5 HBCUs That Promote Mental Health Awareness

Students at HBCUs may be at more risk for suicides and other mental illnesses due to the cultural biases and low socioeconomic status that minority students can often face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate for Black Americans from ages 20 to 24 had the highest rates of suicide in the Black population, averaging 18.18 per 100,000 people. As a result, student mental health is becoming increasingly important at HBCUs nationwide. Below are some strategies that HBCUs are using in order to combat mental illness.

1.) North Carolina Central University


The Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) at North Carolina Central University recognize that their students may never visit the health center on their own, and therefore, counselors work closely with greek organizations and visit dormitories as a way to promote counseling information.

Dr. Angela Lee, a former counselor at North Carolina Central University advocates that “Counseling departments can’t take it on all by themselves. Issues like suicide, domestic violence and rape come up on different levels. Campus police, counselors, resident assistants and the dean of students all need to be on the same page and send the same messages.”

2.) Southern University and A&M College

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Cicely Evans, a licensed professional counselor at Southern University and A&M College, points out that many students “are afraid of the stigma attached to mental health treatment. Students do not want to be labeled as crazy or weak.”

The counseling center attempts to debunk the negative stigma attached to mental health by putting on free workshops and presentations that deal with stress management, identifying indicators of a suicidal student, gender and communication issues, and many more!

3.) Hampton University (HU)


Due to a tragic suicide by a Hampton University student last March, the university has received grants for suicide prevention initiatives. Hampton provides training on suicide prevention, offers direct suicide intervention conversations with students, and sponsors campus-wide suicide prevention activities such as “Fundamental Suicide Concepts,” “Let’s Talk About It,” “Response and Referral,” and even a campus march. Hampton hopes to raise awareness on suicide and mental health and hopes to assist their community to be able to talk about suicide and debunk many of the stigmas behind getting counseling for emotional and mental distress.

4.) Morgan State University

The Counseling Center Services at this HBCU created a video in order to demonstrate how their counseling services support students with emotional, social, and career development stress, among other issues. Click below to watch the video!

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5.) South Carolina State University (SCSU)


The mission of this HBCU is to provide high-quality mental healthcare for their students throughout their time at SCSU by providing two peer mentoring programs: W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G and Rites of Passage.

The W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. (Wellness And Teaching Counseling Helpers Daily On Guard) Peer Mentoring group consists of upperclassmen providing support and mentorship to Rites of Passage students by passing on the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout their college career. Mentorship often takes place through by participation in community service and campus involvement.

The “Rites of Passage” group was created in effort to provide support for first year SCSU students as they enter and adjust to college. Students attend sessions that focus on time management, self-esteem, academic milestones, and many other dilemmas which they may face during their first year.

What’s your MSI IQ?

Are you an MSI expert, apprentice, or novice? Take our quiz below to test your MSI IQ! Scroll to the bottom of the quiz for the answer key, and no cheating!


1.) HSIs enroll nearly ___% of all Latino undergraduates.

A.) 10   B.)  25   C.) 50   D.) 75

2.) Which U.S. state has the highest concentration of MSIs?

A.) Texas     B.) California     C.) Florida     D.) Maryland

3.) Which HBCU has single-gender enrollment?

A.) Spelman College B.) Howard University  C.) Hampton University D.) Fisk University

4.) When were HBCUs officially recognized by the federal government?

A.) 1964     B.) 1965      C.) 1969       D.) 1970

5.) Penn is the only university with a center dedicated to studying MSIs.

A.) True  B.) False

6.) Compared to 49% of students in college, ___% of students at HBCUs receive Federal Pell Grants.

A.) 57    B.) 71     C.) 89      D.) 90

7.) ___ of students attending MSIs are first generation college students.

A.) One third   B.) One fourth   C.) One half    D.) One fifth

8.) ___% of all undergraduate students in the U.S. enroll in MSIs.

A.) 15     B.) 20      C.) 25     D.) 40

9.) AANAPISIs enroll nearly __% of all Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduates.

A.) 27   B.) 30     C.) 34     D.) 36

10.) Nationally, American Indians and Alaska Natives make up approximately 1% of faculty but ___% of faculty of TCUs identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

A.) 23      B.) 42      C.) 45    D.) 50

Answer Key:

1.) C: HSIs enroll nearly (50%) of all Latino undergraduates.

2.) B: (California) has the highest concentration of MSIs.

3.) A: (Spelman College) has single-gender enrollment, enrolling only women.

4.) B: HBCUs were officially recognized by the federal government with the Higher Education Act of (1965).

5.) A: (True) As of 2015, Penn is the only university with a center dedicated to studying MSIs.

6.) C: Compared to 49% of students in college, (89%) of students at HBCUs receive Federal Pell Grants.

7.) C(One half) of students attending MSIs are first generation college students.

8.) B: (20%) of all undergraduate students in the U.S. enroll in MSIs.

9.) A: AANPISIs enroll nearly (27%) of all Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduates.

10.) B: Nationally, American Indians and Alaska Natives make up approximately 1% of faculty but (42%) of faculty of TCUs identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

8-10 correct answers: Congrats, MSI expert!

5-7 correct answers: You’re an apprentice and on your way to becoming an expert on MSIs!

0-4 correct answers: Hey novice, brush up on your knowledge on MSIs and one day you can be an expert!

MSIs and Studying Abroad: Top Five Countries Students Are Visiting in Summer 2015

Today’s MSI Lineup features the success of over 170 MSI students who have won the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in 2015. The award offers up to $5,000 to help make studying abroad possible for students with high financial need, students who come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, community colleges students, students in underrepresented fields such as STEM, and students with disabilities.

Watch this video to see some of the MSIs that are helping students study abroad!

Students from over 50 different MSIs won a Gilman Scholarship in 2015; see below for the top 5 countries they will be traveling to this summer!

japan-flag     1.)  Japan (21)

costa rica     2.) Costa Rica (17)

Spain     3.) Spain (16)

france     4.) France (14)

china    5.) China (11)

We want to congratulate the recipients of the Gilman Scholarship and wish them safe travels as they embark on their journeys in over 30 different countries!

Melodies from MSIs: Six HBCU alums making history on the music charts

Who can help grooving to the hottest new song with the freshest new beat? Since we couldn’t resist, today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights six HBCU alums who made history topping the music charts. Don’t worry, we didn’t leave you hanging; we’ve provided links to their songs! Get funky!

1.) Erykah Badu – Grambling State University


Erykah Abi Wright, better known by her stage name Erykah Badu, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, and actress. Badu attended Grambling State University located in Grambling, Louisiana where she studied performing arts. Are you a Baduizt? Her first album, entitled Baduizm, was released in 1997 and featured her sultry voice alongside hip hop and jazz accompaniments. Soon thereafter, the album became triple-platinum certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)! You might be familiar with Badu’s hit singles like “On & On,” “Next Lifetime,” and “Bag Lady”. Badu, who is often referred to as “First Lady of Neo-Soul,” is a legend in her own right.

Listen to “Next Lifetime” HERE!

2.) Sean “Diddy” Combs – Howard University


No stranger to smooth, Sean John Combs—previously known as Puff Daddy and P. Diddy, and currently known as Diddy—is an entertainment mogul. Puff, as his friends call him, attended Howard University in 1990 as a business major. Diddy has put his business savvy to great use, as is demonstrated by his long slate of accomplishments. P. Diddy is credited with discovering the rapper Notorious B.I.G., founding Bad Boy Records in 1993, producing the hit show formally known as Making the Band, and releasing the Sean John clothing and cologne lines. Currently, Diddy has paired up with R&B artists Dawn Richards and Kalenna Harper to form the group, Dirty Money. His song, “Coming Home,” featuring Skylar Grey, has been performed as a tribute to the troops of the American Armed Forces and is quite moving. Keep an ear to the ground for Diddy’s next projects or even a name change!

Listen to “Coming Home” HERE!

3.) K. Michelle – Florida A&M University


K. Michelle is an American singer, songwriter, reality TV star, and apparent yodeler. Fun fact: K. Michelle received a music scholarship to attend Florida A&M University (FAMU) by yodeling for the audition! Who knew? K. Michelle is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, having pledged FAMU’s Beta Alpha chapter in the fall of 2001. In 2004, K. Michelle graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in music. We’d be remiss to proceed without acknowledging K. Michelle’s musical accolades. The singer signed to Atlantic Records and released her album Rebellious Soul in August 2013. The album debuted number two on the Billboard charts. In 2014, Michelle released her second album, titled Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? We know you do!

Check out the entire album HERE!

 4.) Avery Sunshine – Spelman College


Denise Nicole White, best known as Avery Sunshine, is an American singer and pianist. At the age of 8, this incredibly talented artist began playing piano and even learned to read hymns before beginning to study classical music at the age of 11. AverySunshine attended Spelman College in Atlanta, enrolling as a Piano major. After realizing that the music program was not for her, she switched majors and graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 1998. Some of her awards include: iTunes Best of 2010, Soultracks Reader’s Choice Best New Artist, Creative Loafing Album of the Year Selection, and Jet Top 5 Rising Indie Artists. Divorced in 2008, she currently lives in Atlanta and is the mother of two children.

Listen to “Call My Name” HERE!

5.) Roberta Flack – Howard University


Singer and educator, Roberta Flack, is best known for folk music, Pop, and R&B music. Two of her classic #1 singles, “The First Time Ever I saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” made Flack the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year two consecutive times in 1973-1974. She remained the only solo artist to have accomplished such an honor until U2 obtained the same honor in 2001-2002. This talented artist was awarded a full music scholarship by Howard University at the age of 15, making her one of the youngest students ever to have enrolled there. Flack had intended to major in piano but ultimately changed her major to voice and even became assistant conductor of the university choir. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Due to her astonishing work in promoting music education, she was made an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma by the Eta Delta Chapter at Howard University.

Listen to “Killing me Softly with His Song” HERE!

6.) The Commodores -Tuskegee University


They say college is where you meet your lifetime friends and this is certainly true for this renowned funk/soul band. The members of The Commodores met during their freshman year while attending Tuskegee University in 1968. After winning the annual freshman talent contest, they stunned their classmates and were often asked to play at fraternity parties and weekend gigs at a nearby campus club. Similar to other bands, several members of The Commodores left the group to pursue solo careers. One of them was lead singer, Lionel Richie, and shortly after, many other members began to leave in 1983. The Commodores today consist of Walter “Clyde” Orange, James Dean “J.D.” Nicholas, and William “WAK” King. The group continues to perform at arenas, theaters, and festivals around the world.

Check out their entire album HERE!

Asian-American Leadership at MSIs

According to the American Council on Education, only 1.5 percent of college and university presidents are Asian Pacific Islander Americans. While Asian Pacific Islander Americans lead all other racial minority groups in the percentage of full-time tenured faculty at 7 percent, they occupy just 2 percent of chief academic officer positions and 3 percent of deanships. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 10 Asian-American leaders working at or with MSIs.

1. Renu Khator, President of University of Houston

Renu Khator holds the dual titles of chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of UH. The UH System’s first woman Chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, she assumed her post in January 2008. As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities. During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private support. Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Prior to her appointment, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution.

2) Henry T. Yang, Chancellor of University of California, Santa Barbara

Henry T. Yang was named UC Santa Barbara’s fifth chancellor in 1994. He was formerly the Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, where he also served as the dean of engineering for ten years. Dr. Yang is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has received a number of recognitions for his research, teaching, and public service, including seven honorary doctorates and the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal from the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2008 he received the Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

3) Frank Chong, Superintendent/President of Santa Rosa Junior College

Frank Chong, Ed.D., was appointed by the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees as its new Superintendent/President effective January 2012. Dr. Chong becomes only the fifth superintendent/president of the school in its 93rd -year history. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Chong was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Dr. Chong’s professional experience spans every level of education and politics. Prior to assuming the Laney College presidency, he served as president of Mission College in Santa Clara, CA. and Dean of Student Affairs at City College of San Francisco. He was an appointed member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998. From 1987 to 1991, he served as special assistant to Willie L. Brown, Jr., the Speaker of the California State Assembly.

4) Loretta P. Adrian, President of Coastline Community College

Dr. Adrian has been as an educational leader for over twenty years. In collaboration with Coastline’s faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders, some of Dr. Adrian’s outstanding accomplishments as president include the completion of a strategic planning process for the College, the enhancement of the College’s integrated planning process, and the practice of evidence-based decision-making. She has promoted leadership development and led the college through financially challenging times in an atmosphere of inclusiveness, mutual respect, open and transparent communication. She is sharply focused on student success and the practice of a “students first” philosophy. Prior to joining Coastline, she served as the vice president of student services at Skyline College in the Bay Area from 2005-2010. As the chief student services officer, Dr. Adrian provided leadership for a comprehensive array of student service programs aimed at facilitating student success and fostering a strong connection to diverse students.

5) Vince A. Sales, Vice President for University Advancement at California State University, Sacramento

Vince currently was appointed Vice President for University Advancement at California State University, Sacramento, effective August 1, 2012. Prior to this assignment, Vince served the same institution as Associate Vice President for Development since 2009. Vince has also worked for Stanford University as Director of Development – Asia/Pacific, which allowed him to work with major and principal gifts donors in the region. He also has held development positions at San Francisco State University, including stints as Campaign Director; Director of Development, Major & Planned Gifts; and, Director of Development, Corporations and Foundations. In addition to his work in higher education, Vince has served as executive director for the Asian AIDS Project and provided consultation services for a number of non-profit organizations, including CompassPoint, Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Asian Pacific Fund, and Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.

6) Leroy M. Morishita, President of California State University, East Bay

Leroy M. Morishita is the fifth president of California State University, East Bay. He was appointed to the position in January 2012 by the CSU Board of Trustees, after taking office on July 1, 2011 as the Interim President. He came to Cal State East Bay from San Francisco State University, where he served as Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer. A native Californian, President Morishita holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Counseling from San Francisco State University. He also received a Doctorate in Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Morishita has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, as an educator and administrator. He first worked in the California State University system from 1978 to 1981 as Counseling Coordinator and Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Francisco State University.

7) Patricia Akemi Neilson, Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership, College of Management, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Patricia Akemi Neilson is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership, College of Management, University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to her work at UMB, Dr. Neilson served as an academic dean at North Shore Community College. Dr. Neilson’s research interest is in the underrepresentation of Asian-American senior administrators in higher education. As part of the pipeline effort, Dr. Neilson serves as a faculty member in the Leadership Development Program in Higher Education (LDPHE) and has mentored promising APAs. Patricia was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and relocated to Massachusetts 24 years ago. Dr. Neilson’s recent publications include Voices of the Future: Emerging Leaders, S. Penney, and P. Neilson, (Eds.) (University of Massachusetts Boston, 2009), and Next Generation Leadership: Insights from Emerging Leaders. S. Penney, and P. Neilson, (Palgrave Macmillan. 2010).

8) Noki Seekao, Director of Student Life and Chief Student Conduct Officer at the California College of the Arts

Noki Seekao is currently the Director of Student Life and Chief Student Conduct Officer at the California College of the Arts. His Thai immigrant parents’ aspirations and the guidance of wonderful mentors greatly influenced his love of higher education. For the past 9 years, his primary mission in the field of student affairs is to foster opportunities and initiatives that educate and engage students to become leaders in their communities. His passion has been made visible in his work as a mentor to those in need, an advocate for those with no voice and an educator for those seeking positive change. Noki also served as President of the California College Personnel Association (CCPA), a state division of ACPA, College Student Educators International. Noki has a M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, and a B.A. in Psychology & Social Behavior and B.A. in Studio Arts from the University of California, Irvine.

9) Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Vice President of Student Services at Mt. San Antonio College

Audrey Yamagata-Noji currently serves as Vice President of Student Services, Mt. San Antonio College. Audrey received a Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University, and a master’s degree in counseling and bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She is a licensed marriage, family and child therapist. Additionally, Dr. Yamagata-Noji is serving as President of the Board of Trustees for the Santa Ana Unified School District. First elected in 1987, Audrey served for three consecutive terms on the School Board through 2000. In November 2002, Dr. Yamagata-Noji was elected to the School Board for a fourth term. In addition to her involvement with APAHE, Dr. Yamagata-Noji is a trainer for Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc (LEAP). Together with co-coordinator Henry Gee, Audrey directs the annual Leadership Development Program in Higher Education – a partnership effort between APAHE and LEAP.

10) Abe Ali, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at Kern Community College District

Abe Ali has led Kern Community College District’s Human Resources operations for the past five years as Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. His 18 years of HR experience includes four years as Human Resources Manager and, later, Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Equal Employment Officer for a total of 10 years with Redwoods Community College District in Eureka, CA. Abe’s experience includes serving as lead management negotiator for faculty and classified organization collective bargaining, developing and managing personnel policies, and taking the lead in organizing district-wide staff development and staff diversity programs. Abe is Past President of the Chief Human Resources Officers Consortium for the California Community Colleges – representing 72 districts, and 112 colleges. Abe was also co-chair of the Commission for Legislation and Advocacy for the Association of California Community College Administrators.