The Rosenwald Building still stands on the Prentiss Institute campus as of 2016. [ Photo courtesy of http://themississippilink.com ]
Prentiss Normal and Industrial Institute, one of the oldest educational institutions for African-American in the state of Mississippi. Established in 1907 in Jefferson Davis County by Jonas Edward “J.E.” Johnson (1873-1953) a graduate of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, and his wife Bertha LaBranche Johnson (1882-1971) a graduate of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. Professor J.E. Johnson and his wife borrowed funds to purchase 40-arce site where the school originated, and started the school in a log cabin which served a dual purpose by providing living quarters for the Johnson family and classrooms for the school.

The mission of Prentiss Institute was to provide educational opportunities which would enable its students to develop spiritually, mentally and physically so that they would become productive and responsible citizens who would render effective services to the community.

When Prentiss Institute originally opened in 1907, the school only offered elementary classes but soon the curriculum expanded once Prentiss Institute was licensed by the state of Mississippi as a private high school in 1909 and as a private junior college in 1931. The high school and junior college experienced rapid growth with a peak enrollment of more than 700 students and 44 faculty members. The campus grew from the original 40-acres to 500-acres to include farmland, a pasture and forest and the physical plant grew from one building to 24 buildings to accommodate increased student enrollment.

In 1912, the U.S. Department of Agriculture placed the first local county agent at Prentiss Institute to perform demonstrations and render service to the county. This enhanced the agriculture program at the institution, and aided in expanding the vocational curriculum.

Prentiss Institute is known for the Heifer Project, Inc. which begun in 1955, though it had been an international project for years, it had not functioned in the United States prior to its establishment on the campus. The project provided a means to improve the school’s farm, by constructing and operating a diary. Through this program, the student body received an abundance of beef and pasteurized milk at a low-cost.

In 1968, a new Building Program was launched attributed to the income generated through tuition and alumni donations which helped Prentiss Institute Junior College to grown its physical plant and academic programs. The Ruby E. Sims Lyells Library was erected in 1968, Ransom Olds Hall was built-in 1969, and the William “Bill” Crosby Cafeteria was completed in 1972.

The Institute was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation that provided for a Science Laboratory, a lecture hall and a Media Center in 1974. It was also in the 1970’s that Prentiss Institute entered into cooperative education programs to enhance the skills of vocational students, and built the Physical Education Complex. During this time the college received a grant from the state of Mississippi to conduct a child development program.

As funding and student enrollment dropped. Prentiss Institute was forced to close its doors in 1989. For many years the campus sat deserted and the buildings abandoned until the Prentiss Institute Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Ms. Rosie Hooker, began a restoration project that included many of the buildings on campus. Today the early school location is a museum recognized as the “1907 Building” and the Little Theatre, Science Building and Library are again being utilized by the community.

The Rosenwald School Building was reopened with a grand celebration in February 2013. Today the Rosenwald Building at Prentiss Institute is a popular event venue for a multitude of special events. It is recognized as a historic landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

HCF and its Kwesi Ronald Harris Division of Historical Records commemorates Black History Month remembering those important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. During Black History Month, HCF will focus on students and alumni of HBCUs, and individuals who made or are making history in the African-American community.

Dr. Freddie Hartfield, who holds the distinction of being the longest-serving tenured professor in the history of Arkansas AM&N/UAPB for his service for more than 50 years. He was raised in Elaine, Arkansas, a small town located in Phillips County. His mother died during childbirth and his great-grandmother, Sarah Hartfield, raise him. Years later, tough times with little money and sometimes little shelter, led an 11-year-old Hartfield and Sarah Hartfield (who was 80-years-old by then) to work in the cotton fields, making 75 cents per hundred a day. During the six-month off-season, he attended Elaine High School seven miles from home walking both ways.

Prof. Cleo Frye, a vocational teacher, and his wife, Velma “Red” Frye of Elaine successfully convinced Sarah Hartfield that Freddie Hartfield should attend J.C. Corbin High School in Pine Bluff to further his education. Frye brought young Hartfield to Lewis Hall and left him there, but he had no money for school or food. At the time, Dr. John Brown Watson was the school president. Dr. L.A. Davis, Sr., was an English teacher then and worked in the admissions office. Davis Sr. helped Hartfield by getting him into and remaining at the school by giving him a job to pay for tuition. After Hartfield graduated from J.C. Corbin High School, be began working at the Pine Bluff Arsenal and attending AM&N College. For four years, he worked eight hours a day, making 51 cents an hour, moving cluster bombs. Each time he was paid, he kept only the money he needed for transportation and food and sent the rest back home.

Hartfield graduated from Arkansas AM&N College in 1950 with a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture. Consequently, he was 23-years-old when he began agriculture at AM&N. After he discovered his passion for mathematics, Hartfield received a master’s degree in mathematics education in 1957 from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. in mathematics education from Kansas State University. Although he’s proud of his educational accomplishments, Hartfield is even prouder of his family. He’s been married for more than 73 years to Verna Mae Hartfield.

Until May 2014, Hartfield, mathematics professor extraordinaire, had become a well-established figure at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Many UAPB alumni from across the nation boast that Hartfield taught them mathematics or at least that he was their instructor. Hartfield came to the institution on June 2, 1941, when he enrolled in J.C. Corbin High School at the age of 16, he was 90 years old when he retired.

ORANGEBURG, SC – Fifty years ago, on February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre events happened in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.  HBCU Campaign Fund organization and the Office of the President and CEO, Founder Demetrius Johnson Jr., stand in commemorates with the Orangeburg community in recognizing the martyrs whose lives were taken 50 years ago on that February night in 1968, which is such a significant event in the African-American and HBCU history.

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Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

 

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.

Each year since 1968, the University has held an observance to commemorate the lives of 18-year-old SC State students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond Jr., 17-year-old high school student Delano Middleton. This often neglected and overlooked tragedy is not nearly as well known as the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970, although it had a profound effect on the Orangeburg community and surrounding area.

 

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Original Friendship Institute Building. (Era of Progress and Promise)

Friendship Normal and Industrial Institute grew out of activities of the Baptist Sunday School conventions of York and Chester Counties in South Carolina.  These conventions met on the fifth Sundays for a day of readings, speeches and preaching. So the impulse for a school was to provide training for future teachers and ministers. Dr. Mansel P. Hall, pastor of churches in both conventions, encouraged them to work together to create such a school.

On October 21, 1891, Friendship College began with 11 students meeting in Mt. Prospect Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina until a new building was complete. Friendship grew quickly until its enrollment reached 200 in the fourth year. It was incorporated in 1906 and had an enrollment of 300 in 1908 according to Era of Progress and Promise.

During the 41-year tenure of President James A. Goudlock, Friendship College reorganized at three levels – an elementary school (grades 1-8), a high school, and a junior college. The junior college had two wings – teacher training and liberal arts. The strength of the curriculum allowed graduates to receive teaching certificates without examination. In 1978, the school received state approval for four-year programs in accounting, business administration and economics.

Even with a listed enrollment of 368, Friendship College was beginning to experience financial difficulties in 1980 and was forced to file for bankruptcy in December of 1981.

The 1941 ad for the school mentions four building, one of which, was called Main Building. College Hill was reported to have dormitory space for 44 girls in the upper floor, in addition to a chapel, offices and classrooms.

After the college closed, a major fired burned and damaged campus buildings to the extent that all had to be razed. In 2011, the Baptist Church and Friendship College alumni were raising funds for Dr. J. H. Goudlock Center to be built on the site of the college.

Friendship College was also known for the Friendship Nine, which was a group of African-American men who went to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961.

 

ORANGEBURG, SC – On February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.

4f33662c2a5be.image
Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

 

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.

ORANGEBURG, SC – On February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.

4f33662c2a5be.image
Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

 

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.

I am Black History. I am Black excellence. I am Autherine Lucy, who was the first black student to attend the University of Alabama.

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Pictured: Roy Wilkins and Thurgood Marshall (director and special counsel for NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund) in a press conference with Autherine Lucy.

I was born in Shiloh, Alabama. My father was a sharecropper, and I was the youngest child of the family of five sons and four daughters. After attending public school in Shiloh through grade ten, I attended Linden Academy in Linden, Alabama. I graduated in 1947 and went on to attend Selma University (a private historically black college) in Selma, Alabama, for two years, after which I studied at Mile College (a historically black college) in Fairfield, Alabama. I graduated from Miles with a bachelor of arts in English in 1952.

In September of 1952, I and a friend, Pollie Myers, a civil right activist with the NAACP, applied to the University of Alabama. We were accepted, but our admission was rescinded when the authorities discovered we were not white. Backed by NAACP, Myers and I charged the University of Alabama with racial discrimination in a court case that took almost three years to resolve. While waiting, I worked as an English teacher in Carthage, Mississippi, and as a secretary at an insurance company.

On June 29, 1955, the NAACP secured a court order preventing the University from rejecting the admissions applications of Lucy and Myers based upon their race. I was finally admitted to the University of Alabama but rejected Myers because a child she had conceived before marriage made her an unsuitable student. Later, the court amended the order to apply to all other African-American students seeking admission. On February 3, 1956, I enrolled as a graduate student in library science, becoming the first African-American ever admitted to a white public school or university in the state.

I attended my first classes on Friday, February 3, 1956. And on Monday, February 6, 1956, riots broke out on campus and a mob of more than a thousand men pelted the car in which the Dean of Woman drove me between classes. Threats were made against my life, and the president was stoned. The police were called to secure my admission. After the riots, the University suspended me from school because of my safety was a concern.

I and the NAACP filed contempt-of-court proceedings against the trustees and president of the University; against the dean of women for barring her from the dining hall and dormitories, and against four other men for participating in the riots. The federal courts ordered that I be reinstated after the university had taken adequate measures to protect me. When I was reinstated on February 29 by court order of the Birmingham Federal Court the university trustees met and expelled me permanently on a hastily contrived technicality. The university used the case as a justification for my permanent expulsion. University officials claimed that I had slandered the university, and they could not have me as a student.

The NAACP felt that further legal actions was pointless and did not contest this decision. For some months afterwards, I was a civil rights advocate, making speeches at NAACP meetings around the country. But by the end of the year, my active involvement in the civil rights movement ceased. For the next seventeen years, my family and I lived in various cities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. My notoriety made it difficult for me to find employment as a teacher. My family moved back to Alabama in 1974, and I obtained a position in the Birmingham school system.

In April 1968, my expulsion was annulled by the University of Alabama. I enrolled in the graduate program in education the following year and received an M.A. degree in 1992. In the course of the commencement ceremonies, the University of Alabama named an endowed fellowship in my honor. There was also a portrait of me unveiled in the student union; the inscription reads “Her initiative and courage won the right for students of all races to attend the University.”

I am a sister of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

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Join HBCU Campaign Fund for Black History Month “I Am’s,” exhibiting the outstanding achievements of well-known Black individuals who has contributed to the Black community and beyond.

If you would like to contribute an “I Am” of your all-time favorite Black pioneer to be featured, you may e-mail your “I Am” to support@hbcucampaignfund.org.

PINE BLUFF, AR – Bestselling author, Hill-Harper-New-Book-Interview-Video.pngactor, and philanthropist Hill Harper will serve as the featured keynote speaker during the Black History Month Celebration program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). The event originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 2 @ 11:00 a.m. is rescheduled to this Monday, February 8 @ 10:30 a.m. in the Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr. HPER Complex on campus. This event is free and open to the general public.

Harper is best-known for the role of coroner-turned-crime scene investigator Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CBS crime drama CSI: NY. He worked in the series for nine seasons. He also portrayed Leshem in the 2010 Syfy original movie Stonehenge Apocalypse.

Harper graduate magna cum laude from Brown University, he received a J.D. (cum laude) from Harvard Law School, as well as a master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government. Haper founded the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a nonprofit outreach program for at-risk teens, and is also the author of multiple bestselling books, including “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny”, an advice book for teens that won the American Library Association’s 2007 prize for Best Book for Young Adults, and the newly-released “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones.”

For more information about this event, contact UAPB’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at (870) 575-8866.

Source: https://uapbnews.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/black-history-program-rescheduled-for-february-8/

I am Black History. I am Black excellence. I am Mary McLeod Bethune, who was an educator and civil rights activist.

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Mary McLeod Bethune with the graduating class of Literary and Industrial Training School in 1928.

I was born in 1875 in a small log cabin near Mayesville, South Carolina, on a rice and cotton farm. I was the fiftieth of seventeen children born to former slaves. I attended Mayesville one-room black schoolhouse, Trinity Mission School, which was run by the Presbyterian Board of Missions of Freedmen. I was the only child in my family to attend school; I walked five miles each day to and from school. My teacher, Emma Jane Wilson become a significant mentor in my life, she helped me attend Scotia Seminary (now Barber-Scotia College on scholarship from 1888to 1893. I graduated from Scotia Seminary in 1893.

After graduating from the seminary, I went to Dwight Moody’s Institute for Home and Foreign Missions (also know as Moody Institute) in Chicago, hoping to become a missionary in Africa. I completed my studies there two years later. Returning to the south, I began my career as a teacher.

For nearly a decade, I worked as an educator. I worked as a teacher briefly at my former elementary school in Sumter County. In 1896, I began teaching at Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in Augusta, Georgia. During this year, the National Association of Colored Women was formed to promote the needs of black women. I served as the Florida chapter president from 1917 to 1925. I was elected as national president in 1924. After one year at Haines, I was transferred by the Presbyterian mission to the Kindell Institute in Sumter, South Carolina, where I met my future husband. I married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune in 1898. We had one son together Albert McLeod Bethune before our marriage ended in 1907.

I believed that education provided the key to racial advancement. So I moved to Florida, determined to start a school for girls. I moved from Palatka to Daytona, because it had more economic opportunities. In October 1904, I rented a small house for $11.00 per month. I made benches and desks from discarded crates and acquired other items through charity. I used $1.50 to start the Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. I initially had six students, with five girls aged six to twelve, and my son Albert. Parents of the students and church members raised money by making sweet potato pies, ice cream, and fried fish, and selling them to crews at the Daytona dump.

In the early days, the students made ink for pens from elderberry juice, and pencils from burned wood. The school received donations of money, equipment, and labor from local black churches. Within’ a year, I was teaching more than 30 girls at the school. I also courted wealthy white organizations, such as the ladies’ Palmetto Club. I invited influential white men to sit on my school board of trustees, gaining participation by James Gamble (of Proctor & Gamble) and Thomas H. White (of White Sewing Machines).

Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute visited in 1912; he advised me of the importance of gaining support by white benefactors for funding. I had met with Washington in 1896 and was impressed by his clout with his donors. As I traveled, I seek donations to keep my school operating. A donation of $62, 000 by John D. Rockefeller helped, as well as my friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife in the 1930s.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover appointed me to the White House Conference on Child Health. In 1935, I founded the National Council of Negro Women in New York City, bringing together representatives of 28 different organizations to work to improve the lives of black women and their communities.

In 1931, the Methodist Church helped the merger of my school with the boys’ Cookman Institute, forming the Bethune-Cookman College, a coeducational junior college. I became president. Through the Great Depression, my school continued to operate and met the educational standards of the State of Florida. From 1936 to 1942, I cut back my time as president because of duties in Washington, D.C. Funding declined during that period of my absence. However, by 1941, the college had developed a four-year curriculum and achieved full college status. In 1942, I gave up my presidency, as my health was being adversely affected by my many responsibilities.

On May 18, 1955, I died of a heart attack. In 1973, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

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Join HBCU Campaign Fund for Black History Month “I Am’s,” exhibiting the outstanding achievements of well-known Black individuals who has contributed to the Black community and beyond.

If you would like to contribute an “I Am” of your all-time favorite Black pioneer to be featured, you may e-mail your “I Am” to support@hbcucampaignfund.org.

 

 

I am Black history. I am Black excellence. I am Charlie Nelms, who is an educator and administrator. I served as the tenth chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.

I was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas, in 1946, and I enrolled at Arkansas Agricultural,

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Pictured: Dr. Charlie Nelms and Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., (Former chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) at UAPB Chancellor’s Spring Convocation 2010. Credits: Chandra Walker.

Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) on academic probation with an ACT of 4, where I graduated with bachelor’s in agronomy and chemistry in 1969. I earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University. I served as chancellor of Indiana University East from 1987 to 1994 and chancellor of University of Michigan-Flint from 1994 to 2001, during which I resolved a significant campus budget deficit and reversed a four-year enrollment decline. I then returned to Indiana University system as vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs. Since taking the helm at NCCU, I improve retention and graduation rates, I reorganized the University College to provide intensive academic support and skills training for underprepared freshman and sophomores. Two years into my chancellorship, U.S. News & World Report ranked NCCU as the top public historically black college and university in the nation. During the 2009-10 academic year, NCCU observed its centennial. The physical appearance of the campus has been transformed into redesigned green spaces and a dramatic overhaul of the Fayetteville Street corridor. A new nursing building and residence hall were under construction; a much-needed parking deck opened in August 2010.

In 2011, I published “A Call to Action”, a policy directive intended to spur a national dialogue concerning the revitalization of the historically black colleges and universities as an important sector of American higher education.

On July 26, 2012, after completing a five-year commitment to serve NCCU, I announced my retirement, effective August 6, 2012.

I am currently a contributing writer for The Huffington Post on educational issues and has founded Destination Graduation, a non-profit organization focused on increasing retention and graduation rates at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

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Join HBCU Campaign Fund for Black History Month “I Am’s,” exhibiting the outstanding achievements of well-known Black individuals who has contributed to the Black community and beyond.

If you would like to contribute an “I Am” of your all-time favorite Black pioneer to be featured, you may e-mail your “I Am” to support@hbcucampaignfund.org.