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The Value of HBCUs –  Part II

By James Clingman NNPA Columnist | 2/28/2014, 6 a.m.

We must also work to keep our schools on solid financial ground, the responsibility of which starts with the president and his cabinet.  Good stewardship of HBCU funds is essential.  Just like any business, Howard and all HBCUs must diversify income streams, invest in new information technology, and continue to provide high quality education in the face of rising costs.

One day we may get a Ken Griffin to step up for an HBCU, but until then and even afterward, we must exercise our collective responsibility to support our own schools.  There are probably a million members of black fraternities and sororities.  A fund could be established in which each one would deposit a minimum of $10 per month to be given to their respective HBCU each year.  Howard University is the alma mater of thousands, many of whom are doing very well financially and probably would donate much more on a monthly basis.  Masons, Shriners, religious groups, business and professional associations could do likewise.  The keys to helping ourselves are commitment, sacrifice, consistency, and sustainability.

We often talk about the “State of HBCUs,” but this is about the “Fate of HBCUs.”  Will we determine that fate or leave it up to others?  By working together in support of our colleges and universities, we can mitigate out-of-reach tuitions, provide more educational opportunities for our young people, and maintain the high quality and tradition of our valuable and valued HBCUs.  A statement made by Howard’s interim president, Wayne Frederick, speaks volumes: “Howard wrapped me in an audacity by believing in me and creating an environment that made me comfortable.”  There’s that word again, “Audacity.”