HBCU Times Magazine Fall 2022 Issue

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We invite individuals who have earned a doctorate from a minority-serving institution (i.e., HBCU, Hispanic serving institution, Tribal college/university, AANAPIAI) or predominantly White institution (PWI) and current doctoral candidates (must graduate before beginning fellowship) at minority-serving institutions or PWIs interested in employment research to apply to participate in the post-doctoral fellowship. Minority-serving institution based faculty members who have earned doctorates are also eligible to apply (i.e., 80% research supplements through subcontract for such faculty in residence at their employing minority-serving institution are optional). We strongly encourage individuals with disabilities to apply. We are particularly interested in recruiting candidates who have a strong desire to obtain an academic faculty position or research position at a minority-serving institution upon completion of the fellowship program.

The ARRT Program works in concert with the LU-RRTC drawing upon the center’s extensive minority-serving institution research capacity building expertise, collaborative networks, resources, and interventions (e.g., methodology and grant writing web-based trainings, communities of practice, strategic planning, sponsored programs office and institutional review board technical assistance and consultation), offers courses, webinars, and implements peer mentoring as an innovative strategy to holistically address the Fellows’ research skill building needs.

• Present research findings at national and/or international rehabilitation related conferences

PROJECT OVERVIEW: The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Program at the Langston University (historically Black college/university [HBCU]) Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building represents a collaborative effort between the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston ([ICI] Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institution [AANAPISI]), North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University ([NCA&T] HBCU), South Carolina State University ([SCSU] HBCU), Jackson State University ([JSU] HBCU), and the Kessler Foundation. The Project implements a Peer-to-Peer Multiple Mentor Model to help post-doctoral Fellows navigate institutional context and cross-fertilize their independent research project and research grant proposal through exchanges with a primary mentor and a scientific panel of mentors comprised of content experts, multicultural specialists, methodologists, and statisticians.

• Peer-to-Peer multiple research mentorship opportunity with scientific panel mentors • Financial research agenda start-up package- i.e., study participant honorariums/fellow research travel



• Faculty Scholar Role & Function Balance Consultation (e.g., teaching/service/research balance) • Sponsored Programs Office Operations Consultation • Research Infrastructure Strategic Planning • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Operation Consultation • NIDILRR Research Proposal Development Mentorship • NIDILRR Research Project Management Consultation • Manuscript for Peer Reviewed Publication Development Mentorship • NIDILRR Request for Comment (RFC) or Request for Proposal (RFP) Interpretation Consultation • NIDILRR Expert Panel Application Development Consultation • Data Management and Analysis Software and Related Technology Support Consultation State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (SVRA) TA Areas- • SVRA Policy Consultation to Improve Outcomes for Persons from Traditionally Underserved Communities • SVRA Rehabilitation Practitioner Consultation or Training to Improve Outcomes for Persons from Traditionally Underserved Communities LU-RRTC PEER-TO-PEER MENTOR RESEARCH TEAM ACADEMY The LU-RRTC Peer-to-Peer Mentor Research Team Academy represents a collaborative effort between Langston University and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston (AANAPISI), South Carolina State University (HBCU), Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Jackson State University (HBCU), Delaware Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Cherokee Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Kessler Foundation, and Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The Academy mentors Fellows to conduct research that addresses the rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic backgrounds and communities. Ultimately, the program builds Fellows’ scholarly self-efficacy and research skills by providing them with state-of-the-science knowledge of scientifically valid measurement strategies and methodologies, and direct hands-on experience in the conduct of research and grant proposal development. CONTACT: If you have any questions regarding the (LU-RRTC), please contact Dr. Corey L. Moore, Principal Investigator at (405) 530-7531 or email: capacitybuildingrrtc@langston.edu.

The LU-RRTC serves as a national resource center for minority-serving institutions/minority entities seeking to develop their research infrastructure (RI), and to enhance their capacity to engage in disability and rehabilitation research. To this end, the RRTC initiates dissemination, training and technical assistance (TA) activities to develop strong RIs for the conduct of research, preparation, submission, and management of NIDILRR funded research grant projects. TA services are provided as a part of LU-RRTC interventions for research project participants and to minority entities/minority-serving institutions around the country. The quality, intensity, and duration of TA vary by system and the readiness of TA recipients. Institution Areas-

CONTACT: If you have any questions regarding the Langston University Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program (LU-ARRT), please contact Dr. Corey L. Moore, Principal Investigator/Training Director at (405) 530-7531 or email: capacitybuildingrrtc@langston.edu.

• Peer reviewed publications

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities

The MISSION of the Langston University RRTC is to empower minority-serving institutions/minority entities (e.g., historically Black colleges/universities [HBCUs], Hispanic-serving institutions [HSIs], Tribal colleges/universities [TCUs], and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institution (ANNAPISIs]) to improve their disability and rehabilitation research capacity and infrastructure by conducting a programmatic line of research examining experiences and outcomes of persons with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations and communities and capacity-building efforts.


Post-doctoral Opportunity: Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Program at the LU-RRTC on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities


PARTICIPATION INCENTIVES: • Salary and benefits package- Annual salary with full health benefits


CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . for rehabilitationinfrastructureAmericanTribaldisabilityethnictechnicalresearch,grantforTAvaryFunctionSponsoredStrategicResearchPublicationExpertPolicyConsultationorUnderserved ACADEMY represents Association(HBCU),aofunderservedprogramthemconductofplease ’s Supreme Solutions, Inc. (SSI) become one of the nation’s leading Professional Ser Supreme Solutions Supreme Solutions, Inc. (Headquarters) Supreme Solutions (Midwest Operatio ns) 6301 Little River Turnpike, Suite 200 8202 South Exchange Ave. Alexandria, Virginia 22312 Chicago, Il 60617 866 764 1733 773 530 7092 Point of Contact: Bret Jones Point of Contact: Valencia Jones bfj@supremesolutionsinc.com vmj@supremesolutionsinc.com www.supremesolutionsinc.com www.supremesolutionsinc.com Providing Program Management for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Path to Excellence and Innovation (PEI) Program Information Technology System EnergyAcquisitionEngineeringSupportServicesFinancialSupportServicesProgramManagementConsulting(Solar)Services • Established • 8(A) Certified • HUBZone Certified • NAICS • Federal Contract Vehicles

F all is here, and we’re feeling good! School is back in session, and the opportunities to learn within our communities have only expanded. HBCU campuses across the country are making major moves in response to the unpredictable happenings of today. From global political unrest, to violent acts of terrorism and the overturning of pertinent legislation, this world is being turned upside down daily. It is apparent now more than ever, the need for brave leaders with a mindset to save the world. Thankfully, HBCUs realize the necessity of what a quality education can do for a future leader and are up for the challenge. This issue we’re highlighting two powerhouses, who are redefining leadership and exemplifying that a woman in charge means business. First, we know and love her, and have watched her significantly advance the state of Georgia. Stacey Abrams has not slowed down a beat since her initial race for governor, and now her quest to win that spot and serve her state is more serious than ever. Having earned degrees from prestigious universities, such as Yale Law School, the Spelman alum shares how it was her HBCU that influenced her leadership. In the article, Abrams speaks to how her Spelman mentors validated her goals and taught her to dream big. She explains that a true leader keeps the people, every single Georgia resident, as top priority and shares her hopes to unify the politically divided state in order to create opportunities for all. Since stepping into the role as president of Bowie State University(BSU) in 2017, Dr. Aminta Breaux has taken the institution to new heights. In the feature article, Dr. Breaux gets candid about the university finally receiving money owed to them as a Maryland public university, and how this historic settlement will provide thousands of students with the education they deserve. Keeping up with the consistent changes of society, Dr. Breaux has placed a significant focus on entrepreneurship for BSU students; the Entrepreneurship Living & Learning Community specifically connects academic learning to the real world. Her creative leadership is eliminating the dated perception of choosing between a college education or a path towards entrepreneurship. She is actively creating spaces for students to explore various industries and foster their

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innovative minds which ultimately increases Bowie State’s competitiveness in today’s society. Continuing the entrepreneurial spirit within this issue, we also have an article on Fayetteville State University alum, Nicholas Perkins. After acquiring the popular restaurant chain, Fuddruckers, in 2020, Perkins became the first African American with 100% ownership of a national burger franchise.




With over 10 years of experience serving HBCUs, Perkins is eager to set the stage for future Black business leaders. He shares his vision to open Fuddruckers across HBCU campuses, starting with Benedict College. Perkins also reveals his goal to empower others and demonstrate various pathways to ownership for HBCU students. Now from big business to the White House, we have HBCU alumni holding positions of power in nearly every industry. Fortunately, Hampton University(HU) alum, Dietra Trent is leading the White House Initiative on HBCUs. In the article, Trent opens up about how her experience at HU helped develop her as a leader in society. With 20 years of experience, including previously serving as Secretary of Education for the state of Virginia, Trent is well-equipped to advocate for our institutions and is currently building upon active legislation, such as the HBCU Partners Act of 2020 to increase research and internship opportunities. Finally, we have the pleasure of honoring a true HBCU legend, one of the longest-tenured college or university presidents in the country. After 44 years of dedication to the beloved Hampton University, Dr. William Harvey led his final graduation ceremony this past May. The two-time HBCU alumnus started his career in higher education after earning his doctorate from Harvard University. As one of the youngest presidents in the country when he began his tenure, Dr. Harvey’s accomplishments truly speak to his remarkable leadership— some of which include major increases in student enrollment, the development of numerous academic programs, and the construction of 30 new buildings. You don’t want to miss Dr. Harvey honoring his time at HU and even spilling his plans postpresidency.

CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 7 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 What’s inside Dr. Dietra Trent, Leading the White House HBCU Initiative 10 From Claflin University toEssence Magazine 30 The Allison Administration Ushers in a New Era at Fayetteville State University Enhance Your Reading Experience with our 46 Elevating Women of Color Start Ups 50 Choosing Resilience: How one reengineeredman his life anddiscovered purpose 34 South RevolutionizingandInstitutesCarolina’sofInnovationInformation:SCHBCUs 42 3822 DR. AMINTA H. BREAUX BOWIE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT LEADING THE WAY IN INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP STACEY ABRAMS LEADER AND INNOVATOR WWW.HBCUTIMES.COM connect moments 18 DR. WILLIAMSKATARA KAYLA WILLIAMS 1253 Hampton University: THE HARVEY LEGACY Power Alumni Feature Power FeatureAlumni54 NICHOLAS PERKINS Purchases Fuddruckers Franchise

CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 9 credits CONTRIBUTING WRITERS PHOTOGRAPHERS connect with us INSPIRED BY: ETHEL STATEN AND JORDAN STATEN CREATIVE CONSULTANTS Editor and LogoAdvertisingDesignLayoutCo-CEOCo-CEOandEditorAssociateEditorsManagerPublisherDesignModels Dr. David Staten Dr. Bridget Hollis Staten Mia LaToyaOctaviaDr.AmoriSalleyWashingtonReginaBushRobinsonRansom HBCUHBCU_Timeshbcutimes_www.hbcutimes.comTimesDr. David Staten Post and Courier Mia PatriciaSalleyHampton Ericka Blount Danois Princess Gadson Keith KaylaDr.AmandaNicholasYolandaHarristonMcCutchenJacksonLoudinKataraA.WilliamsRobinson Bowie State University-Cover Stacey Abrams Campaign Terrell Maxwell Photography Morgan State University South Carolina Institute of Innovation Fayetteville State University White House HBCU Initiative Hampton AdditionalUniversityPhotosprovided by the authors and interviewees. Jordan Staten Dr. Algeania Freeman Dr. Bridget Hollis Staten Roderick Rogers Lyn R. Williams

There are already some foundations in place to ensure the success of HBCUs. Like the HBCU Partners Act, the 2020 initiative that was passed that requires all federal agencies to come up with plans to outline how they will increase opportunities for HBCUs – more internships and research opportunities, for example. Agencies also must show how they intend to help HBCUs to compete effectively for grants and contracts. “What I’ve been doing and delving into the last two months is figuring out these plans and working with agencies to federal government and their accountability to HBCUs,” she says. “I am in conversations weekly with the White House; I am working with them through the plans.”


Today, she’s a little over two months in as the first Black woman to lead the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and she wants to make sure that other students can afford to attend an HBCU by making sure that HBCUs have opportunities for federally sponsored programs.


make sure we are providing opportunities and making sure HBCUs are not disadvantaged in some way,” said TrentTrent.hasalso been utilizing Executive Order 12232 –originally created by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980 which sought “to identify, reduce and eliminate barriers which may have unfairly resulted in reduced participation in, and reduced benefits from federally sponsored Trentprograms.”saysthis version of the Executive Order under President Biden is different: “It really puts the onus on the BY ERICKA BLOUNT DANOIS There’s no question that Dr. Dietra Trent is the right person to lead the White House Initiative on HBCUs. She’s as decisive about HBCUs and their needs as she was as a high school student. She was so confident when applying to college that she chose only one school to attend. That school was Hampton University. “Not only did I go to an HBCU but so did my grandmother. I tell people all the time I earned my masters and Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, but hands down, I was educated at Hampton. I have had so many opportunities over the course of my career because of what I learned at Hampton. At Hampton we learned excellence, we learned leadership. When you get off the campus, you know what it means to be responsible; you know what it means to be an African American in a leadership position in America today.”

Trent has worked in political and advocacy positions for over 20 years, including as the Secretary of Education for the state of Virginia, and for George Mason University as the chief of staff and interim Vice President for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics. She graduated from Hampton with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice and master’s and doctoral degrees in public administration and policy from Virginia

“Having VP Kamala Harris as an alum in the oval office has elevated the stature of HBCUs and certainly has put HBCUs on the radar of the business community in a way that it has never been before. I can’t tell you how many people reach out to me on a daily basis wanting to partner and wanting to make sure they have partnerships with HBCUs,” said Trent.


Trent says this is the moment for HBCUs to flourish with support from the government. “We are putting policies in place to ensure that at this moment we recognize the importance of these institutions to our economy as a whole,” said Trent. When we look at how we are going to maintain our competitiveness, we are looking to our HBCUs and bringing our HBCUs to the table to ensure that we have a diverse lens on whatever the issues and challenges this country is facing. “This isn’t just about doing the right thing,” she added. “It is important that we acknowledge HBCUs and their history, but it’s also important to us as a country if we are going to continue to out-compete or out-innovate other countries we have to be at the table. We have to have diverse talent at the table. You get that at our HBCUs. When we invest in our HBCUs, we invest in our future; and that’s the bottom line.”

Commonwealth University. Dr. Tony Allen, Chair of the President Biden’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs said that Trent was the leading force in helping to strengthen Virginia’s HBCUs. During her tenure, Virginia HBCUs avoided budget cuts and received state funding and state funds for need-based financial aid. Trent says the 2023 budget from the president is bold and addresses equity, achievement gaps and affordability. The president has proposed $450 million to support new transformative investments and research capacity at HBCUs and minority serving institutions. The Pell Grant has increased by $2175—the largest increase in 10 Thereyears.has been much reported on the underfunding of HBCUs by several states. Morgan State University, along with Bowie State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Coppin State received a $577 million settlement after 15 years of litigation. “We are interested in learning how to better support HBCUs that are facing equity issues in their states,” said Trent. “We are exploring potential strategies internally just to see how, at the federal government level, we can do better to support them; and we hope states will follow There’ssuit.” also the problem of infrastructure and housing with HBCUs. Students at Howard University, in the nation’s capital, protested the lack of housing for the past two semesters. Trent says that infrastructure at universities is a $2 trillion dollar issue and that 46%of HBCUs need repair. It’s a problem because many of the buildings are old and historic and need historic preservation. “Plus, there’s the historic impact of discrimination,” says Trent. “We have much smaller endowments with a lot less opportunity and fewer ways to deal with deferred maintenance. Right now, we have the HBCU capital finance program, which would allow HBCUs to go after or apply for small interest loans that would help repair or construct.”

Now’s the time to capitalize on the spotlight on HBCUs, with Howard alum Vice President Kamala Harris in office.

Fuddruckers currently has over 92 restaurants. At its height, there were over 500 locations. The Fayetteville State University alum acquired the brand in 2020 for $18.5 million, making him the first African American with 100% ownership of a national burger franchise. His vision for the company is bigger than burgers. One of his main goals is to have a Fuddruckers on every HBCU campus in the Perkinscountry.says historically, it was not a focus for Fuddruckers’ high-quality brand to be accessible in the African American community; however, he is putting in the work to change that.

new location that Fuddruckers opened in years. “We are excited to introduce Fuddruckers, not only at Benedict College, but also at Livingstone College and the University of the District of Columbia are also in development now. We’ve got a couple of bids out as well that we’ve also proposed Fuddruckers in,” Perkins said. Perkins also obtained an MBA from Howard University and has served HBCUs for over 10 years.

“Quite naturally for me, I want to make sure that a brand with this very high quality of food and diversity of the menu is available within the African American community,” he explained. “I feel like it will provide us with an opportunity to be able to introduce and ultimately create an affinity for the brand long-term by getting it involved with our HBCUs and our HBCU students.” In August of last year, Benedict College became the first HBCU with a Fuddruckers on its campus. It was also the first BY PRINCESS GADSON CEO and serial entrepreneur Nicholas Perkins is making it his business to get the restaurant chain, Fuddruckers repositioned to regain its prominence.



Perkins urges those who are interested in owning a franchise to visit Fuddruckers.com and click on the ‘Franchising’ link. Background information and franchisee requirements are listed.

Perkins became a businessman in 2005 after opening his first company, Perkins Management Company, a contract food service management company. When he learned the opportunity to acquire the Fuddruckers brand was available, he didn’t hesitate to pursue it.


Fuddruckers will begin refranchising in January 2023.

Fuddruckers uses fresh, never frozen beef patties and allows its customers to customize and build their own burger.

connect moment

“HBCUs – not only for me, but for many of us who’ve been fortunate enough to attend them, understand the magic of HBCUs. Both of my alma maters have played a very vital role in my development. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work very closely with these institutions, presidents and students and have been able to understand from an HBCU, you can go anywhere and do anything,” he said.

Perkins says he was introduced to Fuddruckers as a teenager on trips from North Carolina to Alabama State University for basketball camp. “It was always a highlight to be able to stop and enjoy Fuddruckers. So, my affinity for the brand came as a young teenager, and it continued to grow and evolve as I grew up,” he said. “I would say that it is really nostalgic for me.”

“Those are the things that I felt like were key differentiators that you don’t see very often in today’s world, as it pertains to having that level of flexibility and personalization,” Perkins said. “I’m very, very, very excited about providing some TLC for this great brand and helping it regain its prominence.” Perkins also enjoys being able to provide business and entrepreneurial opportunities for “What’sothers.unique about Fuddruckers is that I’m actually a franchisor. As we prepare to begin to start growth and selling franchises, I’ll be in a position to award franchises SCAN HERE WITH YOUR PHONE’S CAMERA through a special initiative that will be centered around increasing the number of small women and minority-owned businesses that have business ownership in the area of Perkinsfranchising.”encourages as many people as possible to open their own Fuddruckers. “As an African American in the position of being a franchisor, I want to make sure that I maximize that potential opportunity for as many people as possible,” he said.


Perkins says he wants to educate people that Fuddruckers truly has the World’s Greatest Hamburger. “I don’t get involved in any particular brand that I don’t believe in. I can’t sell anything to anybody that I don’t believe in. The thing that attracted me to Fuddruckers from an entrepreneurial perspective was the quality of the food. The brand prepares everything from scratch.”

It’s always ironic how some of the positions that you could be in ultimately will come back to you as an opportunity down the road. So, you have to take your job seriously because you never know when you may be placed in a position of ownership,” Perkins said.

Fuddruckers plans to develop a platform that ‘will meet people where they are in terms of their income and net “Weworth.’willbe able to provide some flexible platforms for people who are new to business or wanting to enter business, so that they can buy into a proven system that has support and helps people become independent entrepreneurs,” Perkins continued. Perkins says one of the most rewarding parts of being a CEO of a national burger franchise is being able to empower people. “I feel very blessed to be in this position,” he said. “I find great joy in being able to employ people and help people be able to earn wages that they’re able to take care of their family and advance themselves and their quality of life,” he said. During Perkins’ undergraduate experience, he was introduced to a family in the food management business and worked for them, which led to his interest in “Ientrepreneurship.learnedeveryaspect of cafeteria management while I was an undergraduate student at Fayetteville State University. I worked in food service there. I also worked as a breakfast cook at a mental health institution in my hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina,” he Perkinssaid. experienced a fullcircle moment years later when he returned to Fayetteville and competed for the food services contract at the same mental health institution where he once worked. “That’s actually the very contract that launched Perkins Management some years later.

Perkins also credits reading Black Titan: A. G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire for fueling his passion to become an “Gastonentrepreneur.instantly became a hero for me when I learned of his story. He was one of the most successful African American business owners to have ever lived. He was actually Alabama’s first Black


“We’re going to roll out a new program that will offer what I consider to be both traditional and nontraditional licensing opportunities for people to become franchisees in both traditional and non-traditional spaces—non-traditional meaning airports and travel centers and things of that nature with a small footprint; traditional meaning your standard, typical large box restaurants, full-service type of restaurant environment,” Perkins explained.

Perkins says he’d like for his legacy to be recognized as one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs that have ever lived. “That is very important to me; to ensure that the sacrifices that were made for me to have the opportunity to be able to pursue my dreams and goals by people who died and didn’t know my name and the Civil Rights Movement did not do so in vain. I’m motivated day in and day out by the sacrifices that people made for me to have the opportunity to be able to pursue my dreams and goals in this country,” he said.

“One thing that my grandmother would always say was, ‘When you cook for people, you always cook from your heart, and you could taste Oneit.’” of the most valuable lessons that Perkins has learned as an entrepreneur is that money cannot be the sole motivating factor that drives “Youyou. must determine your why, and that why should not ultimately be centered solely in wealth creation because a lot of times, businesses must realize that they have a social responsibility, as well as an economic responsibility,” he said. “YOU MUST DETERMINE YOUR WHY, AND THAT WHY SHOULD NOT ULTIMATELY BE CENTERED SOLELY IN WEALTH CREATION BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES, BUSINESSES MUST REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AS WELL AS AN ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY.”

CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 15 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 millionaire,” he said. Perkins also owns a Church’s Chicken franchise in Fayetteville, NC. “Fayetteville will always be home, and I believe that all of my experiences there growing up were very foundational,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot, but we had what we needed in order for my mother to be able to provide for us. We never went to bed hungry or went without clothes, but we didn’t have a lot of excess money. Times were challenging, but I considered them to be moments that helped me to understand how to prioritize things and how to do more with less,” he continued.

Perkins gained an appreciation for meal preparation from his grandmother and says she was a phenomenal cook. “She used food as a way to convene family. She used [food] as a way to express love, and I gained a different level of appreciation for it than probably most people would. She was very detailoriented and cooked everything from scratch. I saw just the power of meal preparation and how it was used as a means to bring people together,” he explained.

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of active duty, he returned to his native Alabama and became a high school teacher. Dr. Harvey continued his education earning a masters at Virginia State University, making him a two-time HBCU alumnus before he began his studies at Harvard University, where he earned a doctorate in college administration. Dr. Harvey began his career in higher education at Harvard, “I was fortunate that I did well, and I was given a job at Harvard. This was back in the sixties. I was one of only two African-American administrators.” He recounted that he was on the verge of being promoted to an assistant dean position when he shared with his mentor that the next career move he desired was to return to the south and work at a Black college. Dr. Harvey said that his decision was supported by his peers and leaders at the university, “All of my friends in the administration tried to dissuade me. They said that my star would rise if I stayed at Harvard, Harvard being the pinnacle of higher education in the world. I said to them that I had to follow my own North Star, and that I wanted to come back south and work at a Black school.”



BY YOLANDA MCCUTCHEN One of the longest tenures of any college or university president in the country is ending this summer. Dr. William R. Harvey is retiring from the presidency of Hampton University after a storied 44 years leading the highly ranked university. “I’ve been in higher education more than 50 years. It was always a joy for me to be able to help others. And I think that education is one of the best ways to do that. I have enjoyed not only being here at Hampton, but every place I have been I’ve enjoyed it because I believe so strongly in serving others and helping others,” stated Dr. Harvey. He began helping others through education after he graduated from Talladega College and served the United States Army. After three years

Following his own career inclination, Dr. Harvey accepted a position as the executive assistant to the president at Fisk University. Two years later, he moved on to his second appointment as an HBCU administrator at Tuskegee University, where he served as a vice president and his responsibilities included planning, student affairs, budgeting, and fund raising. He remained at Tuskegee for six years. In his next move, he assumed the presidency of Hampton University at 37 years old and has led the university for 44 years. At the time, he was one of the youngest university presidents in the country.

Hampton Institute, in 1978, was very different than the renown Hampton University of today. The university was facing a financial crisis. “I can speak very candidly about the challenges that the university was facing because financially we were in pretty bad shape. We had not balanced our budget for over two decades. And the grandson of the founder (General Samuel Chapman Armstrong) who was still on the board at the time called for Hampton to cease as a college and become a prep school,” said Dr. Harvey. His primary goal after becoming president was for the university to become financially sound, “The chief thing that I sought was that we get our finances in order. Everything emanates from strong financials; scholarships for students and salaries for faculty to keep up the fiscal plan. For my first three to four years, I was away, Monday morning to Friday afternoon, all over the country, raising money.” Dr. Harvey’s fund raising and “fiscal conservatism” has paid off. When he arrived, the university had an endowment of $29 million. Today, it exceeds $400 million, and the university’s budget has been balanced every year of his tenure. Dr. Harvey credits his parents as having a profound positive impact on him, and he has relied on their teachings throughout his career. He credits them with instilling fiscal responsibility and the importance of planning. However, he did not foresee that he would spend 44 years as the president of Hampton. He said that upon his arrival he began planning, in five-year increments, goals that he wanted the university to achieve; and as each were accomplished, he continued to plan and set new goals. Dr. Harvey readily says that Hampton’s success is due to the collective competence of his team of administrators, “People give me a lot of credit for a lot of things. I have to say that it’s a team that has done it, not me alone. I am the team leader, and I’m a tough team leader; and I don’t apologize for that. I’ve had 17 of my administrators go on to become presidents of colleges and universities around the country.”

Dr. Harvey says that receiving input has served him well at Hampton. He extends his collective approach to the full faculty and student leaders of which he has met with monthly throughout his entire presidency. He says that initiatives at the university, as well as new facilities such as the new cafeteria, were first discussed during these monthly Hamptonmeetings.University’s growth under Dr. Harvey’s leadership has been stellar. Student enrollment increased from approximately 2,700 students to over 6,300. Students now have 92 academic programs that have been implemented, during the Harvey years, as areas of graduate and undergraduate study. In the last 44 years, 30 new buildings have been constructed, and the university has invested $50 million in the preservation and renovation of existing campus facilities. Hampton is the first HBCU to be solely responsible for a major NASA mission when it


his tenure, President Harvey has experienced great success but faced many challenges over the years. “We face challenges every day. But probably 99.9% of them I don’t remember because I don’t let challenges overwhelm me or Hampton. People have different opinions. The fact is that some people may not like some of the things that we have done, but we don’t let that dissuade us because we feel like before we make a move, we get a lot of clarity. We get input, and then we move in the direction that we think is best for Hampton.” An ongoing example of how Dr. Harvey faces challenges is the coronavirus pandemic. Hampton was one of the first institutions in the state of Virginia to require vaccination for all students and staff. This decision was met with opposition.


Dr. Harvey says from its founding, Hampton has been about helping students. He has extended this mantra beyond the university’s campus globally. In 2019, the university welcomed to its campus more than 50 students from the University of the Bahamas-North Campus

secured a $92 million grant to launch weather satellites into orbit in 2003. As a result of the university’s stature as a leading educational institution, Dr. Harvey received national boardship appointments from seven presidents of the United States including the President’s National Advisory Council on Elementary and Secondary Education and was chairman of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, in addition to his service on numerous corporate boards. The university is also a leader in Black art, “We’ve got the largest collection of Africana nd African-American art and artifacts in the entire country. Most folks wouldn’t know that. They probably think the Smithsonian,” said Dr. DuringHarvey.

“Because somebody doesn’t like something, it doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing to do because our mantra is to do what we think is right. And this leads to the health and safety of the students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Harvey. He appointed committees to assess the situation for the university including an infectious disease committee. He shared that the university now has a 99% vaccination rate with the remaining students having been granted medical and/or religious exemptions.

CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 21 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 which was obliterated by Hurricane Dorian. The students were granted free tuition and room and board for a year. Dr. Rodney Smith, the president of the University of the Bahamas, previously served as administrative vice president and chief planning officer at Hampton. In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and began a war that created a humanitarian crisis. Again, Dr. Harvey offered students refuge at Hampton by offering African and native Ukrainian students free tuition and room and board on the Virginia campus. The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute is impactful in the Tidewater Virginia region. “We have the world’s largest proton beam cancer treatment center. We are treating prostate, breast, pediatrics, spine, head, neck and brain cancers averaging right now about 65 patients per day; and cancer is the number one killer in Virginia. When we started out, there were about six other proton centers. Now, there are more than 30 at places like University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown. But we had them all before them. We didn’t have a medical school. I didn’t let that dissuade me,” said Dr. Harvey. At age 81, Dr. Harvey is retiring as president of Hampton, but he won’t just be relaxing and reflecting on his years at Hampton. He already has extensive plans to expand his catalog as an author, “I just put out another book about three months ago. I got another book coming out this spring and then another book that’s coming out in the fall titled ‘The Inspiration of African American Art’. My wife and I have been collecting African American art since 1971. And we have one of the largest collections and personal hands in the country. I’m such a hands-on president. I can’t do that and do all the writing that I want to do.” He plans to write his memoirs and also says, “I’ve got a couple of novels in me.” During his presidency, he published two books “Principles of Leadership” and “A Guide to Student Success in College”. His leadership principles remain consistent across audiences, “A leader has to understand that it’s always good to do what you think is right. And best to know, you need to understand that you’re going to be attacked. You’re going to be gossiped on. You’re going to be lied on. I’ve had all of that. But if you do what you think is right and best, then you don’t worry about it.” Dr. Harvey is in high demand as a lecturer on education and leadership topics. In March 2022, he delivered the keynote address before the American Council on Education’s 2022 conference. In addition, he has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Howard, Talladega and Tuskegee. He plans to continue accepting speaking engagements. Since Dr. Harvey became president, more than 38,000 students have graduated from the university. May 8, 2022 will be his final graduation day as president. When asked what is his hope for Hampton University as it embarks on a new era he stated, “Outside of my family, I love Hampton more and better than anything. I want Hampton to continue to excel.” “OUTSIDE OF MY FAMILY, I LOVE HAMPTON MORE AND BETTER THAN ANYTHING. I WANT HAMPTON TO CONTINUE TO EXCEL.”




When Dr. Aminta H. Breaux came to Bowie State University in July 2017 to take the position as the university’s first female president, the university endowment was $7 million. Compare that to an Ivy League institution like University of Pennsylvania which has an endowment of $20.5 billion, and the disparity is alarming. Breaux worked hard to change that. She had a diverse educational background to pull from. A bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in psychological services in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Temple University.


Instead of getting upset, he started a company called Gentleman’s Toolbox where he outsourced merchandise like ties, pocket squares and put packages together to sell in Bowie’s bookstore. Bowie State would become one of his clients. “I remember telling the Dean that I don’t want to work for another company; I want to build my own company,” Craig recalls. Now he owns his own agency helping clients find their digital voice to reach their audience and increase revenue, all inspired he says, by professors from Bowie BreauxState. hopes that this kind of entrepreneurial mindset

Just this year alone, $7 million has come in from private donations—up from an average of 1.4 million when she first arrived at Bowie State.

She’d also graduated from the Harvard Institute for Executive Management and the American Association for State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Institute.

“In our program, we are meeting students where they are and their interests,” says Breaux. “In our business program, for instance, it’s exciting for students to come in with a business idea and know that on this campus we are going to meet them with that interest. We have an entrepreneurship concentration in the college of business that is popular with students, and we have incorporated entrepreneurial education into other disciplines. My vision is to have every student graduate with an entrepreneurship mindset prepared to create a new product, a new business to navigate today’s workforce.”

Bowie State University graduate DeRonte Craig, president of the digital marketing agency Nine27, was already business-minded when he came to the university. At the time, Bowie hosted professional dress day on Wednesdays where students wore professional clothing. Craig didn’t limit himself to just Wednesdays, he wore professional clothing daily. Soon, students were so impressed by his sharp outfits they began asking to borrow his clothes. The problem was they wouldn’t give them back.

Since Breaux began her tenure as president, Bowie State’s endowment has grown to $36 million in just five years.

It’s not just the dollars that are coming into Bowie State that has fueled growth at the university – it’s Breaux’s intellectual leadership that has given the school new and wide-ranging opportunities to help meet the needs of students.



The Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community is a new ($42) million facility on campus that helps bridge learning from the classroom into the real world. The 550-bed residence hall adjoins a dedicated entrepreneurship innovation center with resources, mentors and equipment to support students’ entrepreneurial “Entrepreneurshipdevelopment. is one of the fastest growing segments in the economy,” says Breaux. “Look at the shifts and changes in the workforce. Students don’t have traditional pathways that our parents and grandparents had. People aren’t just changing jobs frequently. They are changing career fields.”

“If a student wakes up at 2 a.m. with a great idea they can go into that maker space and work through the idea,” Breaux says about the Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community. “They have access to the facility where they have 3-D printing and other

Growing up in Philadelphia with a father as an educator, Breaux learned early on to think outside of the box in her high school, School Without Walls—where students came from all over the city and traveled throughout the city to learn. “That’s where I learned the value of experiential learning. It was a model from Great Britain,” Breaux recalls. “Having those experiential learning opportunities gets students excited about learning. Students at Bowie State know not to wait until they are in their upperclassman years in school for experiential learning and internships. We want them to engage in their curricular and co-curricular initiatives to experience the community that surrounds them and engage in the world.”

she’s cultivated for Bowie State’s graduates will begin to help close the wealth gap for people of color in the United States. She hopes that, whether they choose to work in corporate America or with their own business, they will graduate from Bowie State as innovators and creative people who think outside the box and as a result will always find work.

forBowiePaigeMonththeacrosswereHistoryDesignwinnersdesigns.whereasentrepreneurialTownsendBowieexperience.”andhire“Theyaccelerator,”“It’scampusMarylandbusinessuptolinksisknownInnovationThetechnologies.”supportingBowieBusinessCenter-alsoastheBowieBicaseparate501(c)(3)thatthelargercommunitysupportsmallerstart-businesses. It’stheonlyacceleratorinlocatedontheofanHBCU.anincubatorandsaidBreaux.providementoringandourstudentsasinternsproviderealworldStateseniorSharoneisanothersuccessstorytheCEOofTruthBrand—hecreatesT-shirtHewasoneofthreeofTarget’sHBCUChallengeforBlackMonth.HisdesignssoldinTargetstoresthenationaspartofbrand’sBlackHistorycollection.  BlakeisanotherStatestudentstrivingexcellenceandmaking


The university also recently signed on as a premier sponsor for two PBS documentaries - Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom and Becoming Frederick Douglass. Bowie State is the first and only HBCU to sponsor a nationally televised PBS BSU’sdocumentary.nursing program is rated by NursingProcess.org as one of the top five (5) nursing programs among HBCUs. The university’s new, state-of-the art nurse education simulation

And in May, A+E Networks launched its first ever student apprenticeship program in an exclusive partnership with Bowie State. BSU is the only college that they have partnered with based on the university’s stop motion animation and digital media arts programs. The A+E program will provide students with real-world work experience in content creation. “We set out to design a program that would offer students from a range of academic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to gain real world experience and mentorship in creative fields while completing their degrees and having a substantial impact on our communities, CSR and promotional campaigns,” said Paul Buccieri, President and Chairman of A+E Networks.


In addition to innovative programming, including a minor in hip-hop culture and visual studies where visiting fellows and scholars from the golden age of hip-hop like MC Sha-Rock come in to mentor students, the university continues to work on groundbreaking research on climate change, hydroponics and aquaponics and STEM-related content.

Bowie State has also been excelling nationally in theater arts and digital media. Most notably 23-year-old Myles Frost, a music technology student, is the youngest college student to win a Tony Award for his performance as Michael Jackson in the Broadway production of MJ the Musical. He beat out Hugh Jackman and Billy Crystal for the Tony Award in June.  Harold Jackson III, a filmmaker and Fine and Performing Arts faculty member, has a film entitled Gaslight streaming on Apple TV and Amazon, while ALLBLK AMC Networks popular streaming service for Black TV and film has announced that the new sci-fi drama Wicked City, from BSU alum and executive producer Tressa Smallwood, will debut this winter.

history. The rising senior biology major is the first and only student appointed to serve on the White House HBCU Board of Advisors by President Biden. Blake’s eyes are set on medical school after graduation and a career as a physician.

This year, Bowie State received a renewed designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. Students will be serving on the front lines to protect the nation against cyberwarfare, working directly with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. BSU was first recognized by NSA as a center of excellence in 2015. Last year, the Department of Army selected Bowie State as one of the top three universities in the nation to participate in an Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning Challenge. This fall, students will be able to expand studies in cybersecurity and ultimately receive a B.S. degree in cyber operations engineering. In addition, students will also have the option to enroll in new bachelor’s degree programs in data science, applied biotechnology, or software engineering. A new master’s degree program in the Internet of Things will also be offered in the fall.

The initiative began in the aftermath of the murder of a Bowie State student, Lt. Richard Collins III, in 2017, by University of Maryland student, Sean Urbanski who was known to be in hate groups. Collins III was just days away from graduating from Bowie State University. Breaux hopes the alliance will be a model for other HBCUs and traditionally white universities to emulate across the nation. Soon after Breaux arrived on campus, she reached out to Collins’ family and to then University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, in the fall of 2017, about how they could keep their campus communities together.

facilities are helping to expanded the nursing program and tap into the need for more talent post-pandemic.

“There was a lot of anger and hurt,” remembers Breaux. “We wanted to address social justice issues and hate and violence in our society, and it’s increasingly important when you look at what has happened in the last few years with the death of George Floyd.” Since the death of Collins, the alliance made up of faculty, staff and students works throughout the year to develop programs and symposiums to raise awareness for the need to address hate, violence, and social justice in society. Even with the wealth of innovative programming, Breaux knows there’s still the opportunity for Bowie State to do much more with the proper funding.  Breaux says there were many reasons that Bowie State and HBCUs in general have had to come from behind in gaining revenue. She says much of the issue at Bowie State has been a lack of awareness on the part of the public that there is a Andneed. there’s a huge amount of need—nearly 39% of students are first generation college students, and many of them are low-income and eligible for Pell grants. Then there’s been the historic under funding of HBCUs. In 2021, alumni associations from four HBCUs in Maryland - Bowie State University, Morgan State University, Coppin State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore – finalized a lawsuit against the state of Maryland for not providing the resources needed by these HBCUs to thrive. There was a duplication of programs originated at these institutions that drew students away from the HBCU campuses. The result of the lawsuit was a $577 million settlement to resolve the issue. For the next ten years, proportionate amounts will be paid out each year to each of the four universities for the development of new programs and to expand course offerings and attract diverse students. Bowie State University also received its largest gift in history from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott for $25 million in 2020.  “She wanted it to be a leadership gift to inspire others to give and to enhance their philanthropy to Bowie State,” Breaux said about Scott’s gift. “We still have a long way to go to close in on the financial need for our students so they can afford to come here. We need to build up our physical infrastructure— new buildings and our old buildings need to be renovated.”

One of the initiatives at Bowie State that Breaux is most proud of is the Social Justice Alliance—a collaboration between the University of Maryland and Bowie State University that aims to educate and combat racism hatred and violence.



In the meantime, enrollment is increasing, and retention is “Dr.up.Breaux is admired for her devotion to student development, especially in the context of the entrepreneurial spirit and skillset,” said Kweisi Mfume, U.S. representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district. “Evidenced in the Bowie Business Innovation Center (BIC) housed at the university, Dr. Breaux is extremely forwardthinking and provides outstanding resources for students to develop into well-versed, countryofBreaux.comparison“WeAtlanticbestrecognizedresults,beingofHBCUEducationthesenioraDr.andofStatethestrengthened“Herprofessionals.”knowledgeableleadershiphasandenhancedcapabilityofBowietoexpediteitsmissionteaching,research,publicservice,”saidLeonardL.HaynesIII,formerdistinguishedfederalofficialwithU.S.Departmentofandaformerpresident.“BecauseDr.Breaux’sfocusonaccountableforBowieStateisnowasoneoftheuniversitiesin themid-region,”hesaid.arenotjustdoingwellintoHBCUs,”said“Icompareustoanytheinstitutionsacrossthisforexcellence.”


“Aminta Breaux is a forward thinker,” said Cassius Priestly, Market President in the Greater Washington Region, Truist Bank. “A real differentiator is how she embraces the corporate community and makes everyone eager to get involved with Bowie State University. Dr. Breaux is viewed as a business leader in the region,” he said. “She is an active member of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and many other circles that rely on her ability to bring new ideas and innovation to the table.”

Maryland U.S. Senator Ben Cardin also secured $3 million in congressionally directed funding for the Bowie Business Innovation Center (BIC) which will increase the center’s capacity to help underserved entrepreneurs to secure federal “Bowiecontracts.State University has blossomed into a vital hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Region under the leadership of Dr. Aminta Breaux. The Bowie Business Innovation Center is a model that leverages the relationships and reputation of Bowie State University to deliver critical entrepreneurial development services to government contracting and technology startups,” said Cardin. “This groundbreaking program was the inspiration for my UPLIFT Act, which would provide grants to HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions to create similar programs nationwide. Dr. Breaux’s leadership of Bowie State University has not only shaped the university and the region, it has demonstrated what is possible when the federal government and HBCUs work together to uplift entire Breauxcommunities.”wantsto take advantage of the school’s prime location along the MARC train route between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. She has partnered with Prince George’s County to develop property adjacent to the campus MARC station to make the area a destination location and an innovation hub for businesses to come and work with faculty and students at Bowie State. She hopes to have a transitoriented development zone, complete with a hotel and parking garage.


Business Administration MBA Criminal Justice B.A. and M.S. Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed. Nursing B.S.N. and M.S.N. Organizational Management B.S. Psychology B.A. PROGRAMS

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Essence Magazine is the number one media, technology, and commerce company dedicated to Black women. Aley, a 2015 Claflin University graduate, accepted the position in March.

Everything I create, every word that I share, is to inspire, uplift, and encourage Black women; and that all began at my HBCU,” Aley said.

“That was pretty much the class that kind of opened my eyes up to actually honing my voice. It gave me a clear vision of who I wanted my writing to reach, which is Black women.

During that year, she created a blog, Ya Girl, Aley (yagirlaley. com), that propelled her to learn how to use her voice about important topics. She also credits taking a Black feminist class for pushing her to be more vocal.

Essence Magazine had writers like Aley Arion in mind when they began to look for the best candidate to fill their Health and Wellness editor position.

Throughout her writing career, Aley has interviewed big names like daytime talk show host, Wendy Williams, reality TV star Joseline Hernandez, actress Yara Shahidi, tennis legend Serena Williams, and more.


The Moncks Corner, SC resident says she has been a writer ever since she could hold a pen, but her sophomore year at Claflin University is where she started to take her writing more seriously.


Little did she know, her entire life was about to change.

“Then, I get reached out to randomly from the Senior Lifestyle Editor of Essence magazine. She told me that she found my work on xonecole.com, but then she also found my newsletter,” Aley Aleysaid. says initially, it was hard for her to be excited when she received the offer to interview with Essence because she’d recently experienced rejection from writing jobs for an entire year.

After the internship in 2019, Aley moved to Los Angeles where she worked at Blavity Inc., a home to the largest network of platforms and lifestyle brands serving Black “Imillennials.wasdoing sales, and because I still wasn’t really feeling fulfilled in the role, I was still doing freelance work for xoNecole on the side,” she Whensaid. the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Aley was laid off from her sales position at Blavity Inc. XoNecole became Aley’s main writing job for the entire year.

“I continued to do interviews and features when it came to Black entrepreneurs and beauty founders, and different stories that just centered Black women,” she Duesaid. to budget cuts, Aley was no longer writing for xoNecole in 2022, but she continued to write. She created a newsletter in February, Creative Girl Check-in, where she publishes encouraging and inspirational content.


“There was one last rejection I got about a week before she reached out to me, and it literally sent me. I was like ‘I’m not writing no more. I’m through with this,’” she said.

Upon graduation, Aley had no internships or job offers. She describes her journey as a writer after college as ‘non-linear for sure.’ “Much to my effort, nothing stuck,” she said. Then she began to transform her blog to discussing her post-graduate experience. “That really began to resonate with a lot of people online,” she said. Aley began to delve deeper into being vulnerable and transparent, sharing more of her personal life journey, covering topics such as her dating chronicles and daily life in New York. Her blog snagged the attention of an editor at xoNecole (xonecole.com), a platform for young women to share their personal stories and indulge in career, beauty and relationship tips, and speak their minds on the latest culture news and politics.

The editors began syndicating Aley’s articles to their site, and she eventually became their contributing feature writer. From 2017-2019, Aley wrote for xonecole.com. In 2019, she completed an internship in Charlotte, where she ‘kind of put writing down for a bit.’

“I felt like people were looking for younger voices. When the editor from Essence reached out to me, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is so exciting, but I cannot take another ‘no’, because she told me I was going up against another writer. My heart was so numb, I couldn’t even be excited as she was talking to me about it,” she candidly shares.

Aley says she had an emotional breakdown shortly after her 29th birthday because she felt like she was aging out of the opportunity to write for a publication.


“When I think about the walk I’ve had to go through, I know that it can serve as inspiration. All parts of it can serve as inspiration for other people to know that even if you feel like a quote unquote late bloomer, even if you feel like it’s too late for you, I hope my transparency, my story, and my journey can serve as a seed that helps you see that these things can happen for you too – even if you didn’t go the linear route or take all the steps that everybody thought you had to take to get somewhere,” she said. Aley says she really honors her process. “The process to really sit with the things that have happened in my life and really sit with the things that continue to bloom, but also the dark times that I had to go through in order to get to this current position, because it’s all a part of the story,” Aley said. She says in life, sometimes glory moments can feel more important than the darkness that got you to that point. “But in actuality, it was the journey of those hardships that actually paved the way for you to be sitting where you are,” Aley said. Aley says being able to slow down, analyze, journal, and taking time to process things has allowed her to be more vulnerable because she owns it. Another important gem that Aley has learned from her journey as a writer is that it only takes one person to believe in you. “If one person sees something in you, it will literally take years off of you feeling like you have to slave away at something to make something happen,” she said. “It’s like God was like, ‘I’m going to send this person in your life for this season because you need this positive information and guidance and mentorship. But then when she’s done with that, I’m going to send you one other person and they’re going to push you further.’ You don’t need a lot of people behind you if one person truly believes in you,” she said. Aley’s advice for anyone who identifies as a storyteller, writer, or content creator is to never stop creating. “You don’t have to create for the world to consume whatever you’re making, as long as you’re creating for yourself. Sometimes we think the creative process is for the consumption of others, when really it’s a muscle for us to exercise for our own self, like our own hearts.” Aley stated that it’s imperative for writers to never give up on their craft. “If I didn’t create my newsletter, I probably would not have the shot. I realized I had to get out of my funk, and go back to the thing that I loved, because that was the thing that was going to get me out – and it eventually was the thing that got me out,” she

“Theresaid.are going to be moments in your journey where you feel like ‘I’m not cut out for this. This isn’t for me.’ But if writing is the reason why you know you were put on this earth - if storytelling is your reason why, you can’t put it down because someone else’s breakthrough and someone else’s hope is on the other side of what you’re putting out in the world. Please do not give up on it,” she said. “Always be sharing your gift because you never know who is looking for you.”

Aley interviewed for the position and nailed it. “Because I am the Health and Wellness editor, I want to create stories that, one, serve as kind of like an escape from the everyday pain of our living and our experience, but I also want to make sure that stories are being told about Black women that inspire other Black women – more of an inspiration in a way that actually moves you to do Aleysomething.”saysshe realizes that once she goes through something in life, the story that comes from that experience is no longer about her.

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CHOOSING RESILIENCE: HOW ONE MAN REENGINEERED HIS LIFE AND DISCOVERED PURPOSE have had to overcome unthinkable odds to survive the unimaginable. As gaining generational wealth and ending generational curses have become buzzwords, those seeking to move from surviving to thriving are looking back at their personal and family histories and reconciling where they have been with where they are going. Tiran is no exception, and his life serves as yet another excellent and clear example of creative resilience. Following the explosion, Tiran was immediately taken into surgery. He was first operated on in Nassau, where they attempted to reattach his foot to his leg. However, the area would soon become infected, and alternate plans had to be made. “I saw my vitals go from green, to yellow, to red and was thinking that I was about to close my eyes for the last time.” In addition to clinging to his life, Tiran was now faced with calling his son, Cameron - who at the time was 12 years old and staying with relatives in Nashville, TN while his parents were away - to tell him that his mother would not be returning home.

“My foot was severed from my leg, causing my ankle bone to be exposed as I bled profusely. My right foot was broken. I had a fractured pelvis, a fractured spine; I suffered 2nd degree burns, and I was in and out of consciousness five Africantimes.”Americans have always been a creative people, often from a place of necessity if not desperation, because there was often no other option. When one considers the full breadth of what we call Black history, African Americans BY NICHOLAS JACKSON

ABahamas getaway trip - set to be full of rest, relaxation and reflection for the 15th wedding anniversary of two Tennessee State University alums during the summer of 2018 - soon turned devastating when their boat suddenly exploded only five minutes into the ride. As a result of the explosion, Tiran Jackson was severely injured and his wife, Maleka, was killed.


“We need more Black and brown professionals

Today, he is a motivational speaker and life and accountability coach teaching people how to become resilient. Tiran feels that his academic experience was an exception as opposed to the rule. As early as the 3rd grade, the young whiz was placed in gifted programs to further cultivate his skills. It was also in the 3rd grade that he was first exposed to and mastered the game of chess. Anyone with experience in education understands how important the 3rd grade year is in terms of forecasting future academic performance. From middle school onward, Tiran was exceptional in math and science. “I was always able to do math quickly in my head,” he explained. In addition to being a great athlete both on the football field and the basketball court, Tiran also participated and excelled in math and chess competitions. He was a very well-rounded student and enjoyed a wonderful high school experience. It was in high school that Tiran’s interest in STEM would begin to grow to new heights. He was strongly encouraged to broaden his horizons beyond Florence and see what else the world had to offer and would begin looking into STEM-based summer programs at various HBCUs. Tiran would eventually attend programs at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) as well as Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU). Both programs offered exposure and experience to young Tiran, and his love of STEM continued to blossom.

his life-altering experience, Tiran Jackson was a Bama-bred Black boy from Florence, AL. He fondly remembers spending many days in the country with his cousins in the slow-moving northwest corner of Alabama. “I didn’t realize how slow it was until I was exposed to more.”


This set the stage for Choosing Resilience, Tiran’s up and coming book detailing his decision to become resilient and his roadmap to recovery. What most certainly could have caused many to withdraw and retreat from life in a crippling defeat and despair, Tiran used to launch forward. Today, he uses his story to encourage, empower, and equip people to become resilient in every area of Beforelife.

Tiran said when asked how we can encourage more Black and brown kids to pursue careers in STEM. “We emulate what we see.” This stands to reason, as it was his high school math teacher who encouraged him to spread his wings and fly beyond Florence to explore and experience more than what the small town had to offer. After undergoing his first round of emergency care in Nassau, Tiran was transported to Florida, where he would continue to undergo surgeries in order to save his life. In order to keep the infection from spreading, he would have to have his left leg amputated. He would endure four surgeries total as he clung to life by a thread at times. Needless to say, this event would be pivotal and lifechanging for Tiran and his young son in a way that most would struggle to comprehend, less could imagine, and no one would desire to experience. Tiran was told that he would not walk again for six months. He knew the life he and his son knew before the trip was gone. It was in the midst of this life tempest that in an incredible demonstration of strength and determination Tiran would pull himself together. “I could have died as a result of the explosion. I could have died in the Bahamas as my vitals began to fade. I could have died after any one of the four surgeries.” He reasoned within himself that if God had spared his life, He must have done so for a reason and for a purpose. It was at this juncture that Tiran chose resilience. This was his crossroads - his “holy ground”- where he became determined to overcome tragedy and make the most of his life. What’s even more interesting about all of this is that prior to his pivot, Tiran was a high-ranking engineer, having worked a long, successful stint at Rolls Royce. Many may not readily associate STEM education and professions with creativity, as it is often connected instinctively with industries such as music, entertainment, and fashion more so than engineering, research, and technology. But in fact, creativity is essential in all human endeavors and as Tiran’s life demonstrates, is essential in choosing resilience and blazing a new path.

He embarked on a complete life redesign from what he thought his path in life would be. “My motivation was my son; to make sure I was going to be there for him.”

It is often said that God makes no mistakes. It is incredible to think and even more amazing to see a man who began his career as a talented engineer and STEM professional re-engineer his own life in order to find success and purpose.

36 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . to go back and expose kids to opportunities,”

In a day and time where COVID-19 has ravaged the globe at large, it is all the more imperative that we all dig deep. Today, Tiran has experienced a complete 180 degree turnaround in his life. He is in a much better place, as he has healed emotionally, has found love again, is having entrepreneurial success, and is looking forward to coaching those brave enough to choose resilience to discover and develop their purpose.

Just as his ancestors did generations before him, Tiran overcame what many may have considered insurmountable odds. It has not been an easy road following the tragic incident in 2018. He had to learn to walk again. He had to come to terms with continuing his journey in parenthood as a single father. “I fought depression. I fought the emotional loss. I was grieving for a long, long time.”




By now, everyone knows that Stacey Abrams has paid her dues. As the general election nears and her run against Governor Brian Kemp heats up, there’s a chance for her to use a new strategy than she used in 2018 in her close loss to Kemp. But being unpredictable, yet consistent, has been her strong suit. Her influence helped to deliver the Biden presidency and helped to flip Georgia. She surprised Republicans with her grassroot efforts to get out the vote which gave Democrats control of the Senate. She became the first Black woman in U.S. history to have won the gubernatorial nomination. She’s the author of two New York Times bestseller non-fiction books and eight fiction books. She’s been making the underdogs proud for most of her life. She’s not about to stop now. She founded and implemented strategic plans for New Georgia Project and co-founded NOW Account, a financial services firm that helps Georgia small businesses access funding and grow their operations and create jobs. She’s also the CEO of Sage Works Productions, a production company in Georgia with several projects under development, including with CBS Studios and NBC/Universal.


Growing up in a family of eight in Gulfport, Mississippi, she would go on to get a master’s in public affairs from Texas University and a law degree from Yale Law School. But it was her hometown school that helped to “AT COULDOFUNDERSTANDINGOURDREAMEXPECTEDBYSURROUNDEDFUTURE.TOWASCOLLEGE,SPELMANIALLOWEDCRAFTMYIWASWOMENTHATUSTOBEYONDNARROWWHATWEBE.”


Abrams is as diverse as her constituents. She’s a Yale-trained tax attorney, an entrepreneur, writer, and small business owner. But her sweet spot is politics—particularly when it comes to galvanizing community members who were otherwise indifferent to the voting process. She founded Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression in 2018.

But her priority right now is taking the governorship from Brian TheKemp.stakes are high for Democrats for the upcoming election. Kemp is looking to overturn Roe v. Wade if he wins. He’s also looking to loosen gun restrictions, even in the wake of the Texas mass shooting, one of 246 shootings this year so far. In his 2018 campaign ad, Kemp held a shotgun in his lap while talking to a teenager about his campaign platform. Despite differing priorities, Abrams says she is committed as a bipartisan consensus builder bringing both sides together in a politically divided state. “My priorities put the people of Georgia before a bipartisan agenda,” she said. “Expanding Medicaid, fully funding education, prioritizing public safety and ensuring our state’s economy works for every Georgian.”

shape her worldview. At Spelman College, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – political science, economics, and sociology – and graduated magna cum laude. It was there that she learned the importance of being bold in her ambition.

“At Spelman College, I was allowed to craft my future. I was surrounded by women that expected us to dream beyond our narrow understanding of what we could be,” she said. “Through my experiences at Spelman, I saw how much Black people could achieve when we are in environments that provide us with opportunities to stretch ourselves and explore “Ipotential.”wassurrounded by incredible women who taught me the importance of not editing myself or shrinking myself to fit someone else’s narrow view of who they think I should be,” she added about her time at Spelman. “So often, young people are afraid of being the wrong person, saying the wrong thing and dreaming the wrong dreams. My fondest memories at Spelman include those moments when mentors reminded me, and my Spelman sisters, that our dreams were valid and attainable.”


She went above and beyond what she had dreamed. In 2010, she became a House Democratic Leader in the Georgia Assembly, the first woman to lead either party in the state legislature and the first Black Georgian to lead in the House of Representatives. She was able to stop legislation that would have created the largest tax

“A Stacey victory in Georgia is going to cement Georgia not just as a battleground but as the progressive New South,” Michael Blake, a former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee told the New York Times. HERE WITH PHONE’S


CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 41 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 increase in Georgia’s history. In her race for governor, she is looking to unite a divided state. “I am running because opportunity in our state should not be determined by zip code, background or power, and achieving that goal will take leadership that will work for all of Georgia,” she said. “By tackling the issues that matter most to Georgians, we can help everyone thrive and work together to create a stronger Georgia – one that works for all. That is what I’ve prioritized my entire life, and it is how I will govern. We can work together to build a stronger Georgia – One Georgia –because that is what we are.”


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ASouth Carolina senator is working to build a legacy by creating more opportunities for collaboration amongst SouthHBCUs.Carolina’s Institutes of Innovation and Information (SCIII) is an initiative and vision inspired by Sen. John L Scott, Jr. which currently focuses on revolutionizing and cultivating South Carolina’s seven four-year HBCUs’ overall capabilities and contributions for citizens and South Carolina residents.

The institutes of SCIII provide clear partnership opportunities between South Carolina’s top corporations and businesses and HBCUs.

SCIII’s institutes include: SC State University, Institute of Business, Environment, Communication & Transportation Benedict(BECT) College, Business, Entrepreneurship, Science, & Technology (BEST) Allen University, Boeing Institute of Civility (BIC) Morris College, The Institute of Network Information, Technology, & Security (NITS) Voorhees College, The Institute of Rural Community Development (RCD) Claflin University, The Institute of Teaching and Nursing (TITAN) Clinton College, Wellness and Community Health Institute (WACH)

“It is imperative for these kinds of relationships to come together to be able to move the state of South Carolina forward,” Scott said.


SCIII’s executive director, Dr. Gwynth Nelson says she and Sen. Scott are very excited to be a part of such an impactful project. “It’s a game changer for the community and the people in the community,” she said.


Senator Scott and Dr. Nelson have worked together for several years. “She has a wealth of knowledge, and that’s what we need. She was my first choice. I knew that she understood what this vision is all about,” Scott

“We began to look at making some other changes in the state, as it relates to what are those things we can do to make rural counties better,” Scott Onesaid.

Thesaid.SCIII will also provide scholarships and

SCIII’s founding objectives are to connect current and future students with South Carolina business and industry leaders, create educational opportunities and initiatives through seminars, webinars and industry related summits, and bridge the gap between students, community, and industry leaders.

Nelson’s role as director is to serve HBCUs, ensure they have an accountability on creating the institutes and setting goals and objectives for the Dr.institutes.Nelson has almost 20 years of experience working with HBCUs and says HBCUs are where her heart is. “HBCUs are where I feel like I can make a difference,” she said.

of his top priorities is getting students to return to South Carolina after receiving their education and improving the communities. “We want our best and brightest to stay home. We want to train our best and brightest,” he said. Scott says in a recent state committee meeting, he listened to The Citadel, a predominantly white military college in Charleston, SC, discuss what universities they were partnering with. “They mentioned no HBCUs; although, you have all these HBCUs doing some of the same things that The Citadel is doing,” Scott said.

Scott says 22 out of South Carolina’s 46 counties have lost population. Most of the counties were rural Whencounties.developing the vision for SCIII, Scott says he often proposed the question ‘How can we make the communities better?’

Dr. Nelson says although SCIII is currently in South Carolina, its goal is to spread nationally and “Weinternationally.areactually in the process of creating partnerships internationally already,” she said.

“You allow students to gain some exposure while they’re in college, through summer internships, regular internships as well as working alongside people at these jobs. We need our students ready for the workforce once they graduate,” Sen. Scott SCIIIsaid.

internship opportunities for HBCU students. Nelson says one of the SCIII’s biggest goals is to land paid internships that can hopefully lead to long-term employment so that students can stay in the state of South Carolina.


“We are looking to have that up and running very soon,” Nelson said. Scott says the institute is looking for corporates to be a part of the foundation to help finance it.

is in the process of creating a foundation so the public can donate to the institutes.

“The funding from SCIII also allows teachers and staff to get upgrades, training and to be able to attract some of the best minds in the country to come into these schools, to provide some training and some conversation and some direction and invite these students to look at other locations in the world and see exactly what they’re doing to solve problems in communities,” Scott said.

“In the United States, we are in the midst of a racial reckoning in our society and it’s imperative that, especially African Americans become more involved, just not in the public sector, but in the private sector,” said Dr. Nelson. Going into the next fiscal year, Dr. Nelson says she wants each institute to identify their quantitative goals “so that people can see the value.”

Sen. Scott says there are big plans in the works for Morris College.

“Obviously [we] can see the value, but we want others to see the value of SCIII,” Nelson said.

“Benedict College has already received one federal grant for approximately $40,000 by using BECT as an instrument,” said Sen. Scott.


“Morris is right in the back door of Shaw Air Force Base. Morris can do a lot of things as far as working with securities, technology, information, along with the students learning more about the military, military training, and other things that are there,” he said.

Clinton College has a transitional center, which focuses on people transitioning back into the “It’scommunity.agoalfor Clinton College to create partnerships with both North Carolina and South Carolina while discovering better ways to improve public health not just at HBCUs but within communities,” Scott said. “What better group to train young people firsthand coming out of school so they understand exactly what’s going on in public health?” he asked. South Carolina State University’s BECT Institute is creating an advisory board, having lectureships, and conducting a feasibility study concerning the transportation modes and improving the transportation modes of students. Dr. Nelson says Claflin University is doing phenomenal work with their education program and nursing program. She believes SCIII gives a focus that enables each higher education institute to set strategic goals and be more intentional with the needs of each specific institute. “I think it’s also important to know that SCIII is creating not just corporate partnerships but partnerships and cohesiveness with the HBCUs,” Dr. Nelson said. Nelson says she is very passionate that SCIII has the ability to assist HBCUs nationally to be more transformational than transactional. “What I mean by that is being more intentional in your goals and how you set and accomplish those goals,” she said. Sen. Scott says SCIII is not just in a theory “Webusiness.arealso in the practical business that what’s being taught is practical in these young people,” he Whilesaid.working diligently to bring visions for HBCUs into fruition, Dr. Nelson says she has learned from Sen. Scott that failure is not an “Thatoption.is our motto. Failure is definitely not an option,” she said.



“I never saw myself as an educator, that was not my path. Nor did I ever dream that I would ever be remotely interested in being chancellor of a university.” Although Darrell T. Allison did not foresee it, in March of 2021 he was named the 12th chancellor of Fayetteville State University (FSU), where under his leadership the university has had a transformative year. How did this attorney’s path lead to academia? Allison’s humble beginnings were not an indicator of his current position. Growing up in a North Carolina mill town, it was an ambitious dream to even envision attending college, “I did pretty well in school. The challenge for me was coming from one of the lowest-level counties in North Carolina. I was a first-generation college student. My mom and dad worked in the cotton mill. There’s no way that they could afford to send me to college. North Carolina Central University (NCCU) was a lifeline for me. The university not only accepted me but offered me a full ride academic scholarship. But for that scholarship, I might have been working in the mill,” said Allison. As a student, Allison did not take the opportunity he had been awarded lightly. He chose political science as his major with the intention to pursue a career in law. While attending North Carolina Central, he remained

Allison’s experience in Washington, D.C. was so impactful that he returned to the city after graduating from North Carolina Central in 1994 and worked in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice before returning to North Carolina to attend law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1999. His post law schoolwork included education policy. Twenty years after leaving North Carolina Central, Allison became a trustee at his alma mater, which he describes as a full circle moment at the school that betted on him. In 2017, Allison began his tenure on North Carolina’s 24-member Board of Governors that oversees the university system in the state. At the time, he was the only member that was a graduate of an HBCU. During his three years on the board, Allison was an advocate for institutions in the system that served minority students and became the first chair of the Historically Minority-Serving Institutions (HMSI) Committee. As HMSI chair, he spearheaded a provision that awarded all 17 UNC System institutions with a minimum $2 million annual allocation for repairs and renovations. North Carolina has more public HBCUs than any other state. “The opportunity at Fayetteville State University arose. Seventy percent or more of the students need some type of financial aid to make it happen for them. About 70% or more of those students are first generation students. And so, it connected with me. Because at this time 30 plus years ago, that profile of a student was me,” said Allison. Serving a student population that mirrored his collegiate experience appealed to Allison. He credits his tenure as a trustee at NCCU on educating him on the inner workings of a university from the administrative perspective, and his time on the Board of Governors expanded his knowledge by exposing him to the entire university system. Although Allison is not a traditional academic, he had the desire to be impactful in the lives of students at FSU as he had been by Chancellor Chambers and others as a student at North Carolina Central. “For

studious and capitalized on opportunities that were presented. One of the most impactful opportunities came about during Allison’s second year of college after prominent civil rights attorney Julius Chambers became the chancellor of North Carolina Central. Through Chambers’ relationship with then President Bill Clinton, NCCU students were invited to participate in the White House Internship Program for the first time. Allison was one of the students that was chosen. He says of the experience, “That really opened up the door for me. You’re at school, learning about policy, but to be able to be there in the city where it all happens, to be walking the halls and seeing the president, vice president and others...it left an indelible mark on me.”



what I’ve been afforded, it is incumbent upon me to give that back and more. I know how life changing, generationally changing, educational opportunities can be. I felt like, I had some skills, resources and more importantly, I have the passion and compassion to be a good chancellor here at Fayetteville State University.”


Regarding his first year as chancellor, Allison describes it as “off to a good start.” His description is modest, as he has achieved several major accomplishments within the first year of his administration. In November 2021, Fayetteville State received $164 million from the North Carolina General Assembly. Although FSU is the second oldest public university in the state, only following the renowned University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it had never received an allocation of this size in the school’s 155-year history. “This was a high priority. We were historically an under-sourced institution, and it was high time that we get that right aligned. We’re not there yet, but trying to reset expectation and anticipation. I feel like we’re off to a tremendous start. I’m happy to say that when you look at the overall allocations for all of our 16 schools, in the system, where Fayetteville State University had traditionally been the 15th or 16th out of 16th resourced institutions from the state, this past budget year, we were in the top five,” stated Allison. “As a result of this allocation, the university will construct a new College of Education, new residential hall, and new parking deck as well as fund the renovation and maintenance of existing campus buildings.”

•The Military Order of the Purple Heart designated Fayetteville State University a Purple Heart University, making FSU the first university in the University of North Carolina System to receive the honor. The designation is in recognition of FSU’s history of supporting veterans and their families.

•Fundraisingdebt-free.increased by more than $500,000, for a total of $2 million raised between March 2021 through February 2022.

Going forward, he says there’s still much more work to do to execute all of his plans, complete the projects and advance the culture at FSU. The chancellor is looking toward the future with optimism and not resting on his past success, “I think the best is yet to come. We’ve been around a long time, two years since the Civil War, 1867. I still believe the best is yet to come out of Bronco Nation.”

•FSU cleared $1.6 million in past-due balances of students from fall 2019 to spring 2021, allowing 1,442 FSU students to begin the fall 2021 semester

•Secured an investment of $282,000 from PNC and established the FSU E-Lab to foster entrepreneurship. Allison admits that his stellar first year is only the beginning. He has launched programs and initiatives and outlined many more projects.


Summer School, is a tool designed to retain students, “Before I got here, Fayetteville State University was at the bottom in terms of retention and graduation rates of the 16 schools in the system. We’ve got to make sure that we retain our students. We’ve got to make sure that we graduate them at four years or less. Anything beyond that means more debt. We take care of the tuition. We take care of room and board for those that need it. A nd we take care of food if you need it. If you sign the contract and attempt those 15 credit hours, you’ll have a chance over the summer to take up to seven credit hours, that’d be no expense to you. We’re gonna get you across the finish line.” The full-paid scholarship program served nearly 1,300 FSU students in spring 2021. In addition to the aforementioned, Allison’s list of accomplishments includes:


When you drill down and look at the statistics, Black women earn only 63% of what white, non-Hispanic men earn. It’s a racial wealth gap that is deepseated in the United States, and governmentsponsored efforts to address the problem have been woefully lacking to date. One non-profit organization in Columbia, MD, however, is striving to elevate women of color( WOC) entrepreneurs, potentially making a dent in that wealth gap. If successful, the founders hope it’s a model that could eventually roll out nationwide. That organization, The 3rd, is over 100 members strong so far. A first of its kind, The 3rd is serving as an incubator for WOC, complete with conference rooms, meeting space, marketing support, a café and restaurant, storefront, and much more. New WOC-owned businesses can find all the tools and support they need to get off the ground, flourish and Helpinggrow.to launch and sustain The 3rd’s success are two HBCU graduates, who both sit on the organization’s founding board of advisors. Patricia Marshall, who received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry/pre-med from Xavier University in 1986 and an MBA from Clark Atlanta University, and Mahoganey Butler, a 2001 graduate of Spelman, who received a law degree from the University of Maryland. Both say their HBCU backgrounds provided them with the skills and motivation to play a role in helping The 3rd succeed. “The 3rd serves a critical need in the community and addresses a population of businesses that often goes ignored,” says Marshall. “The organization brings a holistic environment to BY AMANDA LOUDIN


CONNECT . MOTIVATE . INSPIRE . 51 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 nurture these startups into mature businesses.”

Similarly, Marshall points to her HBCU experience

Like Marshall, Butler views The 3rd’s physical space as a critical step forward to its success. “This is a very diverse community,” she says of Columbia, the nation’s first planned community, “and most residents are aware of that. But the space will give The 3rd a tangible presence to celebrate that—seeing it and touching it provides a good way to represent diversity.”

The HBCU experience plays out When Butler looks back at her experience at Spelman, it’s easy to see how her time there led to her role with The 3rd. “From the moment you first walk through the gates at Spelman, you learn to respect, support and encourage the legacy of successful Black women,” she says. “We are taught there that we are intelligent, strong, capable, diverse humans. Being able to continue that mantra in the adult world by supporting entrepreneurs is a gift. I’m happy to give back.”

The face of The 3rd, in fact, is incredibly diverse. “It’s not just Black women, but Asian, Latina, Muslim—it’s all of us,” says Butler. “It’s nice for people to see that in front of them.”

Marshall brings her financial savvy to the table at The 3rd, helping members connect to partners and funding. “What these corporate and foundation partners bring is not only money, but tech assistance, curriculum and mentorships for these small businesses,” she explains. “When you weave in this support, it leads to positive Withoutcomes.”thesoon-to-open physical space that The 3rd will occupy, Marshall says these potential partners can better see and envision what the organization provides. “The partners can see this is more than just an idea, and we can impress upon them that this is an ecosystem they can be part of,” she says. “Corporations can sense that something great is happening here.” For her part, Butler brings the legal expertise to The 3rd. “I enjoy being a mentor and look forward to putting my experience to use for these budding entrepreneurs,” she says. “From my career background, I’ve been able to see what does and doesn’t work in the long run, so I can apply that knowledge in this role.”

“When you look at HBCUs, most are on smaller campuses in urban settings, so you get to know all the students on campus and the community surrounding you,” she says. “It’s a welcoming and nurturing environment, and you develop a network of support.”

It also serves the crucial role of uplifting a population of businesses that have long fought for equity of support. Marshall, who has worked in minority business development for 30 years, understands this better than most. “The world hasn’t changed that much in my professional career,” she says. “There are still issues and challenges when it comes to embracing minorityowned businesses. I’m hopeful that my skills can help these women wade through the waters to secure the contracts they need for success.”


With that ecosystem lifting you up, says Marshall, it becomes second nature to continue that legacy in the greater world after graduation. “It’s embedded in you when you leave campus,” she says. “The 3rd is a campus per se, one that helps you pursue your business interests.”


for providing a natural path to supporting The 3rd.

For Butler, her involvement with The 3rd serves as something of a full circle moment. “I grew up in Columbia and this is the community that got me to Spelman,” she points out. “It’s nice to come back and make a difference here.” With a unique model and support lining up behind it, The 3rd is well positioned to be a change maker. The hope of Marshall, Butler and other women behind the organization is that it will be embraced by the greater community, lending to its success. “You don’t have to be a person of color to support what The 3rd is doing,” says Marshall. “But we must continue to uplift the organization and its founder (CEO Laura Bacon). To be part of this team and help turn it into a reality is a blessing.”



Dr. Katara A. Williams has recently been appointed as a Vice Chancellor at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Prior to this position, Williams served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives for the Southern University System—the nation’s only Historically Black College System. Williams was previously appointed by Governor Edwards as the Executive Director for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Williams is a skilled professional with an impressive track record in the education, policy, and public affairs sectors. Having worked for more than 20 years in both K-12 and higher education, Dr. Williams has made her mark around the state and nation as an advocate for education. Prior to returning to Southern University as a top administrator,

Williams served as the Associate Commissioner for Public Affairs and Advisor to the Council of Student Body Presidents at the Louisiana Board of Regents. Williams has also worked at the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), where she developed and executed stakeholder engagement strategies statewide for Louisiana’s teacher evaluation system. Williams remains actively engaged in the community and beyond by serving on the Learn for Life National Advisory Board, the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, and an evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Williams has also dedicated her time and talent as a past board member for Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), the North



Baton Rouge Women’s Help Center, the Baton Rouge Ballet Theater, and the YWCA of Greater BR to name a few. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a lifetime member of the Southern University Alumni Federation and the 1880 WilliamsSociety.has been recognized nationally for her commitment to education and is a life-long learner. She is a 2012 graduate of the 2012 Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Leadership Baton Rouge Class, 2014 graduate of the Council for a Better Louisiana’s Leadership Louisiana Class, 2015 graduate of the Higher Education Foundation’s Leadership Institute, 2015 member of the American Council of Education’s (ACE) Aspiring Leaders cohort, and a 2019-2020 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Fellow. Williams has been recognized by HBCU Campaign as one of Ten HBCU Alumni to Watch, and most recently she was recognized as a Southern University Leading Lady and a Woman of Excellence by the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Chamber of WilliamsCommerce.isa proud alumna of Southern University and A&M College where she holds a B.A. in mass communications, M.A. in public relations, and Ph.D. in public policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy. She is also an adjunct professor in public policy where she teaches courses in political leadership, philosophy, diversity, equity and inclusion and philanthropy.


Kayla Raynelle Robinson is a native of the Chicagoland Area and the third of four children. She has two brothers and one sister. She attended Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, graduating in the top ten percentile of her class. She is a proud 2017 graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering. Kayla furthered her education by continuing onto graduate school at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. Here, she completed her Masters of Engineering in Engineering Management (MEM) in 2018. Kayla currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she is an engineer for one of the largest chemical companies worldwide. Kayla has always been heavily involved in volunteering and giving back to the community as she actively participates in a wide-range of public service activities while sustaining a full-time working career. Kayla is a strong advocate for increasing minority interest and involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). She participates in events within her community by engaging with the youth to introduce them to the opportunities the STEM field has to offer. Kayla is a proud member of the Illustrious Sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on several committees. She is a lifetime member of the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association. Kayla is also a member of the Junior League of Baton Rouge making an impact on her community by working with a diverse group of women. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is an active traveler domestically and internationally. And when it’s football season, Kayla attends the New Orleans Saints home games, as she is a season ticket holder.


56 | HBCU TIMES FALL ISSUE 2022 Home of the HBCU Entrepreneurship Conference. Join us Oct. 6. 2022 TAKING TOMORROW. BOLDLY. Learn more at bowiestate.edu/e-ship Next-generation innovators find a home in Bowie State University’s new Entrepreneurship Innovation Center. Faculty, business mentors and community partners meet students where they live to develop an entrepreneurial mindset for launching business ventures or solving real-world problems in any career.

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