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HBCU-9 Summit Celebrates Past and Looks to Future

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Author: Hazel Scott

Release Date: Oct 04, 2017

Alabama State University participated in the HBCU-9 Summit consisting of institutions celebrating their sesquicentennial.

Alabama State University president Dr. Quinton Ross and eight other HBCUs presidents held a united celebration, titled “HBCU-9 United Sesquicentennial Celebration,” on the campus of Baltimore’s Morgan State University to honor their 150th birthdays and years of black excellence in education.

The “HBCU-9 United Sesquicentennial Celebration” was a weeklong series of events focusing on the legacy and achievements not only of the nine institutions, but also the accomplishments of other HBCUs across the nation. The institutions exchanged information and shared innovations.

“To interface in the HBCU-9 celebration with other presidents that are at the helm of other HBCUs that are 150 years old itself was monumental,” Ross said. “The panel discussions with other seasoned presidents provided invaluable information to me.”
The sesquicentennial institutions attending, all established in 1867, were Alabama State University, Morgan State University, Barber-Scotia College, Fayetteville State University, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, Morehouse College, St. Augustine’s University and Talladega College.
Ross said being in existence for 150 years is no small fete and in order to continue to survive, HBCUs should be asking what they can do to sustain their institutions for the next 150 years.
“We know that there are some HBCUs that didn’t survive and some are barely surviving. Through it all, through all the struggles, through all the strife, which continue today, we are still in existence,” Ross said. “We have to be nimble enough to retool, rebrand and be competitive in the global society so that we can move 150 years forward. There should be a unified effort in telling our story nationally so people would never have to question our existence or question the need for HBCUs.”

The summit included a Torch Relay ending at a historical civil rights site on Morgan’s campus, an opening ceremony, a leadership roundtable discussion with HBCU-9 chancellors and presidents and a luncheon with a keynote speaker.

The event also included a United HBCU-9 Choir Concert. 

"What a wonderful experience this past week has been to see our students learn such great music, as well as network with other singers that attend the HBCUs that were represented there, said Dr. Cordelia Anderson, assistant professor of voice at ASU.  “Alabama State University was represented well by these students: Denaye Bolden (sophomore music major), Matthew Chappell (sophomore music major), Kourtney Ellis (senior music major), and Zabriel Rivers (junior music major). Out of these students, two were able to sing solos on the performance; "I Know I've Been Changed" arr. Damon Dandridge, Zabriel Rivers (soloist), and "Walk Together Children" arr. Raymond Wise' Denaye Bolden (soloist). I was impressed and incredibly proud to witness our students represent the Hornet Nation at its best."

ASU sophomore music major (voice) Matthew Chappell said the HBCU-9 celebration was empowering.

"My experience was really fun. I had the opportunity to work with such a great choral director, Dr. Eric Conway of Morgan State University, and network with many people my age who love to sing. I am looking forward to doing something like this again," said Chappell.

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