Sunday, May 11, 2008

Aiming Higher For Our HBCU

We’d feel better about our public tax money being funneled to a private college – Lemoyne-Owen College - if we were getting some signals that it’s making the kinds of strides that will set it on a new financial and academic foundation.

One such indication would be that Lemoyne-Owen College was included in the significant funding of the United Negro College Fund. A few weeks ago, it provided about $6 million in grants, and regrettably, our HBCU wasn’t on the list.

The regular rescue missions for the college have focused on getting it out of another financial ditch when the primary attention should be focused on considering how to make it part of the so-called “ebony tower,” the select historically black college and universities that make up the African-American ivy league.

But it can be done. Case in point: Clark Atlanta University.

Created 20 years ago through the merger of two historically black colleges, it shook off a reputation for easy admissions and now accepts about half of the students who apply. With a focus on engineering and science and the aggressive pursuit of federal grants, the university has risen from average to being frequently mentioned as one of the best HBCUs.

All of this is to say that it’s not impossible for Lemoyne-Owen College to become one of the nation’s best, but it’s going to take more than infusions of crisis-related funding and volumes of political rhetoric about failed leadership and petty politics. In fact, if anything, this approach to addressing the college’s future does nothing but devalue it, relegating it to nothing more than a political pawn rather than a center of quality education.


Anonymous said...

It is going to take some leadership that they don't currently have on either the board or the administration.

Anonymous said...

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