Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Fulbright: Advancing Opportunities

On May 24, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognized 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders, commending their noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program. These Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders were recognized as having played a special role in making sure that students, faculty, and administrators from all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the Fulbright Program.  

As the Fulbright Program celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is important to acknowledge the role that HBCUs have played in expanding access to Fulbright awards. 

HBCUs were established to serve the African American community by providing outstanding education during a time when many institutions of higher education were closed to African Americans. Today, more than 100 HBCUs continue to fulfill this mission, preparing future leaders for international service and learning. The Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders recognition is one example of many ways that the Fulbright Program has engaged with HBCUs throughout its history, some other examples include:  

  • Involving HBCU presidents and alumni as members of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board since the program’s earliest days. Dr. Charles S. Johnson, then-President of Fisk University, was on the inaugural policy-making board in the 1940s; later board members have included: Dr. Sherman D. Scruggs, then-President of Lincoln University of Missouri; Dr. Felton G. Clark, then-President of Southern University; and world-renowned historian, Fisk University alumnus, and five-time Fulbrighter Dr. John Hope Franklin, who served as the chair of the board in the 1960s. 
  • Supporting HBCU leaders who have received Fulbright awards. Some examples of prominent Fulbright alumni include: Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, President of Prairie View A&M University; Dr. Prezell Robinson, President Emeritus and alumnus of Saint Augustine’s University; and Dr. Ivory Nelson, President Emeritus of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. 
  • Recognizing the key role played by Fulbright Program Advisers (FPAs) in successfully guiding potential applicants and producing successful Fulbright student grantees. Long-serving FPAs include Dr. Sandye McIntyre and Dr. Carlene Leggett from Morgan State University, and Dr. Margery Ganz from Spelman College. 
  • Visiting HBCU campuses countless times to help promote awareness of the Fulbright program opportunities among students and faculty. 
  • Featuring HBCU alumni as Fulbright Student and Scholar Alumni Ambassadors, who represent the Program to potential applicants and other stakeholders by sharing their experience and perspective.  
  • Spotlighting the success of HBCU alumni and campuses by sharing stories online through Fulbright websites such as fulbright75.org and on social media. To celebrate the announcement of the 2019-20 Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders, the Fulbright Program flagship social media accounts (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram) will share HBCU-related stories and videos the week of May 24, including a Twitter Chat with the Fulbright HBCU affinity group on May 27. 

The Fulbright Program is committed to recognizing and supporting the many HBCU students, faculty, and administrators who make a difference in our communities and world. 

Bringing the World to HBCUs

Dedicated HBCU faculty members and administrators use the Fulbright Program to enrich their campuses and careers, build international linkages, and help internationalize HBCU campuses by hosting visiting Fulbright scholars and students. 

Dr. Kathie Stromile Golden, 2004 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Azerbaijan, and an alumna of Southern University and A&M College, is an American political scientist and international education leader. An expert in academic programming, curriculum development, and faculty exchanges, Dr. Golden is the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of International Programs at Mississippi Valley State University, the country’s youngest HBCU. She has directed higher education partnership programs in Liberia, Mauritania, and Azerbaijan; served as Project Director for the Mississippi Consortium for International Development’s Higher Education and Development Project for Iraq; oversaw a $38 million budget for The International Development Partnerships Activity at the United Negro College Fund; and held positions at Morris Brown College, Morgan State University, and Southern University. As a 2004 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Azerbaijan, Dr. Golden lectured and conducted research on “Environmental Management for Sustainable Human Development” at The Academy of Public Administration in Baku. She is Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and Director of the Graduate Assistantship Program.  

Dr. Lawrence Carter, Sr. at Morehouse College.

Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr., 1994 Fulbright-Hays Scholar to Brazil, is an American theologian, historian, professor, author, and civil rights expert. Dr. Carter’s HBCU journey began at a high school event in 1958, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised him to matriculate at Morehouse College; Dr. Carter would spend the next four decades at Morehouse. In 1979, he became the inaugural Dean of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel. Since then he has served as Professor of Religion, College Archivist, Curator, and Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. College of Pastoral Leadership, as well as founding the 500-member Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Assistants Pre-seminarians Program. To advance interfaith understanding, Dr. Carter commissioned the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Institute for Ethics and Reconciliation in 1999, and created the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builder’s Prize of the Morehouse Chapel in 2001. Dr. Carter has also served as Associate Dean of Daniel L. Marsh Chapel at Boston University, taught at Harvard University Divinity School, and has served as coordinator of African American studies at Simmons College. Dr. Carter shared “It was a profound and unforgettable experience...This Fulbright-Hays trip through Brazil is the closest experience I have had in 42 years in benefiting from a sabbatical. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to enhance my scholarship in the field of ethics and religion.” 

Dr. Sudhakar Jamkhandi (left) presents Maneesh Pandeya, a former political journalist and 2018 Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from India at Delaware State University, with a certificate of appreciation for his presentation of "India's Customs and Traditions" to students, faculty, and community leaders at Bluefield State College.

Bluefield State College (BSC), an HBCU located in Bluefield, West Virginia, makes engagement with Fulbright an institutional priority. Dr. Sudhakar Jamkhandi, Director of the Office of International Initiatives and Professor of English, works to internationalize Bluefield State through the Fulbright Program. Through his “Windows of the World” lecture series, visiting Fulbrighters participating in the Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) and Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) Programs have helped public school students, BSC students, faculty, and community members gain a greater understanding and appreciation for other cultures and the visiting scholars’ areas of expertise. Bluefield State is the only higher education institution in West Virginia that shares this vital international resource with area public schools, building ties with residents in southern West Virginia and Virginia.  

2016 Fulbright Visiting Scholars visit Howard University to learn about African American contributions to the sciences and medicine.

HBCU Excellence Abroad

HBCU alumni use their education and thirst for knowledge to advance their careers at home and represent the diversity of the United States abroad. 

Dr. John Wesley Manigaulte, 1949 Fulbright U.S. Student to Italy and Howard University alumnus, was a distinguished scholar, archivist, American Civil Rights fighter, and community worker. Expanding his knowledge as part of the inaugural cohort of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Dr. Manigaulte overcame racial barriers as lecturer of history at Queensborough Community College in New York. Slowly gaining recognition as a historian, he became a professor and department head of the Social Science Department, and President of the Queensborough Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Traveling to Italy to further his research projects, he became known for his scholarship on Italian politician Giuseppe Mazzini. At the same time, he instituted the first courses in Black history at his institution, and worked to foster interfaith, interracial, and intercultural good will. A founding member of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund for children with financial needs, Dr. Manigaulte continued to give back to his Suffolk County, New York community until his death. 

Ashleigh Brown-Grier (center) with students at American Music Idol Singing Competition and American Music English Camps in Marang, Malaysia.

Ashleigh Brown-Grier, 2016 Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia and alumna of Talladega College and Morgan State University, is a Ph.D. candidate at Howard University, where she is studying internationalization at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As a Fulbrighter, she taught English, hosted weekly English workshops, and coordinated immersive, country-wide English camps at a secondary school in rural Terengganu, Malaysia. She worked with students to create and publish Palatable Poems and Succulent Pe’s, a book of original poems and favorite recipes. Brown-Grier has worked as a special education teacher, completed a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, and interned at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She also founded Fulbright HBCU, a participant-run affinity group that supports interest in international opportunities for HBCU students, and International HBCU Xchange

These outstanding alumni are among the thousands of Fulbrighters who have demonstrated how international educational and cultural exchange drive opportunity and promotes achievement at HBCUs. Beyond their personal successes, these talented Fulbrighters have provided educational opportunities in their host communities and, after returning to their home communities, have given back through service and leadership. The Fulbright Program’s strategic partners, including The Posse Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Reach the World, and HBCUs themselves, promote inclusive success, internationalize U.S. students and communities, and build long-term international connections.  

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