Monday, May 12, 2008

Morehouse College's First White Valedictorian

Morehouse College is a Historically Black College (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia. It was founded in 1867, just a few years after the end of the Civil War to educate the recently freed Black men in the South. Morehouse has the distinction of not only being an exceptional institution of higher education (with notable alumni like Martin Luther King, Jr and Spike Lee), but it is also the only all-male HBCU. Well, Morehouse can now add its first white valedictorian to the list of notable facts.

Joshua Packwood is graduating from Morehouse with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in economics. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has already landed a plum job with Goldman Sachs in New York City. Joshua is a native of Kansas City, MO and was highly recruited out of high school. He picked Morehouse because of its reputation as one of the top HBCUs in the United States. He will be the first white valedictorian in the school's 141-year history.

Read the AJC article about Joshua Packwood here.

plez sez: several of my good friends and fraternity brothers (my fraternity's oldest chapter (pi) in the deep south is located at morehouse) are graduates of morehouse college. if i would have gone to an hbcu out of high school, morehouse would have been at the top of the list. at times, i regret that i didn't get to enjoy the "black experience" at a school such as morehouse.

i have written a few posts about the state of education in the black community and have touched on my thoughts about hbcus in general. save a precious few (morehouse, spelman, hampton, howard, etc.), a good number have outlived their usefulness as institutions of higher learning for an exclusive Black population. last year there was a report about problems at clark atlanta university: read my response here (...and i admit that all of their professors are not overpaid!).

a shining example of what is right can be found on the campus of morehouse college... and this year's valedictorian is just that! by diversifying their enrollment and actively pursuing non-Black students to their campuses, the hbcu can find relevance and renewed prowess in the pantheon of all colleges and universities. joshua's presence can only help raise the awareness of what a top notch school morehouse has become, his presence may not have the same effect at a school that struggles to matriculate quality students. i have no worry that even with more non-Black students, morehouse will continue it rich tradition of being a flagship hbcu.

kudos to morehouse colllege and to joshua packwood.

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