Romanian university, UMES enter into academic, culture exchange agreement

A small, private university in eastern Romania and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore have signed an agreement to explore academic and cultural exchanges between the two institutions. Pictured: Dr. William B. Harvey and Dr. Heidi M. Anderson.

Danubius University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore have signed a partnership agreement to explore academic and cultural exchanges between the two institutions.

Prof. univ. Dr. William B. Harvey, Rector of Danubius University visited UMES campus for the signing ceremony of the agreement with UMES President Dr. Heidi M. Anderson and representatives of the university’s leadership.

Professor Harvey said that “the partnership with UMES brings to the fore the growing concern of Danubius University to expand its educational and cultural collaborations around the world for the benefit of Danubian students and faculty.”

“One of the main goals of UMES is to have graduates who are culturally and internationally aware, so our partnership with Danubius University is a step in that direction. When you talk about learning about different cultures, not in your own country, but in other countries, this broadens your horizons. Such an opportunity also trains tomorrow’s leaders from both universities,” said Dr. Heidi M. Anderson, President of UMES.

The agreement signed between the two higher education institutions outlines an appropriate framework for establishing exchange programs for students and graduates, as well as for faculty and for collaboration in the field of scientific research which is a priority for Danubius University.

Dr. Moses Kario, dean of UMES’ School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, represented UMES in Mid-September on a fact-finding trip to Galati, where he attended an international conference on the impact of COVID-19 as well as met with a leading agriculture science official.

Danubius University is located in Galati, a city about 286,000 on the Danube River. The university has roughly 3,000 students, and offers several bachelor’s degrees and master’s programs.

Harvey was named Danubius’s chief executive officer – or “rector,” in European higher education job terminology – in January and maintains an office in Washington, D.C. He has taught or served as an administrator at such institutions as the University of Virginia, Stoney Brook (N.Y.) University, North Carolina State and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He has emerged as a leading voice who has pushed the higher education sector to focus on cultural and social factors affecting underserved populations.

Among the possibilities UMES and Danubius will explore are joint degree programs, ways to collaborate on best practices in teaching, assessment and institutional management and sharing technology expertise.

###

Mahood Hall, home of the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business at Bluefield State College. Photo courtesy of HCF’s Media Team.

BLUEFIELD, W.Va.Bluefield State College is celebrating another “first,” with the decision by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) to approve the College’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

“Today’s decision by the Commission empowers Bluefield State College to launch the first graduate degree program in the College’s 126-year history,” said BSC President Robin Capehart. “By offering a graduate program, Bluefield State can now begin the process for pursuing university status.”

The College’s MBA program is designed for both business and non-business majors, and will be offered in an accelerated format with courses offered primarily through online delivery. Students can complete the 36-credit hour program in as little as 12 months.

“Building on Bluefield State College’s fully accredited undergraduate programs in the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business, we are excited to expand into graduate education by offering a Master of Business Administration this spring to meet the educational needs of this region,” said Dr. Ted Lewis, BSC Provost. “By offering this program in a hybrid format, students will gain valuable seat time and opportunities for in-person interaction, engagement, and experiential learning as well as the ability to meet face to face with business leaders.”

The MBA program offered through BSC’s W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business will establish affordable and accessible graduate business education for residents of the region and beyond. Southern West Virginia employers surveyed by the Cole School of Business expressed strong support for the program. They saw the BSC MBA as a valuable way to help current employees strengthen their skills and business acumen, and facilitate the recruitment of new employees seeking to further their education while continuing to work.

“Bluefield State College is gratified and excited to announce we will be offering the MBA program through the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business,” said Karen Grogan, the School’s Interim Dean. “The Master of Business Administration program will be offered, beginning in the Spring 2022 semester.”

The intent of the Cole School of Business is to seek program-specific accreditation of the MBA program at the earliest possible time. The undergraduate business program at BSC is already nationally accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

About Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College, a historically black institution, is to prepare students for diverse professions, informed citizenship, community involvement, and public service in an ever-changing global society by providing an affordable, accessible opportunity for public higher education through certificate, associate, bachelor, and master degree programs. For more information, visit www.bluefieldstate.edu.

###

ITTA BENA, MSMississippi Valley State University‘s (MVSU) President, Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr., has announced that MVSU has received the university’s largest single private gift in school history.

An anonymous donor has made a gift of $2.5 million to support the university’s Finish Line initiative, a scholarship program that assists students in their matriculation to graduation. The gift is the donor’s second to the university this year; the first gift was $250,000.

Mississippi Valley State University President, Dr. Jerryl Briggs.

“Words cannot fully describe how excited and appreciative we are at MVSU,” said Dr. Briggs. “This transformational gift will allow us to continue our commitment to ‘students first’ in pursuing academic achievements. Great things are happening at MVSU. This gift ensures that Valley stays in motion and further allows the university to remain committed to its motto, ‘live for service.’ In addition, this gift will enable students who need financial help, realize their fullest potential and continue their enrollment at the university.”

After receiving the first gift, the university created the Prosperity Scholarship to record the distribution of the funds. All funds from the second gift will be distributed similarly, with the sole purpose and use of fund being to support student scholarships.

The Finish Line Initiative will additionally be used to allow those students who did not receive any scholarship funding at the start of their enrollment at the university but are now excelling academically and actively involved in community activism to receive scholarship support.

“This expansion of the Prosperity Scholarship is for continuing students who have distinguished themselves through outstanding leadership qualities and academic excellence. The primary focus of the award is leadership, which may be demonstrated through traditional school activities, work responsibilities, community activism and involvement, and family commitments,” Briggs continued.

About MVSU
Mississippi Valley State University, as a Carnegie Classified Master’s University, provides comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts and sciences, and professional studies. The University is driven by its commitment to excellence in teaching, learning, service, and research —- a commitment resulting in a learner-centered environment that prepares critical thinkers, exceptional communicators, and service-oriented, engaged, and productive citizens. MVSU is fundamentally committed to positively impacting the quality of life and creating extraordinary educational opportunities for the Mississippi Delta and beyond. For more information, visit www.mvsu.edu.

Fred T. Long Student Union on Wiley College’s campus. Photo courtesy of HCF’s Media Team.

MARSHALL, TX – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has notified Wiley College of its probation sanctions being removed.

Wiley College launched and achieved a strategic set of actions that led to increased fundraising and effective finance practices. As a result, SACSCOC found that Wiley College has met the criteria for accreditation and has significantly strengthened the college’s fiscal health.

By demonstrating its fiscal responsibility and stewardship, the college learned that there would be no monitoring or follow-up from the accrediting body until it applies for its recertification in 2023.

“Wiley College stand firmly on its 148+ year foundation and continues to demonstrate excellence despite this previous obstacle. The removal of probation sanctions signal that we are a community of educators who believe that Wiley College is significant to the higher education landscape and worked hard to secure our future. I am extremely proud of the Wiley College family, who has steadfast in their actions and communication. The campus community came together to secure Wiley’s future through their actions, despite being in a global pandemic,” said President Herman J. Felton, Jr., J.D., Ph.D.

Today, Wiley College continuously strives to achieve its bold and audacious vision through its mission as a premier liberal arts institution, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, with an intentional focus on social good and leadership.

About Wiley College
Wiley College, founded in 1873 in Marshall, Texas, is a historically black, primarily liberal arts, residential, co-educational, baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Committed to the principle of educational access, the College serves traditional and non-traditional students from diverse background who have expressed a desire and potential for learning in a Christian environment. For more information, visit www.wileyc.edu.

###

Pharrell Williams

NORFOLK, VA Norfolk State University is pleased to announce that Virginia native Pharrell Williams will deliver the keynote address at NSU’s 107th Commencement Exercise, which will honor the December graduates in the Class of 2021. The in-person commencement ceremony will be held on campus at 9 a.m., on Saturday, December 11, at Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall. It will also be live streamed on the University’s website at www.nsu.edu.

A visionary recording artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams has been a creative force in the music industry and beyond for more than two decades.

Over the years, Williams has been honored with 13 Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year in the 2004, 2014 and 2019; and ASCAP’s prestigious Golden Note Award in 2012. In 2014, his original song “Happy,” featured in Despicable Me 2, also received an Academy Award nomination. In 2017, he received an Academy Award nomination for co-producing Best Picture-nominated Hidden Figures (2016), as well as a Golden Globe nomination for co-scoring the film. In the summer of 2020, Williams was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Chad Hugo for their work as The Neptunes.

In April 2019, Williams launched Something in the Water, the first-ever multi-day music festival and cultural experience on the beach in his hometown of Virginia Beach. The festival’s mission was to unite the community and celebrate the diversity and magic of Virginia Beach. It also was an opportunity to bring the best of what Williams has encountered around the world back to his hometown.

A longtime advocate again racial injustice, Williams was an integral part in the talks with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about Juneteenth being a permanent paid state holiday. Virginia has long marked Juneteenth by issuing a proclamation, but the date has not previously been considered a state holiday. In June 2021, Williams joined Governor Northam at a press conference at which he announced his plans to do just that. Since the press conference, he continues to push other states and companies to do the same and remains at the forefont of the fight for racial equality across the country.

At the ceremony, Norfolk State will award Williams a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. Additionally, NSU will confer degrees for nearly 400 candidates, who have completed the requirements for associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.

To attend the ceremony, all invited guests must have a ticket, which is provided by their prospective graduate. Norfolk State University also requires proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the commencement ceremony. Attendees should plan to bring their government ID, vaccination card, proof or COVID-19 test result.

For more information or to ask questions, visit www.nsu.edu/commencement or email commencement@nsu.edu.

About Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University, a comprehensive urban public institution, is committed to transforming students’ lives through exemplary teaching, research and service. Offering a supportive academic and culturally diverse environment for all, the University empowers its students to turn their aspirations into reality and achieve their full potential as well rounded, resourceful citizens and leaders for the 21st century. For more information, visit www.nsu.edu.

###

Jackson State University Punches Ticket to ESPN Events’ Cricket Celebration Bowl for the First Time in School History

ATLANTA, GA – The second invitation to ESPN Events’ sixth annual Cricket Celebration Bowl – to be played Saturday, Dec. 18 at noon ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and aired live on ABC – has been extended to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) college football champion Jackson State University. The Tigers (11-1, 8-0 SWAC) defeated the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Saturday, 27-10, and will play the MEAC champion South Carolina State.

Executive Director of the Cricket Celebration Bowl, John Grant, was on-site at the SWAC Championship in Jackson, Miss., to present Jackson State head coach Deon Sanders with the official invitation.

“Congratulations to SWAC champion Jackson State University for punching its ticket to the Cricket Celebration Bowl,” said Grant. “Jackson State, led by Coach Sanders, had an outstanding season. We are excited for the Tigers to join us in the championship matchup against the MEAC champion South Carolina State Bulldogs.”

Jackson State University captured the 2021 SWAC Football Championship on Saturday, Dec. 4. Photo courtesy of HCF’s Media Team.

Entering its sixth year, the Cricket Celebration Bowl has established itself as a premier bowl game, celebrating the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The championship-style game between MEAC and SWAC champions is televised on ABC. ESPN Events collaborates with its sponsors and the Divine Nike Greek organizations to schedule the game’s ancillary events which includes a fan experience, community service projects, and more.

Since its debut in 2015, the Celebration Bowl is the only Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision bowl game. It serves as the annual championship game between the MEAC and SWAC conferences.

The Celebration Bowl is returning in 2021 after a one-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Celebration Bowl Games (2015-present):
2015 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn State, 41-34
2016 Grambling State def. North Carolina Central, 10-9
2017 North Carolina A&T def. Grambling State, 21-14
2018 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn State, 24-22
2019 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn, 64-44

Fans can purchase tickets to the Cricket Celebration Bowl online at thecelebrationbowl.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $15 to $175 excluding taxes and fees. A fill list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.

About ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes five early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events, annd a college softball event, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaching almost 64 million viewers and attracting over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offie in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Dallas-Forth Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or Youtube pages.

###

Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Commissioner.

LORMAN, MS – Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Commissioner and Alcorn State University alumnus, will give the speech during Alcorn’s Fall 2021 Commencement Saturday, Dec. 11, at 9 a.m., at the Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium.

A native of Heidelberg, Miss., Thomas earned his 20th year as MEAC Commissioner back in September. During his two decades of service, the conference has remained financially stable, strengthened institutional compliance, and improved student-athlete graduation rates. He’s gained distinction as one of the leasing collegiate administrators in America.

In a progressive move, Thomas inked a deal with GYO Score to create the conference’s esports community. He also executed his goal of purchasing the conference’s first office complex, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. The accomplishment marked the first time a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference owned its headquartered property without assessing MEAC institutions. Thomas also accomplished another first when led the MEAC to become the first NCAA Division I FCS conference to institute instant replay during its televised regular-season football games.

Thomas’ mission to increase the conference’s corporate resources led to multi-year partnerships with Cricket Wireless, Russell Athletic Corporation, Coca-Cola, State Farm Insurance, Nike, Wells Fargo, ESPN, Jostens, United States Marines, Home Depot, Geico, Colgate Palmolive, Delta Airlines and the National Football League (NFL). Commissioner Thomas was instrumental in forging a partnership with the NFL to improve officiating and provide access to MEAC officials to advance to the next level. In May 2016, Commissioner Thomas also helped broker an off-the-field partnership between the NFL and the MEAC to boost opportunities for non-playing careers in professional football.

In 2017, the MEAC partnered with Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG), entering into a multi-year agreement in an effort to increase the conference’s corporate partnerships and branding. The relationship focuses on marketing and sponsorship rights, as well as helping to develop more national strategies across all avenues to assist with generating revenue for the conference and MEAC institutions.

Thomas was a four-year letterman in football and track and field in high school, and at the age of 16, he embarked upon a collegiate career that is still in the SWAC’s record books. In 1973, he made history as the first and only offensive lineman to be named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, beating out JSU’s Walter Payton for the honor. He finished his collegiate career as a three-year letterman at Alcorn State, a two-tome Pittsburgh Courier First Team All-American (1972-73), First Team Black Mutual Sports Network All-American (1973), and the Outstanding College Athlete of American (1974).

Thomas coached and played under the legendary coach Marino “The Godfather” Casem. During his playing and coaching tenure at Alcorn State, the Braves won SWAC football championships in 1970 as a player and 1976, 1979, and 1984 as an assistant coach.

Thomas was inducted into Hampton University’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Class in 2009. He has also been enshrined into the Alcorn State University (Miss.) Hall of Fame (2010), the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame (2003), and the Black College Football Hall of Fame (2020).

Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University. He later earned his master’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and his doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

An alumna of CSU, National Leader in the Education Community and, Passion for Equity in Education, Makes Jackson a Natural to Address the Fall 2021 Graduates

Dr. Janice K. Jackson, CEO of HOPE Chicago.

CHICAGO, ILDr. Janice K. Jackson will deliver Chicago State University‘s (CSU) 386th Commencement address on Dec. 16, 2021. The ceremony at the Emil & Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center is the university’s first in-person ceremony since 2019 and its return to in-person classes.

Jackson, a CSU alumna and the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, was recently tapped as CEO of a newly formed nonprofit named HOPE Chicago. Launched in September 2021, HOPE Chicago, designed as a two-generation scholarship organization, will focus on the elimination of educational and economic equity barriers by guaranteeing debt-free college and wraparound support services to HOPE Scholars and their parents. The organization will pay the full cost of college for Scholars who are Chicago Public School graduates in need and offer the same support to a parent or guardian who desires to commence post-secondary programming. Seven CSU students were selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the program. HOPE Chicago will also provide counseling mentoring, and career guidance to high school students.

“As an alumna of Chicago State University, we are thrilled to have Dr. Jackson address this year’s graduates,” said President Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq. “She is a renowned education leader and visionary with a personal passion for transforming lives through education.”

Dr. Jackson, holds a B.A. in secondary education and an M.A. in history from CSU. Jackson also holds an M.A. in leadership and administration and a Ph.D. in education policy studies and urban school leadership. She began her 22-year career with CPS as a social studies teacher and debate team coach at South Shore High School. She served as a high school principal, District Network Chief, and Chief Education Officer in 2017, she was appointed CEO of CPS. She was the first CSU alumna to serve in the position.

About Chicago State University
Chicago State University (CSU), founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus.

###

Bluefield State College President Robin Capehart

BLUEFIELD, WV – Two years after a candid discussion with Bluefield State College employees about the school’s formidable financial challenges, BSC President Robin Capehart detailed the marked improvement that has occurred since that time.

During a November 19, 2021 address to an in-person audience in the Hebert Gallery and to a virtual audience online, the BSC President recalled, “When the November 2019 meeting took place, many believed the purpose was to announce massive layoffs or, even, the closing of the school.” Citing a 40% decline enrollment over eight years (2011-2019), Capehart said the College’s cumulative financial index, or CFI, (a measure of the institution’s financial stress) was the wrong among all public colleges in West Virginia.

“In 2019, we told the campus community that we still had to face the reality that, in the highly competitive higher education marketplace, closing colleges had become a regular occurrence,” he continued. “But then, we reassured the campus that we had no intention of closing Bluefield State, but not just to survive, but to thrive. Tough decisions would have to be made that were consistent with sound business principles and a model for growth.”

“Since that time, we’ve done some things that we heard could not be done,” Capehart added, citing achievements that included establishing campus housing for the first time in 50+ years and launching 13 new sports (including the return of football for the first time since 1981). Additionally, Bluefield State’s financial condition has improved so markedly that BSC’s CFI now ranks second-highest among all state public colleges in West Virginia.

“We are the fastest growing college in West Virginia and, at least, one of the fastest growing Historically Black Colleges in the country,” the BSC President stated. The institution’s Fall 2021 headcount enrollment increase by 9.3%. An aggressive marketing program and the additions of housing and new athletics programs have contributed to a 244% increase in the number of out-of-state students attending Bluefield State, he observed. The number of states from which BSC attracted students rose from seven (Fall 2020) to 32 (Fall 2021).

“We still have much more work to do, and were looking forward to completing our strategic plan that will provide us a roadmap for the next few years,” President Capehart summarized. “But let’s pause for a moment just to be thankful for the blessings we’ve received over the past two years, and for me to offer – on behalf of our Board of Governors – a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated staff and faculty at Bluefield State University for all their efforts in making this renaissance a reality.”

About Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College, a historically black institution, is to prepare students for diverse professions, informed citizenship, community involvement, and public service in an ever-changing global society by providing an affordable, accessible opportunity for public higher education through certificate, associate, bachelor, and master degree programs. For more information, visit www.bluefieldstate.edu.

###

FAIRFIELD, Ala. – Miles College will subsidize $3.9 million of federal student loans for a full-time students enrolled in the Spring 2022 academic semester with funds received from the Higher Education Emergency Fund (HEERF).

Instead of offering student direct federal loans, the College will alleviate some of the financial burdens of repaying students loans post-graduation by providing funding to minimize the number of students loans for its students.

“Our students have worked very hard to continue to thrive in a culture that many of us have not had to endure while being in college,” said Bobbie Knight, Miles College President. “We will continue to deploy as many resources as possible to support our students and ensure their success during and after their time at Miles College.”

The investment in Miles College reinforces the College’s commitment earlier this year when the College allocated funding to clear over $2.1 million in outstanding student balances.

“We understand how student loans are disproportionately impacting our students, and this is our first step in addressing the student loan crisis that many of our students face,” said Michael Johnson, Miles College Vice President of Enrollment Management. “Eliminating student loans for our students will help narrow the wealth gap and have a long-term impact on our students’ futures.”

The decision is the College’s first step to support their students navigating the student loan debt crisis. College officials are exploring opportunities to sustain these efforts with corporate and community partners.

About Miles College
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degrees, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

###