DiversityInc COO Carolynn Johnson recently spoke with Dr. Glenda Glover, International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and President of Tennessee State University (TSU), about the significance of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
While Dr. Glover’s tireless efforts to promote, assist and call attention to the excellence of HBCUs did not begin with her election to the highest office in the nation’s first Greek-letter organization established for African American college women, she is using her four-year term to have greater impact on the sustainability of these endangered institutions by endowing scholarships for their students.
Dr. Glover explained that endowments sustain universities by enabling them to offer scholarships to the best and brightest students. Last September, she called the members of her illustrious sisterhood to task. Her goal was to raise $10 million for HBCUs so that initial endowments could be established at those schools with the greatest need.
These actions coupled with her career of dedication helped her to win the coveted Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award for HBCU President of The Year last October. The award is given to those leaders who help advance the causes of HBCUs. Under her leadership, Tennessee State has been upgraded to an R2 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This distinction is only held by 10 of the 101 HBCUs in existence today.
In support of Dr. Glover’s goal, members of the sorority raised an astounding $1.2 million (so far), which was dispersed among 32 institutions at $50,000 each, this February.
“As an HBCU graduate and someone who has dedicated my life’s work to the HBCU community, I personally know the impact that establishing an endowment has on a student’s enrollment and graduation prospects,” said Dr. Glover.
“The actions of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will go a long way toward ensuring that HBCUs remain open and able to encourage the best Black students to choose them as a FIRST option.”
The desire to give students a quality, competitive education is what fueled Dr. Glover to rally leaders of the Divine Nine Black Greek-lettered organizations to come together to assist Bennett College in its time of need.
“It’s our unity that keeps us all alive,” she commented. “We were honored to provide Bennett College with endowed scholarships immediately because we are confident they will provide great talent to the world’s workforce.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as an organization, under her leadership, has implemented the #CAPSM program, which assists Black college-bound students with obtaining the tools necessary to ensure success in their academic lives. From completing college admissions applications to helping students create portfolios of achievements, the program is dedicated to enriching the lives of Black students so they may go on to become productive and outstanding members of society.
Dr. Glover, whose continued efforts to promote HBCU partnerships with corporate America, moderated a panel with chief diversity officers from top corporations, including Amazon, Pinterest, GM Financial and Dell in September 2018. She expressed how important it was for corporations to bridge the diversity gap by actively recruiting the brightest and best from these universities and from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
In addition to HBCU for Life: A Call To Action, the first goal of Dr. Glover’s five-point plan for the sorority during her administration, there are four additional targets:
Target 2: Women’s Healthcare and Wellness
Target 3: Building Your Economic Legacy
No wonder the tagline for Dr. Glover’s administration is “Exemplifying Excellence through Sustainable Service,” commented Johnson.
Carolynn Johnson is a member of the Pi Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Johnson also serves on the Board of Trustees at Bennett College.