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White House Initiative on HBCUs Announces 2021 Scholars

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The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Initiative) announced in August its 8th cohort of HBCU Scholars. This program recognizes 86 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, civic engagement and much more.

Currently enrolled at 54 of our nation’s HBCUs, the scholars were selected from an applicant pool of over 200 students who submitted completed applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and letter of recommendation. Applications also required the signature of their university president, adding a level of prestige to this application process.

“The HBCU Scholars announced all have demonstrated remarkable dedication to their learning and exemplify the talent that our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have nurtured for generations,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The students who hold this honor are committed to creating a more just and equitable society through their civic engagement. They are leaders and change-makers in their communities, and I cannot wait to learn from them as they serve as ambassadors both for the White House Initiative and their institutions of higher education.”

Below are students that were honored from and all schools are supported by The United Methodist Church's Black College Fund:

  1. Zauria Murphy attends Bennet College in Greensboro, NC
  2. Brandon Graham and Valerie Bennett attends Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA
  3. Jerika Edwards and Spencer Jones attends Dillard University in New Orleans, LA
  4. Memphis- Kelsey Henderson attends Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN
  5. LeShawn Doolittle and Madison Stafforf attends Paine College in Augusta, GA
  6. J ‘Nya Thompson attends Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR
  7. Columbus- Ganesa Williams attends Rust College in Holy Springs, MS

Over the course of an academic school year, the HBCU Scholars selected through this program will serve as ambassadors of the Initiative and their respected institution. The Initiative will provide scholars with information about the value of education as well as networking opportunities. Scholars can also share these resources with their fellow students.

Through their relationships with community-based organizations, and public and private partners, all of which are gained through this recognition, scholars will also share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.

This cohort of HBCU Scholars will also participate in national and regional events and monthly classes with Elyse Jones, HBCU Scholar Program Coordinator, Initiative staff and other professionals from a wide range of disciplines.

“Supporting the next generation of student leaders who will continue their education and graduate from HBCUs has been the highlight and joy of my career with the Initiative” says Elyse Jones, HBCU Scholar Program Coordinator”

Selected HBCU Scholars was invited to the 2021 HBCU Week National Annual Conference, which took place in September. This year’s conference theme was “Exploring Equity.” Scholars participated in sessions about entrepreneurship, innovation, and personal and professional development.

excerpt from Press Release, Department of Education, Washington DC

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.