Top 3 Award-Winning HBCUs

In recent years, HBCUs have been closing at an alarming rate. It can seem like these schools, once meant to provide education opportunities to black students when they were restricted from predominantly white universities, are becoming obsolete in the eyes of some people.

Despite the perception that historically black colleges and universities may not be as relevant today as they are in the past, many schools, such as Spelman and Morehouse, are thriving and are even trailblazers in the in-demand STEM arena.

Here are three award-winning HBCUs that are doing exceptional things.

  1. Dillard University, nominated for six awards in 2015. Dillard University in Louisiana has always been known as one of the nation’s best HBCUs, and recent news that the institution for higher education has been nominated for a number of awards at the HBCU National Media Summit should come as no surprise.

The university’s president, Walter Kimbrough, is up for Male President of the Year, and the school is also nominated for Best Choir and Best Fine Arts Program.

According to The Times-Picayune and, of the HBCUs in Louisiana nominated for awards, Dillard received the most.

In addition to President Kimbrough, choir, and fine arts, Dillard was nominated for “Best Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program (Physics); Female Faculty of the Year (Kemberley Washington); and Male Alumnus of the Years (Michael Jones, ’82.).”

Other HBCU’s from the state (Louisiana) nominated for awards are Xavier and Southern University.

This is great news for Dillard as this will surely shine a bright spotlight on how well the university is doing. Heralded as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the south, it shows through the nominations that Dillard has received. Honors like this come at an important time for HBCUs that are increasingly competing with online degree programs and increasing quality of community college offerings. Congratulations to Dillard and the other HBCUs nominated.

  1. Claflin University, HBCU of the Year for 2015. Raising $92 million to improve the university, receiving a $75,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and hosting the South Carolina Collegiate Journalist of the Year are fairly significant achievements all on their own. One university can claim them ALL as its own, though.

Claflin University was just named HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Digest Alumni Association.

According to, the school likely got the award mostly for its participation from its alumni, though. The involvement of graduates who are returning their financial and workforce bounty back to their alma mater are boosting the clout of the HBCU.

“The combined success of the campaign and the generosity of Claflin alumni were largely responsible for Claflin winning the HBCU Digest Alumni Association of the Year Award. In 2013, alumni annual giving rose to an all-time high of 52.2 percent, among the best in the nation for all colleges and universities. Claflin continues to be the perennial leader among HBCUs in this category.

Claflin came just $8 million short of the goal for its capital campaign. The school’s board of trustees led a charge to raise  $100 million to “build the endowment, strengthen academic programs and enhance facilities.”

Claflin has less than 5,000 students, so successfully raising nearly $100 million to improve the school’s positioning to recruit and make it more viable makes the feat look even better.

Alumni involvement, specifically financially, isn’t likely to tail off anytime soon. That’s good news for any student looking to call Claflin home for the next four years and really for other HBCUs that are hoping to recruit students.

  1. FAMU, the highest-ranked HBCU in the country during 2015. The good news continues to roll in for Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University. Last week the school’s SGA President, Tonnette Graham, was named  chairwoman of the Florida Student Association.

Now this week FAMU President Elmira Mangum was awarded HBCU ‘President of the Year’ at the AARP HBCU Awards at Hampton University.

“Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., was awarded the prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) “Female President of the Year” Award presented by the HBCU Digest Friday night at the annual AARP HBCU Awards ceremony at Hampton University,” according to

Magnum’s presence has been good for the university. The article further states how well she’s been received and awarded this past year. In addition to receiving this award, she was also honored at the Onyx Awards, named  to the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), and was placed on EBONY magazine’s list of 100 powerful people.

In conjunction with Magnum’s good news, FAMU was recently named  as the top HBCU in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. That’s a pretty big deal.

Recruiting students to these prestigious universities should be easy. The accomplishments of schools like FAMU, Dillard, and Claflin that attract news attention are good for all HBCUs because they lift the credibility, relevance and overall name recognition of the schools.

Check out all of our posts for HBCUs here.

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