Asia Haney fell in love with Huston-Tillotson University the day she stepped on campus.
The school in Austin, Texas, is one of the 11 historically black colleges and universities supported by The United Methodist Church through its Black College Fund.
Haney grew up in a single-parent home in Dallas, and while she had the support of her mother, aunts and siblings, she said she had to learn from an early age to be independent. "I had a lot of support and motivation, but didn't necessarily have the footsteps to follow, so I created my own path," she said.
Attending a historically black college allowed Haney to find her voice. She was active with several organizations on campus and served as senior class president. "My college experience has changed my life tremendously. … Having like-minded peers to support me and hold me accountable for my actions is one of the things that kept me on track," she said.
She urges United Methodists to continue to support historically black colleges and universities through the Black College Fund.
"The legacy being left due to the BCF is one of tradition, passion, resilience, ambition, of pride that they are instilling in each student. … It is important to our student body. It is important to our campus tradition. It is important to the church that we continue to invest in our students spiritually and financially," she said.
"The spiritual feeding that The United Methodist Church offers keeps our students spiritually filled and actively pursuing opportunities to better themselves and (their) community."
After graduation, Haney returned to Huston-Tillotson, where she is leading others on the path to success as a senior admissions counselor. She said she has enjoyed sharing what she's learned with new students. She encourages them to pursue scholarships and participate in community service and other activities.
"It so necessary for young African-American men and women like myself to keep African-American youth engaged in the options of education and how important education is to the success of our people. … There is rich tradition that can only be captured by attending a historically black college or university. The passion that each faculty member possesses and the history that each HBCU holds true is so needed and valued in our culture, especially with what's going on in society today," she said.
"At Huston-Tillotson University, we consider ourselves a family from the day you step on campus until the day you die. … We support one another. Being a member of HTU, as a student and now a staff member, the love, dedication, support, but also accountability and pressure to always continuously strive for success, has never ended, and we instill that in each and every student we come across."
Haney hopes to start her own consulting company one day to help young women like herself to be entrepreneurs and business owners. She wants to give them the tools they need to be equipped and successful in their fields, just as Huston-Tillotson has done for her.
"The BCF plants a seed in each student — providing hope to fulfill their dreams, their passions, as well as anything they are willing to set their minds to accomplish."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.