Florida HBCU Presidents Tout their Relevance and Pledge to Work Together for Their Continued Survival and Success
Presidents of Florida’s four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) affirmed the relevance of their institutions in an age of growing skepticism and pledged their commitment to continue to educate and graduate students of color.
Meeting at host Florida A&M University (FAMU) for the inaugural Florida HBCU Impact Summit, the presidents of Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) of Daytona Beach, Edward Waters College (EWC) of Jacksonville, and Florida Memorial University (FMU) of Miami Gardens and FAMU spoke of the challenges they faced and the opportunities that lie ahead.
FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said the lack of diversity in the area of STEM has hurt America’s competitiveness globally and the search for talent needs to be redirected.
“There’s a tremendous amount of talent inside the classrooms of these four institutions and others like them across the country,” Robinson told the gathering. America’s global competitiveness will improve when it begins to fully mine the talent of FAMU and other HBCUs.
“The next moon shot is the realization that we need to take advantage of the talent that is resident in these universities we call HBCUs,” Robinson said. “It’s the next big thing and we really need to embrace that.”
The purpose of the half day event was to bring together the four university presidents and their administrators in a historic gathering to focus on the importance of HBCUs to the state financially, culturally and academically. Next year, the event will be hosted by FMU in Miami.
Nationwide, HBCUs make up three percent of colleges and produce 20 percent of graduates, and have nearly $15 billion in economic impact. In Florida, HBCUs make up four percent of colleges and give out 18 percent of all Bachelor of Science degrees earned by African Americans, boast $833 million in economic impact and create thousands of jobs, studies show.