Fisk University hosted the U.S. Department of Education’s President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) on Tuesday, January 13 in the Appleton Room of Jubilee Hall.
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs Dr. Leonard Haynes and Board Chairman Dr. Louis Sullivan heard reports from seven college presidents of HBCUs in Tennessee that included Fisk University President Hazel R. O’Leary, Meharry Medical College President Wayne J. Riley and Tennessee State University President Melvin N. Johnson.
“Our university continues to produce graduates who serve our communities as members of government, inspire young scholars as educators and excel in scientific research,” said Fisk University President Hazel R. O’Leary. “We are grateful for this opportunity to host our colleagues as we collaborate on ways to garner additional support for our institutions.”
President O’Leary was joined by graduate physics students and members of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters to Ph.D. Bridge Program Erica Morgan and Ebony Walker along with Fisk senior and physics major Leah Randle.
Morgan will graduate in May with a Masters in Physics and Walker is pursuing her Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Materials Science. Randle is a member of Fisk’s Altitude Achievement Missile Team and is the first African American Woman to receive level 1 and level 2 certification from the National Association of Rocketry. These students offered commentary on the value of their experiences as science scholars at Fisk.
Beginning in 1980, President Jimmy Carter established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in order to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs. The Initiative advocates for HBCUs and encourages the development of partnerships between HBCUs and corporate and non-profit organizations.
The President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities meets to advise the President of the United States and the Secretary of Education on ways to strengthen the 105 HBCUs in the United States through both federal and private support.
Founded in 1866, Fisk is Nashville’s first university. According to the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, Fisk University ranks in the top 23 % of all institutions receiving federal physics-related research funds, has an economic impact of $42 million on its local community and produces more African Americans who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the physical sciences than any school in the nation. In 2008, the University’s Jubilee Singers were awarded the National Medal of the Arts.