HBCU Advocates Unite to Ensure Future Success

“What you learn at an HBCU is that you do not have to fit into somebody’s limited perspective on what it means to be young, gifted and black,” Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris, Howard University Class of ’86.

For over 150 years historically Black colleges and universities have operated as pillars of the Black community offering not only the highest tiers of education for students but support for those communities as well.

From these universities hail some of the best scholars, doctors, educators, engineers, thespians, journalists and more. To shape the future for historically Black colleges and universities, the HBCU conference is being held virtually on October 16 and October 17from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Complete with virtual workshops, panel discussions, speakers, networking events, a college fair and a career fair; attendees will also have the opportunity to compete in a pitch contest, which will take place at 1:00 pm on October 17.  Founders of new startups or ventures will have the opportunity to explain their idea in four minutes or less and potentially win $20,000 in equity-free cash and also prizes.

The workshop and panels for the weekend include the Future of HBCU Sports, Fundraising for Universities, Successful Entrepreneurship Under Any Conditions, Getting Rid Of Student Loan Debt, Healthcare Advocacy, Funding for College, Obtaining Research Grants, Achieving Virtual Teaching Success, and A Financial Literacy Legacy and Career Readiness. The final panel on Saturday will be from 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm on the State of HBCU’s and the Best Steps Forward, in which Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Dr. Harry L. Williams, President of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennessee State University and National President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated will discuss the current conditions of HBCU’s and how they can build an even brighter future for the next generations. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated President and former Shaw University President, Dr. Everett B. Ward will also participate in the discussion.

There will be speakers throughout the conference including a Fireside Chat on Friday with Dominion Energy’s recently promoted Regional Policy Director, Bonita Billingsley Harris and Dr. Joycelyn Harrison, the Associate Research Dean at Kent State University, who graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

Harrison has completed a great amount of research in robotics and its use in outer space. She also worked at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and has won numerous awards for her work. Harris and Harrison were dormmates at Spelman College, and Harris recently had the honor of recommending Harrison for one of the prestigious Strong Men and Women in Virginia History Awards by Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia.

On Saturday, a Fireside Chat with Reginal Bryant, a Bowie State University Alum and Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Federal Reserve Bank will take place. Later on Saturday, Commissioners from three athletic conferences, including the CIAA, the MEAC and the SIAC will discuss the future of HBCU sports.

Another interesting aspect of the HBCU Futures Conference is the HBCU Women in Tech panel which touts women with resumes to rival any Silicon Valley techie. The women in tech who will participate in the conference work at companies like Google, LinkedIn, Slack and Accenture.

To make the online experience complete there will also be live jazz at a virtual networking Happy Hour on Friday from 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm. “I am happy to be able to bring many of the thought leaders in the HBCU ecosystem together to ensure that we continue to build on the strong foundation that HBCUs have provided for our communities for more than a century,” said Angela Jones, founder and publisher of The HBCU Advocate, the organizers of the event. Join the HBCU Futures Conference this October 16and 17to help ensure the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the students who attend them and the communities that rely on their success. The HBCU Futures Conference sponsors and partners include IBM, Verizon, Dominion Energy, Base10 Partners, Plexo Capital, Cigna, Nick and Tia Caldwell, State Farm, McDonald’s and Mercedes-Benz. 

The conference is free for students to attend and only $20 for HBCU alumni. Faculty, staff and advocates of HBCUs are also invited to attend. Visit hbcufutures.splashthat.com to learn more about the conference.

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