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Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of the HBCU Times Magazine! Every measure of success begins with a vision and a mission. The vision that we have for the HBCU Times magazine is to become the premiere source of positive stories related to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). The mission of the HBCU Times is to provide information about HBCU’s that is positive, informative, honest, and transformational. We seek, through both digital and print mediums, to provide the world with an abundance of positive success stories of the illustrious HBCU’s, as well as highlight and ultimately celebrate Black Excellence, regardless of institutional affiliation. The premiere edition of the HBCU Times is filled with a wealth of information about our beloved Universities. The issue includes detailed interviews and features from prominent HBCU leaders, alumni, and supporters. We had the immense pleasure of scoring exclusive interviews from HBCU visionaries such as Dr. Ivory Toldson, Howard University Professor and former Director of the White House HBCU Initiative. We also had the distinguished honor of interviewing Dr. Henry Tisdale, President of Claflin University. His interview highlights how Claflin University’s most recent capital campaign was able to raise $105,000,00. Upholding the versatility of our magazine, this issue includes the incredible story on the 2017 Black College Football Hall of Fame class that was headlined by Robert Porche, as well as showcases the success of various HBCU alumni. Additionally, as a part of our advocacy efforts, this issue contains a very timely essay on the importance of fighting for HBCU’s by Dr. Marybeth Gasman, Director of the Minority Serving Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. This long-awaited first issue, filled with amazing content, is sure to interest readers from all over. The HBCU Times is in the business of illustrating the abundance of positive HBCU stories and sensationalizing the success of HBCU’s. Sincerely,

Dr. David Staten HBCU Times 4 | Fall 2017 Issue


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Alumni Spotlight Ebony Hillsman



in higher education


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Editor and Co-CEO Dr. David Staten Co-CEO Dr. Bridget Hollis Staten Art Director Mia Salley Graphic Designers Megan D’Angelo Kavin Campbell Associate Editors Dr. Regina Bush Amori Washington Editorial Consultants Willease N. Williams Shana Robinson Contributing Writers Katrina Moses Amori Washington Dr.Ahmad Washington Dr. Marybeth Gasman Rory Sharock Ashley Elliot Ebony Hillsman Publisher Georgetown Times HBCU Times Inc, LLC FOLLOW US ON @HBCU Times |

Creative Consultants Katrina Moses G.Kenneth Gary Ebony Hillsman Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Von Judge Dr. Demarcus Bush Dr. Cory Phillips Dr. Carlton Watson Contributing Photographers DVI Photography G.Kenneth Photography Shane Michael Photography Paul Biagui Photography Juanita Franklin-McGowan State of Georgia Brittney Crystal Photography Dr. Ivory Toldson University of Louisville Diego’s Photography Natrawn Maxwell University of South Carolina Korey Silas Logo Designer Lionel T. Angevine

HBCU Times inspired by Ethel Staten and Jordan Staten  HBCU Times 7 | Fall 2017 Issue


mbree Stancil, an accountant at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, is gung-ho for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), especially her alma mater, South Carolina’s only public historically black college, South Carolina State University. As a graduate of the class of 1997, Ambree successfully earned her Bachelor of Science in accounting and passionately asserts that HBCUlove permeates through her veins. Throughout her professional career, Ambree has managed multimillion dollar accounts with the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., the Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. She has taken on difficult tasks such as analyzing financial data, implementing process changes, coordinating and submitting internal reporting, and supervising and training administrative assistants in preliminary accounting processes. She attributes all of her success to God, the support of her family, and undeniably, her unique HBCU education. Beyond her love for these transformative institutions, most of Ambree’s family, including her mother, brother and daughter, share the same enthusiasm for HBCUs as graduates and a current attendee. Ambree’s passion for education specifically HBCUs - runs deep in her family roots, beginning with her grandfather. HBCU Times 8 | Fall 2017 Issue

Unfortunately, her maternal grandfather, Reverend Walter Allen Jr., did not attend school beyond the sixth grade. However, he understood the value of an education. Driven by his inability to pursue a full education, Reverend Allen instilled strong academic values in his four children, including Ambree’s mother, Dianne Stancil, who successfully graduated from Benedict College. These values carried on to his five grandchildren, including Ambree and her wellaccomplished brother, Cecil Stancil, Jr. As a 2000 graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and a 2004 graduate of Meharry Medical College, Cecil is truly HBCU made. As a successful oral surgeon, Cecil undoubtedly exhibits the greatness that HBCUs produce. Since completing training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Meharry Medical College, Cecil has practiced medicine all over the state of Georgia. He maintains a thriving practice in Smyrna, Georgia, with special interests in dental implants, wisdom tooth extractions and bone grafting. Along with his professional achievements, Cecil serves as a current member of prestigious organizations such as the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral &amp Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the National Dental Association. Continuing the legacy, Reverend Allen’s oldest great grandchild - Ambree’s daughter, Bria Griffin - just graduated from Howard University in May of 2017 with a degree in Business Management and plans to pursue a career in sports management. Summing up the importance of education to the Stancil family, Ambree states, “We know that it is important for us to graduate from college because it is most important to him [Reverend Allen]. My grandfather [Reverend Allen] believes that education is the key to open all doors.


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QA Ambree: My mom and all of her siblings graduated from Benedict. I saw the value in it. I visited Spelman in Atlanta, but SC State was a great school for me and it was close to home. SC State’s business school was tailored to fit my career path at the time. Dianne: I went to a high school in New Jersey that was predominantly white. I was in a program that prepared us for college. I came to South Carolina every summer for vacation and applied to Morris College and Benedict. I wanted to go to an HBCU to be around others like me. Besides, black history was taught to me by parents. I learned more about black history at Benedict. Bria: I took several college tours in high school. Howard University was always on my list along with four other HBCUs and one predominantly white institution. I took a tour of Howard, and I fell in love with the Howard University culture. The atmosphere was one big family. Howard is one BIG family- it’s not a party school. For me, in the school of business during the freshman year of college, they help you build a relationship with Fortune 500 companies. Cecil: Xavier University is known for producing great African-American doctors. I knew that I wanted that for myself and Meharry continued that for me.

Ambree: I am an accountant. I was a cheerleader in college, but I knew it was not something I could do forever. I received an accounting degree. I wanted to work in sports, but didn’t know how. One of my mentors referred me to an accounting position for the Atlanta Braves. I have worked for two sports teams prior to my current position at Mercedes-Benz stadium. Dianne: I have a degree in education. I am retired and loving it! I was a seventh grade teacher in New Jersey, I then went on to become a reading specialist, and then I received my master’s degree in education. From there, I became a first and third grade teacher in Camden, South Carolina. Bria: I have not obtained my degree yet, but my dream job is to be a general manager for an NBA sports team. Cecil: I am the Principal oral surgeon and founder of Smyrna Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Smyrna, Georgia. Maxillofacial involves head and neck surgery on individuals, removal of wisdom teeth, surgery on head and neck trauma and cancer - cosmetics as well. I went to dental school for four years; I did four years of surgery residency after I graduated from Xavier. I graduated from Meharry Medical College another HBCU - in 2004, and completed my residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 2008 also at Meharry.

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Ambree: South Carolina State University provided such a close knit atmosphere which resulted in an awesome family environment. You really feel like a family there. We had forty students to one professor, which was great for one-on-one interaction with the professors. I worked in the Dean’s Office of Accounting and gained experience. Accounting is a learned process. Because of the concepts learned and the experience I gained, I was prepared. Dianne: I always wanted to be a teacher. At my HBCU, I learned how to discipline students, create lesson plans. They set you up for employment, a great self-esteem like the other races, and my professors never let us think we were less prepared than students from other colleges. After I graduated from there, I moved back to New Jersey and landed my first teaching job. I had a seventh grade class that had already had two teachers. Let me tell you, those kids did not scare me. I did not try to be their friend. Even though they were in the seventh grade, I talked to them about their dreams and desires. I would receive books from different colleges - like catalogs - and we discussed higher learning. Bria: At Howard, I feel as though we are taught to never take “no” for an answer. I learned to keep pushing. When you want to plan something on campus or in the community, you may get shut down initially, but keep going. Cecil: Xavier prepared me for what to expect in dental school. Meharry prepared us for working because they taught us we’re not inferior to anyone else. They were hard on us and we had to develop a lot discipline while there. We know just as much - if not more - than students at other colleges.

Ambree: Recruitment efforts need to be increased. Funding actually aides that. A lot of HBCUs depend on the high school seniors locally. It will help if HBCUs focused some efforts beyond state lines to increase enrollment. Without college tours sponsored by churches, sororities and fraternities, many students are not aware of the array of HBCU options. Dianne: We do not get the same financing as other universities. If you notice, many of our black men often go to other schools because they are enticed with more money to play a sport for them. HBCU’s will not entice them with money because they do not have the finances. HBCUs are struggling and rely on the alumni. The government then tries to match what the alumni provide. We need to go to the Department of Education and discuss how to secure more finances for HBCU’s. Stancil and her family concluded by saying they know there is a myth that HBCUs do not produce high caliber professionals. That is not the truth, “You can leave that HBCU campus and conquer the world.”

Update | Since the Interview, Bria Griffin has graduated from Howard University and is now attending Georgetown University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Industry Management with a concentration in Business, Operations, and Management.

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Katrina Moses

A native of Summerville, SC, Katrina Moses has always had a love for writing and reading. When she was young, her love for journalism and writing stemmed from 90s sitcoms like “Living Single” and “Moesha.” Moses is a 2012 graduate of Ashley Ridge High School. She attended Francis Marion University in Florence, SC where she received her Bachelor’s of Mass Communication - on her track to Broadcast. Moses worked at the Camden Chronicle-Independent in Florence, SC as a government reporter. She currently works at the Morning News in Florence, SC.

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here are 105 HBCUs in the United States, each of which are diverse in their makeup, approaches, and educational missions. At their core, HBCUs are dedicated to uplifting African Americans, even during times when merely educating this group was and continues to be a fierce act of justice. While many other colleges and universities have ignored the needs of African Americans - especially those who hail from low-income households or are underprepared by our K-12 system of education - HBCUs have been doing the lion’s share of the work with fewer resources. Xavier University of Louisiana and Howard University of Washington, D.C. are examples of HBCUs which are essential to the production of future Black doctors. With their wrap-around support services, handson and highly dedicated faculty, and intense science curricula, these institutions send more African Americans to medical school than universities five times their size with considerably more resources. Between these two HBCUs alone, 205 African Americans were sent to medical school in 2016. Several of the larger research institutions can only boast about sending 30 African American students to medical school per year. Based on these statistics, one would wonder why more institutions aren’t traveling to these HBCUs and asking them how they achieve record success or why aren’t we as a nation investing more money into these institutions. Of the top 15 institutions across the nation which are leading in the production of Blacks in physics, all but two are HBCUs. Dillard University, a small historically Black liberal arts college in New Orleans, leads the pack. Much of the success in physics at Dillard can be HBCU Times 14 | Fall 2017 Issue

attributed to one man - Abdalla Darwish - a legendary professor who pushes his students hard and provides them with opportunities which are comparable to that of any Ivy League research program - but without the same level of financial resources. Along with his faculty colleagues, Professor Darwish trains more Black women in physics than anyone in the nation. Given the shortage of Blacks in physics, it is a mystery as to why the major research institutions aren’t speaking to Dillard University about its success rate. One could only imagine what Dillard and other HBCUs could do if properly funded. As a whole, HBCUs lead the country in the production of African American graduates across a myriad of disciplines. Without the contributions of HBCUs, there would be a dearth of Black professionals. Colleges and universities across the country would benefit from becoming more familiar with the work of HBCUs. As a nation, we would all benefit from obtaining a better understanding of the value of HBCUs and supporting them. In addition to strength in the curricula, HBCUs have taken the lead in advancing civil rights at a dire time in our nation’s history by building on their rich legacy of promoting issues such as voting rights and economic equity. One of the shining examples among HBCUs is Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. Students, faculty, and the institution’s president - Michael J. Sorrell -have taken on numerous causes, including food deserts, hunger, poverty, and voting rights.

For years, Paul Quinn has unapologetically stood up for the rights of students and those living in the surrounding communities. With that being said, it is of particular interest as to how often college or universities—not just HBCUs—fight for civil rights and community health. Although most colleges are civically engaged, it is questionable as to whether or not they are working hand-in-hand with local communities to create actual change. Likewise, Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland has been at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement and its many manifestations. President David Wilson posted “Morgan State University: Where Black Lives Have Always Mattered” on the school’s entrance billboard, thus letting everyone know where he stands on issues of racial justice. Most notably, HBCUs experienced an upswing in enrollment over the past three years—most likely due to the lack of safety and inclusion that African Americans are feeling at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). In today’s cultural climate, one would wonder whether or not any PWIs would post a Black Lives Matter sign on their campus.

Morgan State University: Where Black Lives Have Always Mattered -president david wilson

We need more college and university presidents supporting activism of all types and speaking out against injustice. Unfortunately, when surveyed, over 85% of college and university presidents don’t think race is an issue on their campus. When presidents who speak up and encourage activism are not the norm, it is reasonably evident that our country’s values are in serious jeopardy. Despite the innovative approaches and bravery of some HBCU leaders, there are threats to the livelihood and existence of HBCUs. It is crucial to the future of our nation and to our commitment to equity that we invest more fully in HBCUs at the state and federal level as well as through corporate, foundation, and individual support. HBCUs need an investment in their infrastructure in areas such as fundraising and technology to ensure that they are more self-sufficient and sustainable. HBCUs need more individuals of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to donate toward institutional aid for scholarships to ensure that hard working students don’t acquire unnecessary debt. HBCUs need more corporations to express a real commitment to diversifying the workforce, providing equity of opportunity and looking to HBCU graduates as a valuable source of labor. HBCUs have single-handedly built our African American middle class. Without HBCUs, we are at risk of failing to tap into the vast potential that African Americans can offer as productive and talented individuals—a potential that not only benefits African American communities but the entire nation. It is by standing on the shoulders of giants that our nation will progress, and HBCUs are one giant that we should not let fall. HBCU Times 15 | Fall 2017 Issue

Marybeth Gasman

Marybeth Gasman is the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise include the history of American higher education, Minority Serving Institutions (with an emphasis on Historically Black Colleges and Universities), racism and diversity, fundraising and philanthropy, and higher education leadership. Marybeth is the founding director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), which works to amplify the contributions, strengthen, and support MSIs and those scholars interested in them. She holds secondary appointments in history, Africana Studies, and the School of Social Policy and Practice. Marybeth is the author or editor of 23 books, including Educating a Diverse Nation (Harvard University Press, 2015 with Clif Conrad), Envisioning Black Colleges (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), and Academics Going Public (Routledge Press, 2016). She has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles, scholarly essays, and book chapters. Marybeth has penned 350 opinion articles for the nation’s newspapers and magazines and is ranked by Education Week as one of the most influential education scholars. She has raised $22 million in grant funding to support her research and that of her students, mentees, and MSI partners. Marybeth serves on the board of trustees of The College Board as well as Paul Quinn College, a small, urban, historically Black College in Dallas, Texas. She considers her proudest accomplishment to be receiving the University of Pennsylvania’s Provost Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring, serving as the dissertation chair for nearly 70 doctoral students since 2003.

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ATLANTA – Black college football has a storied past of pride and excellence. Recently, a new chapter was added to the history book with the enshrinement of seven gridiron greats in the Black College Football Hall of Fame. The Who’s Who list in the Class of 2017 includes Parnell “Paydirt” Dickinson (Mississippi Valley State), Harold “Sunny” Jackson (Jackson State), Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (Grambling State), Isiah “Butch” Robertson (Southern), Billy Joe (head coach – Central State, Miles, Florida A&M, Cheyney) and Robert Porcher (Tennessee State, South Carolina State). These gridiron greats celebrated this prestigious honor at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Generally, the inductees in the Black College Football Hall of Fame features an older crop of players. However, Porcher’s enshrinement broke this mold. The 47-year-old former college and NFL star ranks as one of the youngest members of this upper echelon of HBCU football superstars. Porcher now finds himself reunited with his coach at South Carolina State Willie Jefferies - in the brotherhood of the Black College Football Hall of Fame. “This is so exciting and I am so humbled. This means a lot to me. I’ve always tried to make him [Jefferies] proud because he’s like a father to me. I’m honored to be in this Hall with guys like coach Jeffries, Deacon Jones, Claude Humphrey and Ed “Too Tall” Jones – guys that I idolized,” said Porcher. From 1992-2003, Porcher habitually bullied offensive linemen, running backs and quarterbacks as a member of the Detroit Lions. He was a three-time All-Pro player and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl. However, before he became a household name alongside teammate Barry Sanders throughout the Detroit metro area, he was a can’tmiss stud, first at Tennessee State and then at South Carolina State University.

“Playing at a Historically Black College was a great experience,” said Porcher. “It’s a family atmosphere, the feeling of having instructors, coaches and teachers who genuinely care about where you are in life. When I go back to campus [South Carolina State], I still go by and see certain professors because they took a genuine interest in me. That is the difference for me about an HBCU.” Porcher was a late bloomer of sorts, playing only one year of high school football in rural Wando, S.C. Upon graduation, he enrolled at Tennessee State in Nashville, hoping to follow in the footsteps of legendary Tiger defensive linemen such as Claude Humphrey, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Richard Dent. All three are also members of the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Porcher sat out his first season as a redshirt freshman. When camp opened during his sophomore term, he made an immediate impact with the team, starting at defensive end by the second game. However, his stint with the Tigers was short-lived. Instability within the program and coaching changes led him to transfer to South Carolina State. His decision to switch schools proved to be one of many great calls during an illustrious college and pro football career.

From there, the NFL came calling, and Porcher was selected as the 26th pick in the first round of the 1992 draft. This selection made him the highest drafted player in South Carolina State history. Throughout his career, Porcher was a marquee figure throughout Detroit – in and out of uniform. The Detroit Lions Man of the Year Award is named in his honor and he still has strong ties to the community. Along with the Hall of Famers, North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen won the Deacon Jones Trophy symbolizing the Player of the Year. Joining Cohen with individual honors, Grambling State quarterback DeVante Kincade (Offensive Player of the Year), South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard (Defensive Player of the Year) and Broderick Fobbs (Coach of the Year) for leading Grambling State to a SWAC title and a win over North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl to clinch the HBCU national championship.

The pinnacle of his play in a Bulldogs uniform took place in 1991. South Carolina State finished 7-4, which was the school’s best mark during his time on campus. Porcher also achieved individual success after being named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Division I-AA Defensive Player of the Year. His eye-popping stats during the 1991 campaign included 88 tackles - 24 for a loss - and a league-high 15 sacks. These numbers also earned him AllAmerican honors.

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Rory Sharrock Married 2 the Game, presented by Sharrock Media Group, is a sports and entertainment podcast featuring a 20-year veteran sportswriter discussing news/ events with a wife who is a casual fan. Check us out at: for lively banter, insightful interviews and more. @married2game1 Rory Sharrock is a proud graduate of Johnson C. Smith University. He serves as owner/CEO of Sharrock Media Group. He is a 20-year veteran sportswriter who has covered pro, college and high school athletic events for a variety of publications nationwide. He and his wife, Lequita, co-host a weekly sports/entertainment podcast called Married 2 the Game. He is a native of Ossining, N.Y. and currently resides in Douglasville, Ga.

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Students celebrate as President Barack Obama speaks at the commencement ceremony at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, May 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“I love my HBCU” is a unfamiliar phrase emphatically stated by millions of current college students and graduates across the nation. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have always and will forever hold an irreplaceable and incomparable position in the community of higher education institutions. These diverse institutions are like no other, and stand alone in their extraordinary nature and thirst for educational advancement. HBCUs have crafted and produced countless individuals who have gone on to achieve great success and many accomplishments in society. Incredible singers such as Yolanda Adams, Toni Braxton, and Lionel Richie are HBCU graduates and demonstrate the artistic nature of these institutions. Award winning writers, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are also products of HBCUs along with activist, David Banner and iconic figures, Oprah Winfrey and Reverend Jesse Jackson. Although sometimes stig matized or trivialized, the ambition of HBUCs should nevergo unnoticed. Beyond the sounds of the soulful marching band, the outside social gatherings accompanied by the latest music, the never-ending spades tournaments, and the occasional delicious soul food cuisine in the dining hall, the culture of HBCUs runs deep. These institutions provide a unique experience like no other college or university. They provide a caring community, similar to that of a family, filled with vibrancy, excitement, and pride. HBCUs are rich in history and tradition, and generate a sense of belonging for whoever steps onto the campus.

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The unique history of HBCUs cannot be overlooked when discussing the necessity of their existence and overall purpose. Innovative persons took part in the effort to eliminate the stigma upon formerly enslaved Black individuals, overcome oppression and combat discrimination through formal education. According to Samara Freemark, within her article, “The History of HBCUs in America” for American RadioWorks, she explains,

After the Civil War, African American education blossomed; black ministers and white philanthropists established schools all across the South to educate freed slaves.

Demonstrating the posterity of the effort to educate African Americans, Freemark continues, “These schools, more than 100 of which are still open today, became known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs.” The importance of education was well understood, but the necessity of it was what transformed into a movement for the advocacy for the education of blacks. With extremely humble beginnings, most HBCUs started in church basements, old school houses, and even the homes of community leaders. According to the U.S. Department of Education, The Institute for Colored Youth, the first higher education institution for blacks, was founded in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, in 1837. It was then followed by Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania (1854), and Wilberforce University, in Ohio (1856). Each institution was established with the central goal to serve the educational needs of Black Americans. They were making a distinct effort to provide opportunity for Blacks who were generally denied admission to Primarily White Institutions (PWIs). The noteworthy history upon which HBCUs thrive is more than responsible for their ability to thrive in today’s society. Since the early 20th century, HBCUs are credited with training the top black students to become doctors, lawyers, teachers as well as a wide array of other professionals. These distinctive and mission driven

colleges and universities have developed top notch curricula, professional programs and organizations. HBCU have produced notable alumni have made major contributions towards the betterment of the nation and the world through numerous service efforts. Although HBCUs are unfortunately and frequently cast with misperception and negative representation, including dramatized stories of crime, violence, and oversexualization, these elite institutions have continued to shatter stereotypes and prove their capability for success. HBCUs have weathered nearly every storm, fought nearly every battle and have risen like a phoenix from the ashes, stronger than ever. The secret to the success of HBCUs lie in the deep rooted values instilled in each institution upon its creation. They were established with a specific mission to provide endless opportunities and quality education to young people who were not originally granted the right. They each made a promise to foster students and assist them in their journey to a prosperous career and ultimately a fruitful life. HBCUs are and will continue to be celebrations of Black culture, Black lives and the advancement of Black people. They began as a welcoming place of higher learning for those who were denied traditional education and have transformed into the top choice for individuals of different ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses.

These institutions bravely separate from Eurocentric perspectives and approaches to education and expand the minds of college students. They challenge each being who steps in the classroom to think critically and creatively, and find their voice. HBCUs provide endless opportunities, emphasizing the importance of communication through all mediums which include, networking events, hosting campus career fairs, hosting notable speakers, developing community outreach programs, and going to extraordinary lengths to produce educated, awakened as well as upstanding members of our society. HBCUs are and will continue to be a home for many, and the future for those who wish to achieve

greatness! HBCU Times 23 | Fall 2017 Issue

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isionary by ASHLEY ELLIOTT

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Establishing the Vision

As the oldest of nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the state of South Carolina, Claflin University has seen many successes and challenges since its founding almost 150 years ago. Its foundation was not only built on faith, but with the idea of providing access to higher education for all students regardless of race, gender, religion or ethnic origin. The only entry requirement was the possession of good moral character and a conscientious desire to learn.

In comparison to being an undergraduate student many years prior, arriving on Claflin’s campus in June of 1994 as president was a different experience for Dr. Tisdale. He was familiar with the 100-year-old historic buildings which were deemed precious treasures of the University. Aside from what he could see physically, it was what he envisioned that was most inspiring. “I saw a pioneering University, one that had produced a long list of phenomenal leaders and a university that represented a great community resource,” he says. Additionally, he saw opportunities to recruit the best and brightest students, despite an enrollment of a little more than 1,000 students at the time. It was at that moment that his vision for the University was established. “My vision when I arrived was that Claflin University would be recognized as one of the premiere private liberal arts institutions in the Southeastern region of the United States. That it would be recognized as an institution of the highest quality that demonstrates its commitment to excellence in carrying out her mission by being and doing the best she could with what she had and by continuously striving for better.” This vision would be quickly realized and surpassed to even greater magnitudes.

Throughout Claflin’s existence, eight leaders have kept these guiding principles at the forefront while establishing their own unique visions and values. Those philosophies set Claflin on a path to reach greater heights with the achievement of academic excellence at the helm. More significantly, within the last two decades, under the leadership of Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, the University has experienced record-breaking feats which have propelled it to a new level of recognition as one of the top premiere institutions of higher learning in the nation. Several key factors such as planning, preparation, perseverance and prayer reinforced a foundation of Christian faith. Moreover, the birth of Claflin’s transformation can be attributed to another vital component which is anchored by its current message and mission: Visionary Leadership.

“My vision when I arrived was that Claflin University would be recognized as one of the premiere private liberal arts institutions in the Southeastern region of the United States.” -dr. henry n. tisdale HBCU Times 26 | Fall 2017 Issue

Experiencing the Vision Some would describe Claflin as a small university nestled in the heart of the small town of Orangeburg, South Carolina. However, Claflin’s accomplishments are especially noteworthy as evidenced by the recognition it has received from top media outlets and educational establishments. U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked Claflin as one of “America’s Best Colleges” for close to two decades. In the 2016 edition, Claflin was again ranked as a top national liberal arts college and ranked #9 nationally amongst HBCU’s. In August of 2008, listed Claflin as the top HBCU in the country and ranked the institution in the top four percent nationally in their first-ever rankings of “America’s Best Colleges.” Claflin continues to be ranked as one of the top colleges in the United States as evidenced by student satisfaction, post-graduate success, graduate rate, and academic success. In 2013, Claflin was named “University of the Year” during the National Urban League’s 44th annual Black Executive Exchange Program Leadership Conference. The very next year, in Washington Monthly’s “Best Liberal Arts College’ edition, Claflin was recognized as the number one-ranked liberal arts colleges in South Carolina and the top HBCU in the nation. Another historic moment for the University was exceeding its “Imagine the Possibilities Capital Campaign” goal of raising $105 million, the largest in the history of the University. The success of this campaign allowed the University to increase funding for endowed scholarships, build a molecular science research center, a chapel, and integrate smart technology in all university classrooms. The success of this initiative brought yet another record-breaking accomplishment to the university by being recognized for increasing alumni contributions by 50% and being named the #1 HBCU in annual alumni contributions by US News and World Report. This year, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) awarded the University $3.3 million to establish a career pathways initiative. In partnership with Benedict and Voorhees College, this initiative is designed to establish and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates. Ultimately, the goal is to assist students in finding a greater number of successful careers once they graduate from the university. Strategies include introducing first year students to guided career pathways through career assessments and exploration as well as heightening curriculum enhancement. The establishment of an experiential learning component is also expected to increase internships, co-ops, undergraduate research, study

“We’ve had a phenomenal transformation in almost every area of the University, but the one I’m most proud of is building a strong regional and national academic reputation at the University and in being able to prepare graduates for quality job placement and producing top graduate students,” notes Tisdale. “In building this reputation, we were able to do so because of our world class faculty. We’ve been able to increase research for our faculty and students as well.”

Continuing the Vision Tisdale’s leadership has not only impacted the Claflin community in extraordinary ways, but the Orangeburg community as well. In the upcoming months, the University family and citizens of Orangeburg will begin to see the manifestation of yet another dream being realized. Tisdale proclaimed that “Our new gateway to the community will be our Health and Wellness Center. This will include a 35,000 sq. ft. expansion of our current Jones T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Building. The facility will promote healthy cooking and eating and will include kitchen demonstrations, seminars on nutrition, research labs in the area of health for faculty, and expanded fitness areas of all types for the community, including an auxillary gymnasium with an indoor walking track. On the exterior, there will also be designated space for a farmer’s market. We’re beginning construction in a couple of days and we are expecting to have that completed within one year.” Visionary leadership requires strategic yet forward thinking. It is designed to initiate growth, innovation and the ability to lead effectively. Continuous action is required to ensure visions are carried out so that those impacted will greatly benefit. With that in mind, President Tisdale and his team have already set their sites on implementing the University’s newly adopted strategic plan - Claflin LEADS: A Shared Vision for the 21st Century. The plan includes components of Leadership Development, Experiential Learning, Academic Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Success. President Tisdale explains the fundamentals of the strategic plan as follows: “Through this strategic plan - in the next five years - Claflin will increase enrollment from 2000 to 2500, will be known for developing visionary leaders with global perspectives, will continue to achieve academic excellence through its exceptional faculty, will implement strategies that lead to the development of innovative and new revenue streams and finally will continue to be an institution of access and success by enrolling a disproportionate number of low income, first generation and sub academically challenged students but will retain, graduate and will place these students in the workforce in unprecedented numbers.” HBCU Times 27 | Fall 2017 Issue

Ashley Elliott

Ashley Elliott is a Marketing and Public Relations professional who has spent more than 12 years developing Integrated Marketing Communications campaigns for three institutions of higher learning across the state of South Carolina. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Marketing and Information Technology for the University of South Carolina Career Center, as well as a University 101 instructor. Ashley is a member of Andrew Chapel Baptist Church in Orangeburg, S.C., where she has helped organize the Community Church Growth Conference for more than 10 years. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Northeastern Corridor of Orangeburg Community Development Commission and is a member of the American Marketing Association, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and South Carolina Women in Higher Education. A native of Orangeburg, S.C., Ashley earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Claflin University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Eastern Michigan University. She is a graduate of Leadership Orangeburg and is a Licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Columbia.

HBCU Times 28 | Fall 2017 Issue


Amori Washington

Amori Washington is a senior English major, Spanish minor attending Claflin University. She is a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College. Amori’s cumulative GPA is 3.99 and she serves as the President of the Alpha Iota Zeta Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society. Amori works as a peer consultant and writing fellow in the Claflin University Writing Center. She is a volunteer in the Intensive English Language Program, and a member of the Gamma Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. When Amori is not reading, writing, or tutoring, she enjoys dancing and creating choreography as a current member of Claflin University’s Pulse Dance Company. As a UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, she completes research within her field and presents at numerous conferences in hopes of contributing to the effort to diversify the academy as a college professor. HBCU Times 29 | Fall 2017 Issue

HBCU Times 30 | Fall 2017 Issue

HBCU Times 31 | Fall 2017 Issue


bony earned her Masters Degree in Business Communication and Project Management from Jones International University and Bachelors degree in Television Broadcast from Florida A&M University. She is currently pursuing her certification as a Project Management Professional. Ebony Hillsman is the CEO and Principal Consultant of The Creative Protocol, a digital content management company that specializes in finding and engaging customers’ Ideal Clients by grabbing the attention they deserve the FIRST time. Using her experience as a Peabody Award-winning Journalist, Ebony provides clarity and laser focus to develop the digital content strategy her clients require. Dedicated to change and growth, she is a champion of innovation, education, and client empowerment.

HBCU Times 32 | Fall 2017 Issue

Having built a professional profile in television broadcast, marketing communications and social media management - Ebony has utilized her skills to aggressively grow her business and also support several non-profit organizations. She cheerfully acknowledges her nickname of the “professional volunteer”, having served on a variety of boards that include the American Cancer Society, Sporty Girls, Inc., and the Atlanta Micro Fund. She is also the founder and currently serves as the Advisor of the Atlanta Chapter of the New Leaders Council, an entrepreneurial training organization.

HBCU Times 33 | Fall 2017 Issue

Hip Hop in higher education


HBCU Times 34 | Fall 2017 Issue

If you conduct a casual Google search of the phrase “hip-hop in higher education”, you will receive 992,000 results that offer some insight into the current status of hip-hop scholarship in the academy. Many of these results chronicle how hip-hop scholars actively contest ultraconservative sensibilities that lead college administrators at all levels to stereotypically perceive hip-hop culture as a scourge unfit for the academy and unworthy of serious intellectual engagement. As a result of these struggles, academics, public intellectuals, and hip-hop artists are occupying college and university classrooms with increasing regularity to participate in serious dialogues about hip-hop. Discussions include, among other things, the manner in which hip-hop captures the beauty and vitality of Black life, and how a critical analysis of hip-hop culture exposes this country’s propensity to exploit and dehumanize oppressed groups. For instance, Dr. Regina Bradley, Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University, teaches a course titled “OutKast and the Rise of the Hip Hop South” where students, as part of their final projects, identify and highlight salient messages pervading an album of their choosing. In sum, for students who rely on their hip-hop sensibilities to navigate the world, the prospect of matriculating at a college or university where hip-hop culture is centered pedagogically is certainly intriguing.

Perhaps nothing is more intriguing about the reality of hip-hop in the academy than the possibility for more intentional and consistent synergy between hip-hop scholarship and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). As spaces for dissenting viewpoints, hip-hop culture and HBCUs have been instrumental in articulating and mobilizing the demands of Black people who have been disenfranchised by intertwining systems of oppression. From a practical standpoint, an interdisciplinary model to hip-hop scholarship at HBCUs could integrate hip-hop content across academic disciplines to explore a litany of pressing social matters (i.e., equitable access to housing and employment) that are often prominently portrayed in hip-hop culture. Accommodating such a shift could entice hip-hop influenced, 21st-century students and hip-hop scholars from various disciplines to descend on HBCUs to become vanguards of a new movement, one that situates hip-hop culture at the center of theorizing solutions to problems that are imposed externally on Black communities through various institutional and systemic forces.

HBCU Times 35 | Fall 2017 Issue

Ahmad Washington

Ahmad Washington Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at The University of Louisville. He teaches in the School Counseling program where he works with pre-service school counseling students as they prepare to transition into the profession. Dr. Washington received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University Iowa. He is the co-editor of the recent book, “Black Male Student Success in 21st Century Urban Schools: School Counseling for Equity, Access and Achievement.� Dr. Washington has received various counseling related awards recognizing his work - including the First Annual Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development Asa Hilliard Scholarship Award (2009). His primary research interests are social justice counseling and hip-hop school counseling. In particular, he is interested in exploring how, and under what circumstances, school counselors engage students in conversation about issues of social injustice through the multifacted lenses of hip-hop culture. Dr. Washington recently partnered with The Louisville Urban League to create a program for local African American high school students that examined forms of systemic and institutional oppression (i.e., mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, environmental racism) and how various members of the hip-hop community have used their respective platforms to resist these forms of exploitation and domination. Additionally, he is currently working with educators and administrators within Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to develop instructional resources to assist teachers and school counselors who want to learn how to integrate aspects of critical hip-hop pedagogy and critical hip-hop counseling into their everyday practice with secondary school students. When Ahmad is not working, he enjoys reading, playing music, practicing jiu jitsu and spending quality time with his friends and wife Dr. Marta N. Mack-Washington. HBCU Times 36 | Fall 2017 Issue

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HBCU Times 39 | Fall 2017 Issue


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HBCU Times  

The vision that we have for the HBCU Times magazine is to become the premiere source of positive stories related to Historically Black Coll...

HBCU Times  

The vision that we have for the HBCU Times magazine is to become the premiere source of positive stories related to Historically Black Coll...