Today, as part of our Black History Month celebration, my daughter presented and took our church on a field trip to Fisk University. She is a freshman at the acclaimed historically Black college and university (HBCU). While she taught us how Fisk was originally sustained by its students traveling to perform and sending the fees assessed back to the college, I was reminded of just how resilient our people are.
Founded in 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University is a historically black university, and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, TN. Fisk is also the first HBCU to be accredited as a institution of higher learning. Fisk has a long and proud history which is evidenced in the work of its students and alumnae through today. Fisk’s outstanding faculty and students continue to enhance the university’s national reputation for academic excellence, which is validated yearly. Fisk touts a large percentage of alumni who complete graduate or professional degrees and become leaders and scholars in their fields.
Under new leadership, Fisk University is led by Dr. Vann R. Newkirk, Sr. He was named Interim President in August 2020. Since 2018, Dr. Newkirk has served as Fisk’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has an extensive leadership record with proven evidence of effectiveness on many levels. Dr. Newkirk is a noted historian and author with extensive administrative experience. He attended North Carolina A&T State University, and holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Barber-Scotia College; a Master of Arts degree in History from Winthrop University; a Master of Science degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University; and the Doctor of Philosophy in History from Howard University. Fisk will benefit from his experience and passion to promote higher education.
Like 36 other HBCUs, Fisk has partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to continue us to promote and support education in our community.
Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson founded the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1944. Today, UNCF is the nation’s largest minority education organization, awarding more than $100 million a year in scholarships to more than 10,000 students. Patterson also served as President of what is now Tuskegee University, and was an early champion of making higher education accessible to African American students.
I encourage you to learn more about HBCUs by clicking this link to the UNCF website.