ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – There are more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Some of them came to the Stateline to offer students resources and share the legacy of HBCUs.
The Rockford alumnae chapter put on its first annual college fair featuring several HBCUs Saturday morning. HBCUs were established to give people of color a safe place to continue their education. HBCU representatives say while we don’t need separate schools anymore, these institutions offer a sense of community and achievement for many.
“For our students who are interested in going to a Historically Black College or University, they are here 365 days a year. This is not just synonymous with Black History Month. I just want to make sure they are aware that they have options all year round,” says Rock Valley College Student Life Manager Luevinus Muhammad.
Anthony Humphrey is a junior at Beloit Memorial High School. He wants to major in pre-med and believes some of the HBCUs can help him be a cardiothoracic surgeon, which specializes in chest organ operations.
“It feels so so amazing. I’m being introduced to this stuff and I don’t know, it’s just overwhelming,” says Humphrey. “I’m just ready to talk to these people, talk to the different students here and talk to the amazing colleges and HBCUs.”
Humphrey’s top choice is Howard University in Washington DC. Humphrey is also interested in Tennessee State University (another HBCU) and UCLA. Howard University though is one of the top schools in the nation for black undergraduates with a medical degree.
Humphrey got the chance to get more information from Rockford native Angelica Bonner who graduated from Howard in 2021.
“They know what they want but they are just trying to figure out where to get it. and I think that’s why this is so important because you have a really diverse group of schools here; HBCUs in-state colleges and I think it’s really great that they are offering such a diverse group,” says Bonner.
While you should never forget where you came from, event organizer Felicia Reed says it’s important for students to expand their horizons as they create their own legacy.
“They are able to see people that have come from our community that have been able to succeed and come back and give to their community and know that they are able to do the same and come contribute back to our community,” says Reed.
Reed says she hopes to include HBCUs in future years to show students the education and opportunities available outside Illinois.
Students who attended the fair were also able to apply for scholarships and learn about financial aid available to them.
Notable individuals to graduate from HBCUs include Vice President Kamala Harris, who graduated from Howard University and Tennessee State grad Oprah Winfrey.
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