High school students have the chance to experience life at a historically Black college and university (HBCU) during a weeklong series of events, mirroring the legendary HBCU homecoming experience.
HBCU Week, which starts Wednesday and runs until Sunday, will have a plethora of events in Wilmington, Del., that will showcase HBCUs academic offerings, programming, history and pride.
Launched by Ashley Christopher in 2017 under the leadership of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, the mission of the HBCU Week Foundation is to encourage high school students to enroll in HBCUs, provide scholarships for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment for undergraduate school to corporate America.
“Our goal with HBCU week is to provide Black and brown students the chance to experience what life is like at an HBCU, a clear path to enrollment, scholarships and the connections to confidently own their power throughout their careers,” said Christopher, founder and CEO of the HBCU Week Foundation.
“As a double-HBCU alumna, I know firsthand that culture and community played an integral part in growing confidence and helped me find and amplify my voice as a Black woman,” she added.
This year’s events will include a middle-school college tour of Delaware State University; panel discussion; a Battle of the Bands with Delaware State University, Virginia State University and Howard University; a comedy show featuring comedian and actor Michael Blackson; and a concert featuring hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Rick Ross and singer and actress Mya.
The sixth annual college fair will feature 34 HBCUs and 10 corporations in which students will have the chance to engage with college recruiters and corporate partners one-on-one to discuss admission, scholarships and internships.
Among the participating colleges and universities include Alabama A&M University; American Baptist College; Benedict College; Bethune Cookman University; Bowie State University; Cheyney University; Clark Atlanta University; Clinton College; Coppin State University; Delaware State University; Hampton University; Howard University; Spelman College; Lane College; Lincoln University (Pa.); Livingstone College; Morgan State University; North Carolina A&T; Southern University and A&M; St. Augustine’s University; Tougaloo College; University of D.C.; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Virginia State University; Voorhees University; and West Virginia State University.
Last year, 528 students received on-the-spot acceptances, 226 students were offered partial scholarships, 224 students received full-ride offers, 478 students received full scholarships and nearly $10,446,503 in scholarships was awarded.
Since 2017, the college fair has resulted in more than 3,500 on-the-spot college acceptances and more than $23 million in scholarships awarded by HBCUs and corporate partners.
“We have an exciting lineup of events throughout the week, but the cornerstone event and the most impact is generated at our college fair,” Christopher said. “We already have thousands of students signed up to attend.”
This year’s HBCU Week will also include the presentation of a $10,000 Mike Purzycki Changemaker Scholarship to a student who lives in Wilmington and has committed to an HBCU.
“HBCU Week has been extremely successful because of the outpouring of support from local students,” Purzycki said in a statement.
“I can’t wait for our young people to learn about all of the possibilities and opportunities that HBCUs have to offer them,” he added.
Christopher, who is an alumna of Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., said it’s important for students to know the history, academic offerings and pride of attending an HBCU.
“HBCUs are not second-rate institutions,” Christopher said. “They continue to graduate some of the best and brightest talent every year from Kamala Harris, Chadwick Boseman and Stephen A. Smith to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Martin Luther King.
“The list goes on and on of all the invaluable people that have graduated from HBCUs and have made a significant impact on the world,” she added. “It’s so important that students know that they can do and be anything coming from an HBCU.”
For more information about HBCU week, visit www.hbcuweek.org.