4 Prestigious HBCU Choirs

by Kevin Lamár Peterman

Spirituals, anthems, and soul stirring melodies are amongst the cultural gifts African Americans have given to the world. The unique sound crossed the atlantic and arrived in North America along with an oppressed  group of people who despite their pain made the choice to sing in a strange land. These tones of sorrow and joy followed them from plantations to halls of academia. Music is at the heart of the Black College experience. There is nothing more angelic or sacred than the sound of an Historically Black College or University (HBCU) choir. For more than a century the descendants of enslaved Africans have provided the nation with a sense of hope, joy and liberator jubilation through their music. This weeks MSI Line Up highlights four collegiate ensmebles that continue the musical legacy of HBCUs.

1) The Fisk Jubilee Singers—Nashville, Tennessee


The Fisk Jubilee Singes were first assembled at Fisk University in 1871. George L. White, a Fisk University  administrator and professor of music, commissioned the ensemble in effort to raise funds for the university, which was in the midst of a financial crisis at the time of the choir’s founding. The choir’s first eighteen-month tour raised nearly $40,000 for the univeristy. This brought the institution international recognition and earned the choir  prominence in the music industry. The sound of Fisk becameThe Fisk Jubilee Singers were instrumental in making “Negro Spirituals” a mainstream genre of American music. Their classical style group has performed throughout the United States.

2) The Morehouse College Glee Club—Atlanta, Georgia


The  Morehouse College Glee Club was founded in 1911 on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. The all-male vocal ensemble is comprised of freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who desire to express their musical gifts through song. The choir is known for their riveting performances that bring audience to their feet. The Glee Club has performed at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter and the 1996 Summer Olympics. The ensemble is currently under the direction of Dr. David Morrow.

3) The Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University—Washington, D.C.


The Howard Gospel Choir is the nation’s oldest collegiate gospel choir of it’s kind. The choir was founded in Washington, DC on the campus of Howard University in 1968. Each year, the choir travels throughout the United States and most recently has made appearances in Denmark, Italy, Montenego, Slovakia and Sweden. The Choir has sang at the Washington National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the White House as the special guest of former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Notable alumni of the choir include music giants such as Richard Smallwood, Elbertina “Twinkie Clark, Angela Winbush, and Clifton Ross. In 2016, the choir most recent recording album, Glorious God was nominated for two Stellar Awards.

4) The Morgan State University Choir—Baltimore, MD


The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation’s most prestigious musical ensembles. For decades the choir has mesmerized audiences with a diverse repertoire that includes classical music, gospel music, jazz and R&B. The choir has produced several audio recordings and traveled extensively throughout the United States, the Virgin Islands, the Canary Islands, Canada, Africa, Asia and Europe. Comprised of approximately 120 voices, the Morgan State University Choir is currently under the direction of Dr. Eric Conway.


6 Entrepreneurship Programs at MSIs

by Aisha Bowen

Some of the country’s most promising and innovative minds exist at colleges and universities across the country. Interestingly, some countries across the nation have come to this realization and created space for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Today’s MSI Monday Morning Line Up highlights 6 MSIs with dynamic entrepreneurship programming.

1) San Diego State University (AANAPISI)San Diego, CA

San Diego

San Diego State University’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center is a leader in developing student’s entrepreneurial talent through hands on learning experiences. The Center’s  annual VentureStart competition allows teams of student entrepreneurs to develop a business model that exemplifies the students’ “ability to pivot in response to customer input and interaction” (lavincenter.sdsu.edu). In addition to a cash prize, the top three teams get the opportunity to network and receive mentorship from with the world’s top entrepreneurs, potential partners and even investors. Learn more about SDSU’s  Lavin Entrepreneurship Center here.

2) Rust College (HBCU)Holly Springs, MS


Rust College


Rust College is one of six HBCU’s in the delta region that recently received a grant to help expand entrepreneurship programming for students and residents of the local community. Funding partners, The Delta Regional Authority and Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, created this program to address the gap in entrepreneurship in local communities and advance the delta’s region’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem”. Partnered HBCUs received support services “to host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop that teaches both aspiring and advanced student entrepreneurs about skills and resources needed to launch and scale their businesses” (dra.gov). Learn more about specific entrepreneurial programs at Rust College here.

3) Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus (HSI)Roswell, NM

Roswell College Logo

Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell helps develop students’ entrepreneurial skills through a community partnership with the New Mexico Small Business Development Center (NM SBDC). The organization has an office on ENM Roswell’s campus and fosters community based development through “entrepreneurship education and business assistance activities” (roswell.enmu.edu). Learn more about the great work the New Mexico Small Business Development Center is doing to train up entrepreneurial community leaders here.

4) Florida International University (HSI)Miami, FL



Florida International University helps connect students with unique entrepreneurial opportunities through the entrepreneurship center–The Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center. Through education programs, business competitions,  network events, and much more, FIU connects aspiring student entrepreneurs with contacts and resources needed to start up new ideas. Interestingly, the Pino Entrepreneurship Center also invests in existing family firms and supports their growth for the sake of South Florida’s economic vitality. Learn more about the amazing work FIU and The Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center do to develop student entrepreneurs here.

5) East Central University (NASNTI)Ada, OK


East Central Universtiy

East Central University  supports students in entrepreneurial endeavors through both academic and practical means. The university’s school of business offers an entrepreneurship concentration that discusses topics such as “business plans, the value chain, revenue models, venture capital, technology, new venture growth, and harvesting the new venture” (ecok.edu). In addition to course work, the School of Business’s Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship offers business plan development support for aspiring student entrepreneurs and mentorship opportunities for students and experienced entrepreneurs in the community. Learn more about how the Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship is development student skills here.

6) Clayton State University (PBI)Morrow, GA


Clayton State University

Interestingly, Clayton State University’s entrepreneurial support programs exists through partnership with the University of Georgia. UGA established the UGA Small Business Development Center at Clayton State University to “provide economic development assistance for small businesses with no-cost consulting services and low cost educational programs” (clayton.edu). Experienced personnel offer support in the following areas: updating business plans, identifying sources of capital, setting up record keeping systems and analyzing financial records, conducting specialized research, creating marketing strategies, and much more. Learn more about the great work Clayton State University is doing to support aspiring entrepreneurs here.

6 African American Women Presidents at MSIs

by Kelly Lewis

2017 was a year filled of #BlackGirlMagic. Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the collective awesomeness of black women. Throughout last year we watched the fierceness of Serena Williams and Simone Bliss dominate sports, Ava DuVernay shock the world of directing, and Senator Maxine Waters’ reclaim her time as a member of U.S. Congress. In the spirit of celebrating #BlackGirlMagic and Black women’s efforts, today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights Black Female presidents serving at Minority Serving Institution.

1) Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis: Benedict College (HBCU)—Columbia, SC

070317_Roslyn_ArtisDr. Roslyn Clark Artis is a rising star among college presidents. She first made history by becoming the first president in of Florida Memorial University in 2014. Less than three years later, she is once again making history as the first woman President of Benedict College. Dr. Artis brings her law expertise and Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University to the higher education sector.

2) Brenda Thames: West Hills College Coalinga (HSI)— Coalinga, CA


Brenda Thames began her duties as West Hill College Coalinga’s President in February 2017. President Thames was trained by some of the nation’s top institutions and brings 20 years of experience in the higher education sectors. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Sociology and Social Welfare from University of California— Berkeley, a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from USC. In addition to her credentials, she served as a Vice President of Instruction at Modesto Junior College, Completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management, and was an Aspen Presidential Fellow for Community College Excellence.

3) Dr. Aminta Hawkins Breaux: Bowie State University (HBCU)—Bowie, MD


Dr. Aminta Hawkins succeeds former president, Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, by becoming the first female president at Bowie State University. Prior to this presidency, President Breaux formerly served as Vice President for Advancement at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Executive Management and the American Association for State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Institute. President Breaux holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in Psychological Services in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University.

4) Dr. Ruth Simmons: Prairie View A&M University (HBCU)—Prairie View, Texas 


Dr. Ruth Simmons made history in 2001 by becoming the first African-American and first female president of an Ivy League Institution– Brown University. Dr. Simmons has served as a Dean, Vice Provost, Provost, and President of several universities and is currently the Interim President of Prairie View A&M University. Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Dillard university and Harvard’s Doctoral Roman Languages and Literature program.

5) Soraya M. Coley: California State Polytechnic University-Pomona (AANAPISI/HSI)—Pomona, California


Prior to becoming the sixth president of Cal Poly Pomona in January 2015, Dr. Soraya Coley has had more than 20 years of experience in higher education. Before her arrival to Cal Poly Pomona, President Coley served as Provost and Vice president for Academic Affairs and Interim Vice President for University Advancement for 7 years at a host of different universities. President Coley has also served as a Professor and Department Chair, College Dean, and Administrative Fellow. Coley earned a bachelor’s in sociology from Lincoln University before obtaining a master’s in social planning and social research from Bryn Mawr. She later acquired a Ph.D. in social planning and policy from Bryn Mawr. 

6) Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell: Spelman College (HBCU)—Atlanta, GA


Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell became the 10th president of Spelman College in 2015. Prior to arriving to this historical Liberal arts college for women of African descent, she ran the prestigious Tisch School of Arts at New York University (NYU) for over two decades. President Campbell has been appointed Vice Chair of the Committee on the Arts and Humanities under the Obama administrations, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and currently sits on the boards for many prominent foundations. Dr. Campbell received a bachelor’s of art degree from Swarthmore College, a master’s of art in art history, and Ph.D. in Humanities from Syracuse University.

Do you know any other Black women who serve as presidents at MSIs? Share in the comments below!


5 Food Support Service Programs at MSIs

by Aisha Bowen

The holiday season is prime time for giving in America. Everything from toys to food is given at organizations and in communities across the nation. However, the end of the holiday season does not mean the needs of communities end. MSIs play a key role in providing ongoing food service support programs for local community members. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights 5 MSIs with dynamic food pantry and other food support service programs.

1) College of Menominee Nation (TCU)Keshena, WI



The College of Menominee Nation’s (CMN) fight against hunger is grounded in their mission of becoming a nation with “food sovereignty.” Food Sovereignty is described on the CMN website at follows: “The term was first coined by Via Campesina, an international grassroots organization, in 1996. Food Sovereignty asserts that the people who produce, distribute, and consume food should control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution, rather than corporations and markets that have come to dominate the global food system” (menominee.edu). With this goal in mind, CMS has a community garden program, provides community cooking classes and holds the Kehtekaewak Farmers Market –the only farmers market on the entire Menominee Reservation. Learn more about CMN’s steps toward Food Sovereignty and fight against hunger here.

2) Orange Coast College (AANAPISI)Costa Mesa, CA


Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College’ s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) program provides support to students experiencing academic and economic barriers. A portion of that support includes the EOPS food pantry. Items include food, hygiene items, and diapers. Learn more about Orange Coast College’s EOPS food pantry and other support programs here.

3) Paul Quinn College (HBCU)Dallas, TX

Paul Quinn

Paul Quinn College’s dedication to eradicating community poverty was shown in leadership building an organic farm on the campus football field. Since it’s inception in 2010, the farm has grown over  30,000 pounds of produce. At least 10 percent of the farm’s produce is donated to local charities. Learn more about great work of Paul Quinn College’s farm here.

4) Brandman University (HSI)Irvine, CA


Brandman University

Brandman University’s online campus hosts a food drive each year to support community members in need. BU’s food drive supports the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, where many of BU’s employees reside. BU’s donation is extremely important because the Second Harvest food bank serves over 200,000 people every month. Learn more about Brandman University’s annual food drive and how they help support Orange County here.

5) University of North Carolina at Pembroke (NASNTI)Pembroke, NC

UNC Pembroke

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s (UNCP) Office of Community and Civic Engagement Division was designed to support students and community members in need. Under this office, the UNCP CARE Resource Center offers a food pantry and professional clothing closet to all students, faculty, staff, and community members.  Learn more about the UNCP CARE Resource Center here.

Exploring Gender and Sexuality Studies at 11 Asian American Native Asian Pacific Islander Serving Institutions

by Kristen Surla

As more people begin to question, challenge, explore, and celebrate gender and sexuality on college campuses, there is an increased need to find educational opportunities to learn more about the topics and history of gender and sexuality. Discussing gender and sexuality within communities of color is necessary because it acknowledges the role of intersectionality in shaping one’s personal experiences. LGBTQ Asian American, Desi, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander people have so much to contribute to the community at AANAPISIs. Becoming involved in gender and sexuality programs is one way that students can participate and explore the intersections of their identities. Below is a list of Gender and Sexuality studies programs at AANAPISIs:

1) Women’s & Gender Studies Department: University of Massachusetts Boston (AANAPISI)— Boston, MA


For more information, click here

2) Gender and Sexuality Studies Program: University of Nevada Las Vegas (AANAPISI)— Las Vegas, NV


For more information, click here

3) Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies: University of Houston (AANAPISI)— Houston, TX


For more information, click here

4) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Program: University of Maryland College Park (AANAPISI)— College Park, MD


For more information, click here

5) Women and Gender Studies Program: University of Guam (AANAPISI)— Mangilao, GU


For more information, click here

6) Gender and Women’s Studies Program: University of Illinois at Chicago (AANAPISI)— Chicago, IL


For more information, click here

7) Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies: University of California at Irvine (AANAPISI)— Chicago, IL


For more information, click here

8) Concentration in Women, Gender, and Sexuality: San Jose State University (AANAPISI— San Jose, CA

sjsu.jpgFor more information, click here.

9) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQQI*) Studies Program: City Colleges of San Francisco (AANAPISI)— San Francisco, CA


For more information, click here

10) Gender Studies Program: University of Southern California (AANAPISI)— Los Angeles, CA


For more information, click here

11) Women’s and Gender Studies Program: The City University of New York, Brooklyn College (AANAPISI)— New York, NY


For more information, click here


Know of any other Minority Serving Institutions with programs in gender and sexuality studies? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Domestic Violence Awareness Programs at HBCUs

by Aisha Bowen

According to 2014 study by Center for Disease Control (CDC), non-Hispanic Black women have the highest homicide-suicide rates caused by domestic violence (cdc.gov). Approximately one third of these women were in the 18-29 year old age group (cdc.gov). As such, it is imperative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to both educate and support students about issues affecting thousands of women in the Black community at large. Today’s MSI Monday Morning Line Up highlights 6 programs with domestic violence awareness support programming

1) Southern University (HBCU)—Baton Rouge, LA



Southern University’s Law Center has created a Divorce and Domestic Violence Clinic to support and assist “victims of family abuse in City and District court” (sulc.edu). In addition to supporting victims with legal assistance, the clinic exposes aspiring domestic violence attorneys to intricate role they play in a domestic violence legal matter. Learn more about Southern University’s Divorce and Domestic Violence Center here.

2) Winston-Salem State University (HBCU)—Winston-Salem, NC



Winston-Salem State University has an entire department dedicated to supporting victims of interpersonal violence. The Department of Interpersonal Violence (DIV)  provides services to students in the following areas: “experiencing domestic violence, dating and violence, social media violence and other personal threats” (wssu.edu). In addition to on-campus support, this department also provides referrals to students seeking support from other community-based programs. Workshops and trainings are also administered to WSSU community. Learn more about the great work DIV does to support students here.

 3) Tennessee State University (HBCU)—Nashville, TN



Tennessee State University has an entire Women’s Center dedicated to “promot[ing] gender equity by raising awareness of women’s and gender issues, women’s leadership, and celebrating women who challenge, motivate, and inspire” (source). One of the key services provided is support for victims of interpersonal violence. This center also encourages collaboration within the division of Student Affairs to raise awareness about domestic violence prevention. Ultimately, the Women’s Center serves as a safe for female students on campus to study, relax, receive support, and even support others in the community. Learn more about TSU’s Women’s Center here.

4) Bennett College (HBCU)—Greensboro, NC

Bennett College

Bennett College has made significant strides in supporting victims of domestic violence through their recent partnership with the Office of Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice. Bennett, in consortium with NC A&T and Shaw University, received a $497,242  grant “to promote awareness and prevention for Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking on the college campuses” (bennett.edu). This project has been named R.I.S.E.– Resource Intervention Services & Education. Visit these HBCU websites or click here  to learn more about R.I.S.E.’s work on each campus.

5) Bethune Cookman College (HBCU)—Daytona Beach, FL

bethune cookman

Bethune Cookman University’s Domestic Violence Empowerment Council’s (D.V.E.C) was created to “educate and empower men and women to overcome the tragedies of domestic violence” (cookman.edu). D.V.E.C. provides support to BCU community members by offering counseling, holding forums/seminars and providing a safe space for BCU students to share their experiences with peers who’ve had similar experiences. Learn more about the support D.V.E.C. provides here.

6) Hampton University (HBCU)—Hampton, VA



Hampton University’s Office of Violence Against Women (HU AWARE) is a key coordinator for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking prevention events. HU AWARE Student Advocates also partner with other campus organizations to collectively raise awareness to a broader audience. Additional community organizations such as The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors, Inc. and Transitions Family Violence Services to create an education curriculum to disperse to students throughout the academic year. Learn more about HU AWARE and ways to support on their website.

5 MSI Campuses That Transform Into Winter Wonderlands

by Kelly Lewis

Each year students around the world have to decide their best fit college. Some students prefer the elongated falls, sunnier weather on the beach, and some can’t wait to build a snow man. With the coming of winter, this list is for those who are anxiously waiting for the first snowflake to fall. This week’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 5 of the most beautiful MSIs that turn into a winter wonderlands each winter.

1) Marygrove College (PBI)—Detroit, MI


Marygrove College is a private predominantly black institution in the heart of Detroit, MI. In the state of Michigan, winter normally begins well before December and typically stretch’s past early April. Luckily, Marygrove Colleges’ catholic church architecture draped in snow is a beauty to behold. This liberal arts college prepares students to become competent and committed urban and global leaders. Though Marygrove will forgo undergraduate programs to place more emphasis on their graduate programs. They offer programs in Education and Teaching.

2) Montana State University-Northern (NASNTI)— Havre, MT


If extreme winters bring chills of joy to your spine Montana State University–Northern is the campus for you. As of early October, the campus experienced nearly 15 inches of snow. January is on average the coolest month with an average high of 29 degrees Fahrenheit.  This small public state university is located in a rural area of Montana. This institution offers a reduced tuition level for 15 states and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in public two-year and four-year college programs.

3) University of Alaska Fairbanks (AANH)—Fairbanks, AK


The university of Alaska Fairbanks is a top-tier public research institution. They recently began to offer a Masters of Marine studies to prepare students for science-based fields exclusive to the region. This university is located in the city of Fairbanks, Alaska’s biggest city. Here the winters are long and hard. Students find solace by engaging in skiing, dog sledding, and other outdoor activities during the winter months.

4) University of Massachusetts-Boston (AANAPISI)— Boston, MA


University of Massachusetts–Boston is one of the five campuses that the UMASS offers. Though Boston winters have been considered brutal, waterproof boots and warm jackets can make enjoying outdoor activities such as skiing, ice skating, frost bite sailing bearable. Additionally, the U.S. News Reports that the average freshman retention rate is 79 percent and roughly 41 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.

5) Morgan State University (HBCU)—Baltimore, MD


Morgan State University celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Morgan State University nationally is one of the top five African American Engineering degree produces and the number one within the city of Baltimore. Aside from its commitment as a premier public urban research university, this institution offers students a chance to visit some amazing winter festivities. Each year the National Harbor features hand carved ice sculptures, the Kennedy Krieger Festival of trees features 600 holiday trees to get individuals in the Christmas spirit, and Wisp Ski Resort is close enough for a weekend trip.

Do you know any other MSI Winter Wonderlands? Share in the comments below!