By: Camia Galloway

The HBCU Futures Conference was a wonderful event filled with an abundance of opportunities. The event lasted eight days with numerous keynote speakers including Dr. Mathew Knowles, Jacquie McWilliams Parker, Dr. Kenneth L. Harris, Lizalyn Smith, and more. With over 100 HBCUs invited and over 300 students involved, the function was a pure success. It was a perfect mix of students, alumni, faculty, staff, advocates, and entrepreneurs. Throughout the conference, there was a giveaway of laptops and book scholarships that were consistently awarded to many HBCU scholars across the country. It was an amazing opportunity that allowed the HBCU Advocate along with big contributors, such as JPMorgan, the National Science Foundation, and Plexo Capital to give back to the students.

On day one of the event, Michael O. Ugwueke, DHA, MPH, FACHE, Shaw University Alum, caught my attention. As the President and Executive Chief Officer of Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare (MLH), the story of his upbringing captured my interest. The story he told about his brother being the key factor that fueled his passion for aiding people meant a lot to me. He is a big inspiration to many and it was great to hear from him. 

On September 30th, The Student Success Day was launched. Terri Thomas, Community Manager with JPMorgan Chase, hosted “The Money Matters” panel providing great insight on creating an attention-grabbing resume, building your credit, and obtaining internships. Also, throughout the day students from Howard University, North Carolina Central University, Alabama State University, Fayetteville State University, Spelman College, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, and Bowie State University were awarded book scholarships. Overall, the conference shined a light on HBCUs and provided students with the necessary tips, tricks, and goodies to elevate their futures.

The HBCU Futures Conference was a delightful experience I am glad to have attended. It highlighted the importance of having black institutions and continuing to evolve students and provide them with a sense of nurture and security. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are the pinnacles of black excellence and this special occasion showed that.