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To be in a room full of educated Black scholars is a blessing in itself, and we had that pleasure last week (Aug 11) as a special guest for the HBCU Presidents Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Hosted by RW Jones Agency in the heart of Capitol Hill at the delectable Charlie Palmer Steak, the event introduced journalists from a variety of top Black education-based media outlets — hey, us! — to a handful of presidents at well-known HBCUs, a few that are still building their presence and even the lesser-known-yet-equally-important Predominately Black Institutions.

HBCU Presidents Dinner Recap pics - Reach Media 2022

Source: RW Jones Agency / other

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As attendees dined on a choice of either filet mignon, salmon or hearty chicken, the night commenced with a variety of questions that received sincere and emotionally-driven responses, leaving little to nothing unanswered. On the topic of canceling student debt for example, Dr. Carmen Walters of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi said that it’s the way interest rates are compounded that really should cause concern, stating, “they’ve started to talk about that, but not really — not as much as it needs to be discussed and looked at.” Dr. Ernest C. McNealey of Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina followed up with even more insight, adding with expertise, “the lack of real control that universities have is almost always missing from the narrative.” He went on to state, “most student loan debt is about living — paying for the apartment or paying for the Camaro [Laughs]; it’s not money used to pay the institutions.”

HBCU Presidents Dinner Recap pics - Reach Media 2022

Source: RW Jones Agency / other

Other topics included how the presidents have been dealing with those countless bomb threats aimed specifically at HBCUs, whether they stand with or oppose students who’ve been protesting and even gave honest answers on if certain HBCUs like Spelman and Morehouse receive more attention & funding than the other 100+ that currently exist.

“Don’t pit us against one another,” exclaimed Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, whose answer lit up the room with chuckles but also many nods in agreement. He explained his passionate response by adding, “Spelman needs every dollar they can get — isn’t it their Residence Hall in Atlanta that doesn’t have air conditioning? They need every dollar they can get!”

HBCU Presidents Dinner Recap pics - Reach Media 2022

Source: RW Jones Agency / other

After Hampton half-jokingly said Lane College needs those dollars too, Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack of Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina reiterated the point that there’s enough philanthropy to go around for everyone. “When it’s our season to receive the blessing, we’ll be welcoming [it] with open arms. Until then, we celebrate Morehouse and Spelman for receiving those funds. There’s no animosity; there’s no envy.”

“We are all worth the investment.”

— Dr. Carmen Walters, Tougaloo College

Dr. Walters begged to differ though, chiming back in by stating with laughter, “I will say, I am jealous!” She went on to give the example of getting a phone call from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that Tougaloo would receive $6 million in funding, only to later find out that Prairie View A&M University was getting $50 million. Her sentiments were lighthearted for the most part though, later clarifying that she’s proud of all her HBCU peers and that all Historically Black colleges and universities are worth the investment.

Dr. Sean L. Huddleston of Martin University in Indianapolis, Indiana jumped to introduced how Predominately Black Institutions are also important for consideration, adding, “My hope is that my sector, PBIs, can get a little more attention, love and parity around funding, even from the federal level. I would not want any money taken away from HBCUs or other minority-serving institutions to be able to begin to provide more equity to PBIs.”

HBCU Presidents Dinner Recap pics - Reach Media 2022

Source: RW Jones Agency / other

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The night capped off with cocktails and extended conversations on a variety of other issues that both plague and promote HBCUs. We hope to continue that conversation here on BAW in the near future so that Black education prospers to even further levels for decades to come.

Take a look below at a few more images from the 2022 HBCU Presidents Dinner in Washington, D.C.:

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Recap: HBCU Presidents Dinner In D.C. Highlighted PBIs, Budget Concerns, Bomb Threats And More  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

1. HBCU Presidents Dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak DC

HBCU Presidents Dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak DC Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

2. Dr. Carmen Walters of Tougaloo College

Dr. Carmen Walters of Tougaloo College Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

3. Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis of Benedict College

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis of Benedict College Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

4. HBCU Presidents Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis (Benedict College), Dr. Cynthia Warrick (Stillman College) and Dr. Sean L. Huddleston (Martin University)

HBCU Presidents Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis (Benedict College), Dr. Cynthia Warrick (Stillman College) and Dr. Sean L. Huddleston (Martin University) Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

5. Dr. Ernest C. McNealey of Allen University in conversation

Dr. Ernest C. McNealey of Allen University in conversation Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

6. Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College

Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

7. HBCU Presidents Dinner attendees in conversation

HBCU Presidents Dinner attendees in conversation Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

8. Dr. Logan Hampton in conversation with media attendees

Dr. Logan Hampton in conversation with media attendees Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

9. Attendees in conversation

Attendees in conversation Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency

10. (L to R) HBCU Presidents Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack (Claflin University), Dr. Sean L. Huddleston (Martin University), Dr. Ernest C. McNealey (Allen University), Dr. Cynthia Warrick (Stillman College), Dr. Carmen Walters (Tougaloo College) Dr. Logan Hampton (Lane College) and Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis (Benedict College)

(L to R) HBCU Presidents Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack (Claflin University), Dr. Sean L. Huddleston (Martin University), Dr. Ernest C. McNealey (Allen University), Dr. Cynthia Warrick (Stillman College), Dr. Carmen Walters (Tougaloo College) Dr. Logan Hampton (Lane College) and Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis (Benedict College) Source:other

Photo Credit: RW Jones Agency