The Florida A&M University Black History Month Virtual Town Hall, “Lift Ev’ry Voice” took place Tuesday evening. It focused on the impact of HBCUs and punctuated the relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The meeting was moderated by Carmen Cummings, an alumna of Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, and an ambassador serving as the assistant vice president of University Engagement and Alumni Affairs.
FAMU President Larry Robinson called for an esteemed panel of HBCU presidents: Roslyn Clark of Benedict College; Javuane Adamas-Gaston of Norfolk State University; and Thomas K. Hudson of Jackson State University.
Robinson reflected on the stellar leadership in institutions and serving as role models for the community as the meeting got underway.
The virtual event allowed each of the HBCU presidents to lift their voice and express the impact of HBCUs and the role of higher education.
Following Robinson’s remarks, Cummings introduced each of the presidents.
Adams-Gaston, president of Norfolk University, addressed the mission for HBCUs in the modern world and why it is critical to have successful HBCUs.
“We serve a population of students that have decided that they want an excellent education in an environment where, when they walk on campus, they feel embraced, they feel cared about, and they feel it is their space,” Adams-Gaston said. “And that is a really important component of what we try to do at Norfolk University, and we know we are successful because we have seen the data that tells us.”
Adams-Gaston added, “In higher education there is much space for many institutions and HBCUs are a critical component of that success.”
Clark Artis, president of private Benedict College, distinguished the importance of students attending an HBCU and the success rate after students graduate.
“We offer a culturally sensitive alternative to higher education,” she said. “Not only as a measure of their personal satisfaction and their quality of life, economically. The most recent economic impact statement completed by the United Negro Colle Fund clearly indicated that HBCUs punch above their weight. That students who attend and complete at HBCUs will increase their earning capacity significantly over their lifetimes.”
Throughout the town hall, the conversation continued to embrace the culture of HBCUs and address the importance of an HBCU president and leader at the school.
Towards the end of the meeting, Robinson expounded on the strategy of recruitment.
“I want to point out that it’s to recruit the best and the brightest students,” Robinson said. “However, these institutions go a bit deeper. You don’t have to be in the 95th percentile to come to FAMU. We are very conscious about our recruitment strategy.”
If you missed the Black History Month Virtual Town Hall “Lift Ev’ry Voice,” visit Florida A&M’s Facebook page to watch the recording of the meeting.