed the building will house all of the college’s arts programs – art, art history, curatorial studies, dance, digital media, documentary filmmaking, photography, music and theater – in a single building.

Spelman Trustee Ronda Stryker (photo via Crain’s Detroit Business)

Stryker has been a member of the college’s board of trustees for more than 20 years. She currently serves as vice chair.

In making the donation, Stryker stated: “As former educators who believe strongly in social justice, Bill and I have great appreciation for how Spelman provides a superior education for students that encourages them to be global change agents. Spelman alumnae are leaders across every field imaginable, breaking new ground, while tackling some of the world’s most challenging issues from health disparities to the digital divide. We are thrilled to support a building that will encourage students to master technology, innovation and the arts.”

Stryker is a board member at Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment company and vice chair of Greenleaf Trust, an investment banking firm.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/12/spelman-college-receives-largest-gift-from-a-living-donor-in-its-137-year-history/

NBA Legend Isiah Thomas Seeks to Increase Celebrities’ Support of HBCUs with “Lift Every Voice” Program

Isiah Thomas (photo via freep.com)

by jbhe.com

Isiah Thomas, a former star in the National Basketball Association, is partnering with Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens to encourage athletes, entertainers, and other successful people to support HBCUs. According to a statement released by the university, the new program is “intended to inspire successful athletes, entertainers and other influential partners to re-commit, embrace and support historically Black colleges and universities.”

This program will be called “Lift Ev’ry Voice.” This refers to the song “Life Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is commonly referred to as the “Black National Anthem.” James Weldon Johnson wrote the song originally as a poem and had his brother John Rosamond Johnson set it to music. He was a composer and music professor at what was then Florida Baptist Academy. That educational institution is now known as Florida Memorial University.

Thomas played two years of college basketball for Indiana University before entering the NBA draft. He played for 13 years  for the Detroit Pistons. Thomas completed his degree from Indiana University during the Pistons’ offseasons and later earned his master’s degree in education from the University of California Berkeley.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/09/nba-legend-isiah-thomas-seeks-to-increase-celebrities-support-of-hbcus/

Spelman College Awards Scholarships for LGBTQ Advocates via Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars Program

by Paul Meara via bet.com

Spelman College, an all girls HBCU, announced this week a new scholarship program for students of the school who advocate for LGBTQ issues. The Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars Program “will call attention to the importance of making visible the courageous and significant work of LGBTQ scholar activists within and beyond the academy, especially at HBCUs,” Spelman professor and alumna Beverly Guy-Sheftall said.

Guy-Sheftall is also the founder of the Spelman Women’s Research and Resource Center. The scholarship is named after Dr. Lee Watkins, who is Sheftall’s cousin and a founding member of the Women’s Research and Resource Center’s National Advisory Board. Guy-Sheftall pledged $100,000 in May and launched the scholars program and lecture series to explore contemporary issues of race, gender and sexuality.

According to The Root, two Spelman sophomores who self-identify as LGBTQ advocates will be awarded renewable $25,000 scholarships this fall. “As an institution that upholds a supportive student experience, this gift will present new opportunities for critical conversation on race and sexuality with distinguished scholars and thought leaders, and provide a platform to recognize campus LGBTQ advocates and their scholarly achievements,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said after the scholarship program was announced.

To read more, go to: Spelman College Is Awarding Hefty Scholarships For LGBTQ Advocates | National | BET

72-Year-Old Darlene Mullins Finishes College With Honors After 55 Years

72 year-old college graduate Darlene Mullins (photo via huffpost.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffpost.com

It’s never too late to go back to school.

Just ask 72-year-old Darlene Mullins, who recently graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee. The grandmother of four walked at the school’s commencement Saturday.

Darlene left school nearly 55 years ago in the name of love. She was a track star at the historically black college and met her husband-to-be, John Mullins, in 1962, she told USA Today. “I thought he was the finest thing walking on the campus,” Darlene told the HBCU’s campus magazine in 2014. The duo knew they would marry each other the moment they met and began dating shortly after. But Darlene’s track coach noticed that she was spending most of her time with her boyfriend. Her coach gave Darlene, who was training to go to the 1964 Olympics, an ultimatum: the track team or John. Darlene chose John.

She finished her freshman year with 25 credits and married John in 1963. Her husband graduated in 1964 and began working. Darlene took care of the household and was a stay-at-home mother to their son and daughter. The family lived in six states over the years, due to John’s successful career in business. Darlene told the campus outlet that she eventually began a career in retail and cosmetology as their children grew older.

Though she remained busy, she always longed to finish school. That feeling intensified when the couple would visit the HBCU for homecomings and other celebrations.“Something kept nagging at me,” she said. “I always told my children to make sure they finish what they started and I kind of felt it was time to live up to my own advice.”

To read full article, go to: 72-Year-Old Finishes College With Honors After 55 Years, Inspires Us All | HuffPost

Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in College Scholarships

(L to R) Dillard University’s associate admissions director Christopher Stewart and Zariah Nolan, Whitehaven High School senior and future Dillard University Student, taken from Nolan’s Twitter on April 24, 2017. (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Seniors at an almost-exclusively Black high school in Memphis, Tennessee, earned more than $80 million in university scholarship offers.

ABC News reported Friday (April 21) that more than 40 Whitehaven High School students contributed to this number with at least $1 million in offers each. A call to determine the total number of students who earned scholarships was not immediately returned. Per the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, Whitehaven’s student body is more than 99 percent Black.

One student, 18-year-old Zariah Nolan, earned nearly $9.6 million in scholarships, including 17 full-ride packages. Nolan told ABC News that she applied to nearly 100 colleges across the country using application packages like the Common Black College Application, which allows prospective students to submit to 51 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with one set of materials.

She will attend one of those HBCUs, Dillard University in New Orleans, this fall. “My principal always told us you never know where life can take you so apply anywhere just to see,” Nolan said. Her principal, Vincent J. Hunter, added that the 1,765 student-strong high school stands out thanks to its all-alumni staff. “It’s important for us to be our brother’s keeper and we work hard to make sure our kids are prepared for life after graduation,” says Hunter, who also attended Whitehaven.

Source: Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in Scholarships | Colorlines

HBCU South Carolina State University Creates Program for its Dropouts to Finish Degrees at Lower Tuition Rate

(photo via counton2.com)

article via jbhe.com

South Carolina State University, the historically Black educational institution in Orangeburg, South Carolina, has announced a new effort to get students who had begun studies at the university but had not completed their degree for some reason to come back and complete what they had started.

The Bulldog Academic Resumption Covenant (BARC) Program enables students to complete their degree program through study with the University of Phoenix. Some 2,500 students in 20 degree programs who dropped out between 2010 and 2015 have been invited to join the BARC program.

These students will receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition costs and take online courses through the University of Phoenix that have been approved by the South Carolina State University faculty. These credits can then be used to satisfy degree requirements at South Carolina State. No more than 24 percent of all credits toward the South Carolina State University degree can be taken through the University of Phoenix.

James E. Clark, president of South Carolina State University, said that “the bottom line is we miss our students, and we want them to return home.”

To read more: South Carolina State University Invites Dropouts to Come Home : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Spelman College Receives $1 Million from Barnes & Noble Founder Leonard Reggio For Arts and Innovation Center

(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

article via thegrio.com

Leonard Riggio, the founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble and his wife, Louise, are donating $1 million to Spelman College. The donation was made to establish the Riggio Scholars Program and to support Spelman’s arts and innovation center.

Half of the donation will go towards underwriting six Spelman students who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and who engage in community service.

The other half will help design and build an arts and innovation center. This center will house both the school’s arts programs as well as fund their Innovation Lab.

“From the moment I was surrounded by its warm embrace, I was head over heels in love with Spelman College, and especially with the beautiful people who study and teach there,” Leonard Riggio stated.

To read full article, go to: http://thegrio.com/2016/12/23/barnes-noble-founder-gifts-spelman-college-1-million/

Darlene Pitts, 57-Year-Old Grandmother of 12, Earns Bachelor’s Degree From HBCU Norfolk State University

Grandmother graduate Darlene Pitts (photo via hbcubuzz.com)

article by Tommy G. Meade Jr. via hbcubuzz.com

A 57-year-old grandmother of 12 who admitted that college “was a rough four years” graduated from  Norfolk State University, a historically black college or university, alongside hundreds of students this past Saturday.

Darlene Pitts is a hardworking woman in pursuit of higher education living in Norfolk, Virginia. During her time at college, she was working two jobs. But she had to “Quit her job at a Kroger grocery store and focused on her schoolwork and her job as a special education teaching assistant at a local high school,” after she discovered that she was placed on academic probation.

Pitts told The Virginia-Pilot that “I came to work in tears because I got a letter saying I was on academic probation.” “Some of the classes, they were really rough,” Pitts added. “I was ready to throw in the towel. I just wanted to call it quits, but I just hung in there.”

Pitts will graduate from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to become a full-time special education teacher as well as probably continue her career as a student.

To read full article, go to: 57-Year-Old Grandmother Earns Bachelor’s Degree From An HBCU | HBCU Buzz