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Are HBCUs Still Relevant? (734 hits)

I read this article at DiversityInc.com, written by Daryl Hannah -- a Morehouse graduate, that I thought would be very relevant to this audience. I am not an HBCU graduate, but my mother was a graduate of Virginia State University, and one of my brothers attended Hampton.

Read the full article here: http://www.diversityinc.com/public/5041.cfm

"Would I have the same confidence in my abilities working in corporate America, which is overwhelmingly run by white men, had I not attended a school that demanded I view myself as equal? Would I feel the same level of comfort discussing economic policy with the partner and cofounder of my company had I not attended a school that forced me to think globally and understand the global economy?

"Honestly, probably not. "

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I agree that HBCUs are relevant today, but for only half of the reason that Daryl sites. He correctly points out the root problem -- the isolation and lack of confidence of young Black professionals. I experienced the same challenge when I graduated from high school as a Black man in 1964. However, I found that attending George Washington University did exactly for me what Morehouse did for Daryl. It provided me with the experience, educational and social environment, and the confidence to have a long career at IBM as a sales executive. I never would have thought about a sales career with the premier IT company in the world without the foundation I received at the School of Government and Business at GW.

I think HBCUs serve to provide an anchor for the Black culture and historical prgress in the struggle for equality. I believe all Blacks should support HBCUs to preserve this heritage, and make them stronger institutions. The HBCUs need to figure out how to partner with mainstream schools to create a shared educational experience for those who are more comfortable in a predominantly Black environment during their formative years. The world beyond the HBCUs is very different.

Roger Madison
CEO, iZania LLC
www.izania.com

Posted By: Roger E Madison Jr
Thursday, January 8th 2009 at 10:53AM
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