Dr. M. Christopher Brown II, executive vice president and provost at Fisk University, and Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, vice president for institutional advancement at Langston University, recently spoke at a DDCE lecture series event about historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). They reminded us of the unique role HBCUs have played in the higher education landscape for more than 150 years. As President Obama observed when he signed an executive initiative in February to strengthen HBCUs, “They are the campuses where a people were educated, where a middle class was built, where a dream took hold. They are places where generations of African Americans have gained a sense of their heritage, their history and their place in the American story.”
Why should we at The University of Texas be interested in HBCUs? After all, the institutions are competitors in some ways. But we have a lot to learn from these generally smaller colleges—for one, they have long set an example for what constitutes equity. And as Dr. Smothers explained, these colleges convey a sense of caring to their students that they may never again experience. The HBCUs are able to instill strong confidence and pride in their students, too. And aren’t those characteristics among the greatest gifts we can give to students?
We hope you enjoy this issue of DDCE@UT and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving holiday.
With best wishes,
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
W.K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership
Professor of Law
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