City Council member and Chair of the Public Safety, Youth and Recreation Committee Adam C. McFadden and Mayor Lovely A. Warren are proud to host and usher in the 5th Annual Historically Black College and University (HBCU) College Fair.
The 2018 Fair will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
The City describes the HBCU Fair, as one of the goals to increase awareness about collegiate opportunities among city youth with a special focus placed on HBCUs. The conference is open to the public and city youth are encouraged to attend; each year attendance has continued to grow with over 1,200 youth attending the event last year.
The City went on to say, this college fair provides students the opportunity to interact with colleges and universities from around the country, some of which will have on-site admittance and scholarships available for students who attend the event. Since the HBCU College Fair was reinvigorated hundreds of students have been admitted to colleges at the event and millions of dollars in scholarships have been awarded.
The event’s Mayoral Luncheon will be held on the same day, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and at the same place, the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Convention Center.
More than 250 business are planning to attend, along with civic and educational leaders including keynote speaker Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University.
Claflin is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, about 40 miles (64 km) southeast of Columbia. Founded in 1869 after the American Civil War by northern missionaries for the education of freedmen and their children, dates the first time in South Carolina, quality higher education for men and women “regardless of race, complexion, or religious opinion.”
Dr. Tisdale is a Kingstree, South Carolina native and 1965 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Claflin University. During his presidency, Claflin continues to rank in the top tier of all comprehensive colleges in South Carolina for its impressive graduation and retention rates.
“When I was in high school Rochester had a HBCU Fair,” Council member McFadden says. “It stopped in the mid-1990s and I always wanted to see it return-- because this is how I got introduced to Claflin University. So, along with RCSD Employee Djinga King-St. Louis, we formed a committee, and got in touch with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). And they assisted with reaching out to the colleges and helped organize events; especially with the collaboration of the Empowering Me Tour that was also sponsored by the UNCF.”
“Plus, the Mayor deserves just as much credit as I do,” McFadden continues. “From the beginning, she has assisted in getting it done.”
Last year, they had kids come from other cities including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and NYC. Buffalo sent two buses.
The Fair has been so successful, the UNCF has requested, McFadden assist Buffalo in establishing their own HBCU Fair.
“We try to provide an opportunity and we don’t look at where you’re from or what school you went to. If you’re interested, it’s for everybody,” McFadden says.
This year, one of the new things added on Tuesday before the college fair is a networking session with the colleges and companies, so the companies will know where to get employees from.
“A lot of times people say they can’t find Black accountants, engineers or teachers.” McFadden suggests. “Well, they're in these Wakanda’s all around the country. All you got to do is establish a relationship. So, as we send these kids off, when they come back there’s something waiting for them.” “HBCUs was started to educate the sons and daughters of slaves,” he implies. “They are conditioned to deal with our folks, not mattering what the circumstances are. And not all institutions are prepared for that. It’s one thing I don’t understand about the city school district. They claim a lot of stuff, but I think they struggle with educating our folks and they haven’t figured that out. Black colleges always had it figured out. So, why wouldn’t you recruit from Black colleges to teach our youth.”
Mayor Warren’s sister attended Howard University, so when McFadden approached her with the idea, she understood that many of the city’s young people don’t know these colleges exist that gives young people of color the opportunity to succeed and be around other bright minds.
“So, I was fine with helping him bring this to the forefront,” Mayor Warren says. “And we’re excited where it’s at.”
“The historical nature of how these colleges and universities was originally started, allots its students a part of history,” she continues. “Living history. Today’s history. And to also know and learn from whose shoulders you stand on of people who have paved the way to get you to this point and time. So, it’s a sense of responsibility. And a place where you develop lifelong friendships with people of color, you probably wouldn’t get anywhere else. That sense of camaraderie, we are all in this together.”