Edwards: Black colleges one of ‘greatest traditions’

Gov. John Bel Edwards was present at Southwest Louisiana’s first Historically Black College and University Roundup on Thursday at Greater St. Mary Baptist Church’s Hope Complex. Edwards said Louisiana’s HBCUs are one of the state’s “greatest traditions.”

He also said HBCUs are important to the success of Louisiana’s future.

“I was not educated at an HBCU, but I was educated by one,” explained Edwards while speaking fondly of his K-12 school teachers who studied at Southern University and Grambling State University.

Edwards continued by saying that young people should not have to leave Louisiana in order to get a quality education or attain a good job. “You can become anything that you want in life, right here in Louisiana. This education is going to do that for you.”

Chris Archinard, co-founder of the HBCU Roundup, said the event initially started off as a unique fundraiser for Louisiana’s four HBCUs, Dillard University, Xavier Univeristy, Southern University and Grambling State University. Ultimately, through generous community partnership and university backing, the event became an opportunity to educate and celebrate locally accepted HBCU freshman with trunks filled with dorm room supplies.

University recruiters were also present to answer questions about their unique campuses. Robert Rene, Southern University academic recruiter, doled out proven college admissions recruitment wisdom including, begin your application process as early as October of your senior year, don’t limit yourself to only one school and select “link tax transcript” on the FAFSA to ensure the proper documentation.

Archinard said that in his time as a teacher many students did not understand all of their post-secondary options. “Black colleges create leadership. They allow students to get into parts of organizations that they couldn’t get into at other schools.”

Despite the famed rivalry among Louisiana’s HBCUs, he said, “Ultimately, it [HBCUs] creates a family situation. It’s not about which school you go to but more about what happens when you get out and the connections that you’ve made.”

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